Royan is where you get the ferry to cross La Gironde into the “proper south.” The odometer shows just under 80 kms for today. I try to persuade myself that the distance planned for the day isn’t too far. Today would be Horsham and back twice from Pulborough. Said like that it, sounds like a breeze! What a difference in scenery though!
I started by leaving Rochefort to the south and crossed on the Pont Transbordeur. Built about 1900, it is a brilliant bit of engineering and really enjoyable to ride. It takes you across the Charente on a Gondola and is designed that way so that the French navy did not have to demast their ships as they made their way up to the port at Rochefort. It’s modern counterpart, though more practical, just doesn’t cut the mustard!
Note the latest photo which was taken by my new Norwegian friends. They are on a touring holiday where their baggage is taken from hotel to hotel. I was going to take a stab at the a Norwegian for “Lightweights” but, like all Scandinavians, their English was very good so there was no need.
After the the bridge it was another trip through the marshes to Marennes which is, I understand, the dogs when it comes to Oysters. I passed this rather nice little place along the way:
I passed my first Macdonalds since arriving in France but, no time to tarry, I had another bridge to deal with. This was a bit scary but the traffic was light and there was a good cycle lane so up and over I went.
After Marennes you arrive at the coastal forest and cycle long stretches of pine woodland track with the sea on your right.
Or in front of you!
Some of the views at La Palmyre and St-Palais-Sur-Mer were stunning. By now the sun was shining and I couldn’t resist a half hour break at one of St Palais’ beaches. A lovely place!
St Palais seems to be a pretty upmarket suburb of Royan although they are sure to be administratively separated. This seems to be a big thing here.
Royan itself is a town rebuilt in the 50’s after some heavy war bombing.
And my hotel for the night? You can just make out the little yellow number facing the beach.
Tomorrow will be the first day for which I haven’t managed to find a hotel near my expected destination. They are certainly harder to find on the Gironde coastline. If the weather holds up it could be my first camping night so there may be no post.
Royan sees the end of the 2nd of the three Velodyssey sections so I am now officially on the last third of the route. The distance since I left has now gone over 800 kms (or 500 miles) so I am on the home straight…
p.s. I lied about the Macdonalds. I had a Cajun chicken burger, fries and a coke. It was great!!