a great cycling holiday
- exhilarating, challenging, interesting and varied -
- a gem of a holiday at a reasonable price -
The area of France known as le Pays de Gâtine is a marvellous rural paradise with a network of hundreds of miles of country lanes in an unspoiled and ever-changing landscape. A veritable delight for cyclists.
Drivers of the few vehicles you see are polite and considerate to cyclists.
Road surfaces are excellent and therefore (happily) without potholes.
Sets of clear route-cards and highlighted maps are made available to guests in a Personalised Dossier on arrival.
Carolynn and Peter are pleased to discuss route options and to provide any friendly advice, information and support you may require, based on many years of living in the region.
The region is south of the Loire Valley where the weather is blissful with average 2,250 hours annual sunshine.
START OF THE DAY
The guest rooms at le Moulin are provided with tea and coffee making facilities,
so if you need a cup of tea or coffee first thing, you don't have to wait until breakfast
Splendid Breakfast comprises delicious crusty French bread and coissants fresh from the boulangerie each day with sweet local butter, creamy local honey, a selection of home made confitures and steaming fresh coffee, tea or chocolate. Muesli, cereal flakes, dried fruit, yogurt and seasonal fresh fruits are also provided in abundance with breakfast.
the breakfast table
the dining room in the morning
Mouth-watering Packed Lunch contains a generous sandwich of freshly-baked baguette with a different filling each day and your choice from selections provided, of fresh fruits, cakes, cereal bars, crisps, etc, and a wide selection of drinks from the guest’s gratis 24/7 fridge. Just what you need to keep the cycling energy levels up.
A Personalised Route File is provided. It includes a set of each of the proposed routes and comprises route-cards, A4 highlighted maps, gradient contours and original IGN 1:25,000 folded maps (to help you anticipate each ride).
There are routes between 40 and 60 miles long each starting and finishing at le Moulin. Each route is in a different sector to give plenty of variety of terrain and scenery.
There are also a number of hill climbing routes of differing lengths, again starting and finishing at le Moulin.
starting-off in the morning
a pastoral scene en-route
Carolynn and Peter will be on hand before you start off, with any Friendly Advice, Information and Support that you may wish for. A lot of folk start their ride shortly after breakfast, especially in hot weather - to be back in the shade by the pool before the day gets too hot.
Meticulous preparation of the route-notes and maps ensure you should not get lost, but in case of lapsed attention, the friendly local inhabitants will help you or you will be able to call the le Moulin for assistance.
WHAT YOU WILL SEE EN-ROUTE
The Rolling Countryside, known as ‘bocage’, is characterised by timeless pastures, majestic forests, cool woods, attractive ponds and pleasant orchards criss-crossed by ancient hedgerows and crystal streams. You will hardly see another soul – and certainly no tourists – while the glorious countryside abounds with wild flowers, birds, butterflies and (harmless) wild creatures.
One of the circuits visits a magical valley strewn with house-size boulders between which are rooted ancient oak trees. Another takes in a colourful country market where local produce is sold, including live chickens, ducks and rabbits.
The route is the Marais Poitevin is much enjoyed as much for its scenic interest as well as for the relatively flat route to, and the completely flat route in, the Marais Poitevin.
Mervent Forest is another much appreciated cycling destination with rivers and lakes set in a magnificent forest of oak, beech and chestnut. This route includes the colourful village of Vouvant with medieval fortifications pavement cafés, English (and French, of course) newspapers as well as plenty of folk-lore and history.
local cherry pickers
Most rides include a welcome bar or two, as well as WCs.
romanesque church at Maillé
country-produce market at Coulonges
|typical Marais Poitevin cottage|
magnificent medieval ruins
a nearby traditional country garden
the ubiquitous tournesol
FLORA AND FAUNA - if you are slow enough to see them
some of the myriads of wild flowers to be seen, mainly in spring, in the verges
some of the butterflies you can expect to see from your bike
some of the many varieties of hedgerow fruits that you can eat on your ride, according to season
après cycling - or if you need a 'day of rest'
Many Places of Historical, Cultural and Natural Interest
The region is rich in attractions of historical, cultural and natural interest. Carolynn and Peter will be happy to advise you about these and information and directions are also provided in le Moulin's guestrooms.
Vouvant church has a secret passage
There are many attractions in the Marais Poitevin
Eleanor's abbey at Nuil su l'Autise
The Atlantic coast readily accessible
photo Olga McBarnett
The nearby medieval town of Parthenay
WINE TASTING BONUS!
Enjoy twelve or more lovely wines during a six-night holiday.
At the aperitifs-at-seven try some delightful local wines from the Loire Valley, particularly superior Crément de Loire, Anjou wines and Muscadet-sur-lie as well as, from time to time, wines from the the up-and-coming Fiefs Vendéen and Brem.
A different wine is served each day with the evening meal including some rather special 'connoisseur' Bordeaux wines from small traditional family vineyards, as well as some wonderful quality wines from the French South West and Rhône Valley.
A well stocked drinks fridge is also available to guests 24/7, without charge.
a glimpse inside le Moulin's glorious wine cave
Peter is always happy to explain what he knows about the wines, to anyone who will listen.
ALL wines are included in the HOLIDAY price
APERITIFS-AT-SEVEN AND THE EVENING MEAL
Aperitifs-at-Seven each evening provides the opportunity to meet the other guests to some taste distinctive and quite particular local wines.
Aperitifs-at-seven is followed by an Amicable Four Course Evening Meal where superb and varied cuisine is accompanied by plenty of good and interesting wine in a leisurely atmosphere. The cuisine is wholesome, based mainly on fresh, whole and organic ingredients.
aperitifs on the patio
the leisurely evening meal
ACCOMMODATION FOR YOUR BIKE AND YOURSELF
Le Moulin has five well-appointed guest-rooms, each of great character, in a magical XVII century mill house - see the 360° Virtual Tour of le Moulin, including the accommodation. Each room has it's own en-suite shower- or bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities, hair dryer, etc. Pool and bathroom towels are provided and the rooms are serviced daily.
Secure bike storeage and a workshop and tools are provided as well as bike washing facilities. For further details see the Bike Amenities page.
le Moulin's bike storage and workshop
companion-way in the Lilac Room
Maison d'Hôte: Carolynn Grimaldi, 2 lieu-dit le Moulin du Chemin, 79240 Scillé, France
+ 33 (05) 4995 9487 email@example.com
easy access from UK,
Ireland and northern Europe
I have never ridden on such quiet roads - fantastic - Joanne Harcourt, Manchester, UK