In the air. Gentleman on left wonders what is going on…
I did NOT adjust the time on my camera during this trip, so times shown are Pacific Time (DST, in fact) so add 8 hours for shots taken in France.
2nd try. Gentleman is still dubious…
In Blois, having taken the RER to Paris and then the TER to Blois. Walking near the "gare" (train station.)
A church in Blois we did not visit until later in the vacation; it is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was only recently restored from WWII damage, and is an amazing meditative space inside.
Sign announcing "To the Loire by bike."; now we're talking! Immediately behind is the location where Michele would wait for the bus when she was in college, just below the large wall of the chateau in Blois.
Old classic Deux Cheveaux! Note that door hinge on these older models is in the middle, so the front door pivots from the rear. Michele had one of these as a schoolgirl; Bryan is envious!
Yes, they are underpowered and polluting, but these old 2CVs are still cool! The lady who owned it walked up as we were photographing it, said it was a 1964 model, then started it up (chuf-chuf-chuf of the 2-cylinder engine) and drove off leaving behind a small cloud of smoke. Classic!
A pedestrian-friendly street in the lower area of Blois, near the river.
Blois is built on a bluff, with many steep streets and stairways. Note motorbikes, small cars, pedestrians, and cyclist. Definite diversity in transportation options, all quite nicely integrated.
The main and oldest "Pont" (bridge) in Blois, spanning the river Loire. Photo looking south. The majority of the city is on the north bank (Rive droite, in French usage, where the direction one faces is downstream.)
Roundabout near the entrance to the Pont. Lots of tiny diesel-powered cars. We used backpacks as carry-on luggage for the flight from the USA; worked great.
Looking back towards the center of Blois from the north end of the Pont (bridge.)
Old cathedral in Blois, taken while walking across the Pont.
View from the Pont of a portion of the skyline of Blois.
This and the following three photos are combined into a panorama immediately following; they show the skyline of Blois, taken from a small park on the south bank of the Loire.
2nd photo of pan.
3rd photo of pan.
4th photo of pan, with Michele waving from the path alongside the Loire, the path there for both pedestrians and cyclists.
Panorama view of Blois, taken from Rive Gauche, which is in this case also the south bank.
Another old church of Blois, its steeple reflected in the Loire.
Path along the Loire. There is an extensive system of walkways and bike paths all through the region. Very human-friendly!
We had dropped off our backpacks with Michele's brother when we visited with him and their mom earlier in the day; he took our packs on ahead to the family home in Villoiseau. Here we're walking through the outskirts of Vineul.
Bike path between Vineul and Villoiseau. Hurry up, Bryan!
Fine, take your photos, I'm WALKIN'. :-)
The next AM at the family home, with our borrowed bikes. Evelyn (Michele's cousin) is a bit shorter than Michele, and Didier (Evelyn's husband) is a bit taller than me, so the bikes were a good fit once we made minor adjustments.
Yes, I had to learn to duck when going through doorways of older buildings. This is the front door of "Chateau Bordier." The house itself is of indeterminate age, with many modifications accreted over the years.
Riding in to Blois.
The paths make it very convenient and quite safe & relaxing to get about "a velo."
Nearing the main bridge in Blois. A quite beautiful medieval city.
What's not to like? River, greenery, architecture, and cute girls on bikes!
A side street near where Michele's mom now lives. We dropped off our bikes and walked with Michele's mom across the bridge into the main part of Blois.
Quite typical scene, a woman having put her shopping in her panniers and in a basket on the rear rack. The only cyclists we saw wearing helmets were obviously "sport" cyclists on lighter competition-style bicycles; the typical residents on heavier utility bikes eschewed helmets entirely, as Michele and I did.
The Loire, just downstream from the bridge.
Quite a beautiful setting, with lots of foot traffic going back and forth on the bridge.
Banks of the Loire.
This day was the once-weekly market day, with many blocks worth of stalls selling a wide variety of items and foodstuffs.
Vegetables, cheeses, meats, seafood, pastries: there were LOTS of tempting things on offer! We bought a bunch of food items, took them back to Michele's mom's place, and had a wonderful lunch/dinner.
Banks of the Loire, south side. Lots of bird life in the grasses along the bank.
A quite pleasing setting for a town. Blois has a population of about 50,000 people, and the city itself dates from before the sixth century AD.
Foreground building is the old hospital of Blois, and spires are of the Eglise Saint-Nicolas (church.) From the south bank of the Loire.
Eglise Saint Nicolas on left, and Cathedral St. Louis on the right, on the skyline of Blois.
One of many small winding streets in the medieval part of Blois. These streets bar all motor vehicles excepting those of residents, but allow bicycles. Very very cool.
The bike babe! One of many old streets in Blois where vehicular traffic is banned "sauf velos" (except for bicycles.)
Lots of stairways in the old part of Blois. Very very human-friendly, and pleasing to be in. Something new and interesting around every corner. My pants look weirder than usual, due to my having left on my cuff-straps (used to keep pantlegs out of the bike chain.)