Nantes to Rochefort

I don’t know what possessed me, when planning this stage, to decree “ La Rochelle looks good but (at 140K) its not quite far enough; better push on another 40K to Rochefort!” Whatever it was I hope I have the good sense to ignore it in future.

Today was a flatter day, but the wind compensated for that. Initially with a sapping crosswind and then a full on headwind as the route turned fully south for the second half of the day.

A large part of the day was spent on the D163 which belies its departmental classification by adopting the look and feel of a national route. It was pretty busy with some heavy traffic; unpleasant but not unsafe. Good for getting the miles in, but not much else.

Battling the wind was a pretty grim affair until the sea came into view, requiring a dog leg that seemed to lessen its effect. The coastline is picturesque all the way into La Rochelle which is a remarkably beautiful city, much of it traffic free.

La Rochelle

When approaching La Rochelle from the north you are faced with a rabbit’s warren of little streets which lead you to the harbour. You can probably tell from the volume of pictures and panoramic view above, I really liked the harbour; it was one of the highlights of the tour.

Just south of La Rochelle is Chatelaillon-Plage, a lovely seaside down with a good three miles of quiet, sandy coastline.

The route out of town features a slight ascent on which I was shocked to find a roadie sucking my wheel. Me!! Even when un-laden I climb like a snail tied to a post. At the top of the hill I motioned him to come past, which he did while giving me a sheepish grin, before racing off to chase down a kid on a mountain bike.

Although it was only the third day of the tour I decided to take a rest, so that I could spend the day in La Rochelle.

“Big enough to be a city, but still small enough to still be quaint” – a local’s comment on La Rochelle after responding “a little” to my “parlais vous Anglais?” enquiry. I wish I spoke that little French!

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Day:3 of 15
Date:20 July 2007
Distance:180 KM
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