Maybe it's the timing. I'm worried about mum's treatment. Plus the kids will be at home during their one-week break. I think it's the guilt.... but I'll be letting my best friend down even more if I don't go. Anyway, here's a glimpse of what's in store.
We'll arrive in Paris early Saturday morning. After unloading our bags at the hotel, we'll explore Paris on foot. It's my friend's first time, so we've got to see the sights, check out the flea markets and stroll along Champs Elysee. Maybe we'll catch the sun setting over Paris city from Sacre-coeur.
We're taking a coach to Bruges in Belgium (below) on Sunday morning. Bruges incredibly well-preserved medieval architecture makes it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Essentially, it's a living museum. Every glance down a narrow crooked street reveals a wonderful view of ancient architecture, every twist and turn allows the eye to fall on another meandering canal, beautiful bridge, or interesting lane that is bound to lead on to a labyrinth of middle aged buildings, ancient fortifications, cobbled alleyways and quiet tree lined squares.
Monday morning will see us on the train to Loire Valley where we’ll find our way to Le Vieux Moulin, best described as a well-appointed country inn set in a very secluded, romantic setting. The mill house and guesthouse are nestled aside the River L'Aubois and the banks of the tiny Canal Berry.
The next few days will see us cycling through the beautiful Loire region.We'll ride to the village of Chavignol synonymous with "frommage de chevre'" the best known goat cheese in France. This small charming village is the epitome of a French village. It also produces some of the finest Sancerre wine of this region.
Next, we will bicycle near the Loire River to the Chateaux de Tracy and vineyards where a fine Pouilly Fume' wine is produced, stopping by in the enchanting village of Donzy for lunch. Populated by many half-timbered buildings, Donzy is the home of an ancient walnut oil mill which we will also visit.
Amongst some highlights are the port village on the Canal Lateral La Loire, village of Le Guetin, and the historic sites in the city of Nevers (below). We'll visit Apremont-Sur-Allier medieval flower village, featuring one of the most beautiful Floral Park's of France and an imposing castle overlooking the village and the River Allier.
You'll also find us cycling through the villages of Germigny L'Exempt and Vereaux to the village of Sancoins famous for its Wednesday marketplace, one of the largest in France and ride through the canopied forest of Apremont, where we may choose to stop for a swim in Lake Robinson.