Monday 21st September 2015

We woke to another very warm and sunny day in Sancoins, where we could sit and enjoy our breakfast outside. We guess these days are quickly coming to an end now.

We went into town this morning but as it was Monday, just the same as a lot of French villages after the weekend, this town, Sancoins, was closed for the Sunday and Monday weekend. There were workmen relaying pathways and a lot of reconstruction was taking place. Two Boulangers and a bar were open but all the rest of the shops were closed.

We were met by quite a lively local who was quite insistent regarding his mother and where he had been and although we tried to tell him that we were English and had little idea of what he was talking about, and that we had to move on as we had somewhere to go, he just kept moving along with us! Dorothy whispered to Allan not to mention the box that he was carrying. But Allan, being Allan, just had to ask what was in the box (old music hall joke) and he told us of the broken phone in the box (not an Elephant in the box at all!). He then told us of where he had been to school and of his life. And so we just couldn't shake him off. We are sure that most villages have these people but why do they always pick on Allan. It is certain that if there is any gathering of people it is always Allan who is always singled out by the lonely, friendless, needy and, even worse, by the party animal who just wants to use Allan's good nature to their own ends. Eventually this man did understand that we had to be on our way and we said au revoir and he went on his way - probably to tell his mother about the nice English people that he had just met.

Even the Tourist Information had closed down today so there was nothing for it but a wander through the town and found a geocache, at the Lavoir of course!!! This one was "modern"!!

We then returned to the Aire with a loaf of delicious pain for lunch with cheese and paté. During the afternoon as the sun was gorgeous we just sat outside in the sunshine and relaxed soaking up all the autumn rays at 22 degrees C. When we return to England just watch Dorothy show off her suntan. (No, that should be Allan!)

Tuesday

A totally different morning to yesterday! The weather was really nasty this morning (cloudy) and we even had some light rain. Oh dear, as we were not going to enjoy any more sun today, Allan had the job of going up to the Tourist Information Office to load up the blog for last week, check the emails and other things. Dorothy had the job of washing dishes and then the laundry as were to be on our way again. This time we are heading slightly East before taking the long journey north to Dieppe. In this direction we still have another surprise before returning to England, just watch this space because if we do manage to fit in this particular visit in the little time that we still have left, then it is going to be a fantastic visit into the past. Allan is really looking forward to it.

The late afternoon brings us to Decize.
This is a village allongside the Loire and so we are now back on the river again. Just a few miles more along beside the Loire are still to be done on this trip and then the long way north.

We couldn't find the Aire and were told by the TIO that it has closed!! There are however two parking spaces quite close to the town centre and loads of parking a little further out towards the Loire. The Tourist Office gave us all the details that we needed to enjoy their town. We have the locations of the main supermarkets so that we can stock up on provisions and refill the wine cellar. We also have the plan of the town so that tomorrow we can have a look around.

The Milan State Circus is in town and when we parked up first to go to the Tourist Office there was a big Tiger in a cage that looked quite incredible. In England we are too fussy to have animals in the Circus ring. For ourselves we wouldn't presume to say whether that is a good or a bad thing but a tiger in the middle of a carpark is still something special.

First things first though, over to the Carrefour Market for provisions and then Dorothy spotted a Brico Marche (a sort of B&Q, decorating, builders merchants, garden store all in one) so Allan managed to get some nuts and bolts to mend a patio chair.

Whilst waiting in the motorhome for Allan, Dorothy spots this passing by! The tiger again.

She also spots a sports and cycle shop across the road so we decided to look for a bag or pouch to take the phone on the handlebars of the cycles. This will be a much better arrangement than cycling one handed and holding the phone in the other hand. No joy with the bag for the phone but we did spot two special Gel saddle covers that will make the cycling more comfortable and at a very good price - under £4 each. A trip to Lidl rounded off our shopping trip but we must say that none of the French Lidl's or Aldi's that we have visited have been a patch on the ones we have seen in England.

We then parked up in the spaces near the town centre and had a first wander around before returning for dinner and some Blog writing!

Wednesday

We had a little walk around the town and found that most of the shops were shut. It seemed that today was late opening day and the town "opened" after lunch! Will we ever time it right!! Nothing else for it then but to do the the geocaches around the town. On our way to the caches we saw animals (horses, camels etc.) grazing on the river bank! We couldn't get close enough to take a photo but Allan did take some of these....... coming to a rally near you????

A little further on and "not what you expect to see in the park" !!!!

Then on through the town up to the "Les Tours"

taking a view of the river from the bridge...............

Then back down to the town centre to the Hotel de Ville..........

and along the canal

Quite a long day for us but having spent almost two days here we decide to move on to start tomorrow afresh, somewhere new.

So we made our way to La Charité-sur-Loire, a small village further north alongside the Loire.

The Aire was small with only spaces for four motorhomes and it was full but we drove just around a corner and were lucky to find a much better place to park anyway. A nice parking spot beside the Loire River with a marvellous view to the town on the far bank. To make it even better it was actually closer to the town than the Aire was. We found there was a geocache just near us and so this was our first port of call!

We then decided to cross the bridge to have a first look at the town


and arrived at the Tourist Office just five minutes before they closed for the day. We picked up a few leaflets and then wandered into the town's main shopping area.
To our surprise we found there were many more shops than we had anticipated. Two florists side by side several pharmacies and there were bars, bistros, banks and assurance offices and masons of the presse everywhere. The only drawback was that the entire town is on the side of a hill and not easy to just wander between the shops and boutiques.

After our meal it was such a lovely evening so, having been rather cloudy all day, we decided to go back into town for a stroll around and ended up by the ramparts in the late evening sunshine.
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On our way back across the bridge to our motorhome we saw the most lovely sky and the setting sun turning the town quite magical...

Thursday

During the morning we decided to walk around the town, the Church and and the ruined Cluniac Monastery.


the window...


It was in the cloisters here that there was an art installation of what would have been a light show in the evening. There was also a large courtyard with high walls and loudspeakers all around the sides. The sound echoed around the courtyard but as it was very directional, a sort of three dimensional eerie sound filled the air. The sound, I can only describe as being most odd or strange. Noises like a crowd of people whispering, with extra chirps and whistles all added to this strange experience.

And then an afternoon walk UP the steps into the old part of the town and back down again along the Loire in the Autumn sunshine. (geocaching again)

As we think we had seen all that there was to be seen and there was no more to be done today, a decision was made to press on another 38 miles. North, as we are heading in the direction of a cold little island off the coast of Northern France.

So we arrived at Treigny about 6:30 p.m. On our arrival a man from the Tourist Information Office was on hand to show us where to park, to give us a carrier bag full of brochures and to point to out the important parts of the village. "The shop is in the white house over there and the bar is a little further on." This is a newly built Aire and the people from the Tourist Office seem to be promoting it and their village very well. To be honest and very blunt, the shops, bar and restaurants in Treigny will close down if there are no visiting customers. (Nice to be wanted, if only for our money)

Friday

Rain last night and misty this morning. Are we being acclimatised for that island off the north coast of France?

After the weather improved in the day we had a walk around the village and visited Church which we found was The Cathedral of this area.

We then found the Lavoir but it was just an area set aside which people used in the olden days. It is quite amazing that even in this little village there is so much provided for the local people. There was a football pitch, table tennis, party space, all weather sports pitch with goals and basket ball hoops, childrens' play equipment in a park, library, cultural space and of course a boules area. All of this is provided for 893 residents! There is probably much more that we didn't get to see.

In the evening we decided to go the the local Restaurant "Café du Bal" where there was a special menu of tartines and we both plumped for the Parisienne - a sort of open toasted sandwich with potato, cheese, superb onions and bacon served with a dressed green salad (absolutely delicious and nothing left on the plate!), followed by an apple tart. During the evening we were entertained by Jarvis, described by the French as a three piece rock pop group.

We had a really good evening and afterwards had our photo taken with the chef.

Saturday

Today we went to Guédelon a construction of a medieval home. Deep in the forests of northern Burgundy in a once disused quarry, a team of master-builders are building a C13 castle from scratch using building materials and techniques of the time.

More pictures are on a separate page and if you wish to see them please click here.

Afterwards to take some more miles out of our journey to Dieppe we travelled to Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses.

Sunday

Another lovely day, another canal side............

This time with chickens!

We had a look around the town and then a walk up alongside the staircase of the seven locks of the old Briare Canal.

This canal was started in 1804 and was working between 1642 and the 1887 when another canal was built to bypass this part of it.

Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses only has a population of 728 but of course as there are 4 spaces here for motorhomes and another 5 Aires around the town with unlimited parking spaces and then all the boats moored up around the town, the population is much, much more in the summer.

Our motorhome is on the righthand side of the canal by the second boat in the photo.

During the night we woke up to the dimming of the moon and went outside to see the lunar eclipse. A beautiful red moon in a beautiful clear sky. The stars were so bright as there is no street lighting here. A dark night sky is something that we no longer have in southern England.

A very interesting week and we are still enjoying warm sunny days although the nights are drawing in and are becoming chilly.

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