Avec les Chevaux (Montceau-les-Mines to Paray-les-Monial)

Short day of 50km or so again, mostly along the canal with a few detours into low hills. Easy riding, no rain, and the temperature topped out in the low twenties, which is a nice riding temp.

Paray-les-Monial is a nice small town with a well-preserved 11th/12th C Romanesque church. We spent the afternoon poking around Paray, including a stretch of using the tourist office’s free WiFi, then got back on the bikes to ride out to our lodging for the night.

We’re actually staying in a Gites d’Etape, part of a horse farm about 8km outside of Paray-les-Monial. It’s well out in the country, very quiet, and very horsey. Most of us are in hostel style dorms, which is fine with me but does cause a certain amount of murmuring now and then.

Off to Decize tomorrow, a longer day of 70+km.

Dodging Thunderstorms (Chalon-sur-Saone to Montceau-les-Mines)

Left Chalon in the morning with a couple of the local cyclists riding along for the first five km or so, including a stop at one of the few supermarkets open on a Sunday morning. France really does shut down on Sundays, especially in the villages we ride through. An open shop or cafe is not to be passed up.

After the thunderstorms of the previous afternoon and overnight we had been wondering how rainy the day was going to be, but I managed to miss the heaviest rains, although others got caught.

Mostly along the Canal du Centre today, which connects the Saone and Loire rivers. That kept the hills to a minimum, although we did climb steadily alongside the canal locks most of the day, including one set of seven step locks.

Finding our lodging at the end of the day’s riding has been a challenge since the start of the trip, and was again today, especially because I hadn’t been able to get the appropriate high detail map tiles onto my phone for half the town… Eventually two locals hopped in their car and lead our group to the auberge, which was clear on the other side of Montceau-les-Mines, several kilometres away.

One last thunderstorm rolled through just a few minutes after we got to the auberge, and while some folks got caught in it we got to watch it from the porch with the bikes tucked away in the garage.