Pornic, France

Truth is we picked this area to cycle because we missed this town as a stopover on our sailing trip to Portugal and wanted to explore the area. I downloaded a 45 mile circular road route of Pornic and after a comfortable night at the aptly named Hotel Brit and a hearty breakfast we were ready to ride.

Martian fighting machines

Martian fighting machines

Starting off at the harbour we climbed out to the north-west, we had not travelled a mile before we came across an off-road section, my heart sank as I did not want off-road tracks especially on a Sunday when the French camouflage clad artillery were out shooting anything that moved in the countryside. Fortunately the Garmin with Open Source Mapping is very detailed so after a few minutes we were able to re-route on roads.
We followed the coast to La Pointe Saint-Gildas before turning north on the coast road along the Cote De Jade. The coastline is split between beaches and rocky outcrops and every few hundred metres stands strange wooden fishing structures on stilts that resembled the Martian fighting machines from War Of The Worlds.

Long straight deserted roads

Long straight deserted roads

At St-Michel-Chef-Chef we turned east along quiet roads towards Chauve and then on to Arthon-en-Retz and Bourgneuf-en-Retz, all these villages were asleep on a Sunday and the very long straight roads with no traffic were a joy to ride.

As we intercepted the coast and turned back north we came across route signs for Euro Velo 1, the long distance cycle route from Norway to Portugal and try as we may we could not even follow the signage back to Pornic. I had visions of cyclists pedalling for years, lost and never finding their destination.

Refrigerated smoothie bar and trailer

Refrigerated smoothie bar and trailer

After a few unscheduled diversions we were back to Pornic, our circular route had covered just over 50 miles. Crossing the finish line we noticed an interesting bike in the town square, I went over to talk to the owner who was using the bike as a mobile smoothie bar. The owner had bought the custom-built new rig as a package and his words were that it cost more than a new car and sadly in the three months he had owned it he had not made enough money to meet the payments so he feared it would be for sale.

Of course no ride would be complete without celebratory coffee and cakes, well to be precise French Tarts and after showering we spent a pleasant evening with a meal on the harbour promenade before retiring for an early start the next morning destination Spain.

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