I left La Ferme des Gorgeats at about 9.30 after a noisy breakfast punctuated by loud disputes among the children and accompanied by the inexhaustible prattle of their loquacious mother. It was already warm as I set off despite the cloud cover and I stopped in Sully to buy water.

Le Château de Sully.

The cycle-track from Sully was brand new and surfaced with gravel, so added to the headwind, this made the going quite tough. The work on the cycle track was in process as I rode along it and a few kilometres outside of Sully I came on the heavy earth-moving and road-surfacing machinery. This was the end of the track.

The view on the Loire from the 'levée' between Sully and Châtauneuf

I then followed the river using the GPS and arrived in Châteauneuf-sur-Loire at around 10.30. A drink at the bar just at the end of the bridge and then across the river to get back on the levée. I had the address of a couple I’d met in the first B&B and an invitation to drop in if I passed by. I dropped in, unannounced, and was immediately invited to lunch. I guess they thought I’d turned up around lunch-time hoping to be invited, but they were very gracious nonetheless and I left at around 2.30 extremely well-fed.

From this point onwards, the day continued to get hotter and the trouble in my nether regions more difficult to ignore. Pedalling against the wind seemed to aggravate the piles and by mid-afternoon remaining in the saddle was pretty excruciating.

The view on the river from the bridge at Jargeau

The approach to Orléans leaves the levée and winds goes through an area of parkland and around the

many lakes formed by the various former beds of the river.

The view approaching Orléans

I arrived in the centre of Orléans at around 4.00. A quick visit by bike and the thought of a shower

Orléans cathedral

and a change of clothing drove me to the chambres d’hôte in the avenue Dauphiné. I was unpleasantly surprised to find that the bathroom was shared with an unknown number of other guests. Nothing had been said about this in the description of the accommodation so I complained to the proprietor and was granted access to another bathroom. I didn’t appreciate the fact that the good lady demanded payment in advance, so I was pretty forthright in my comments.

Madame Canada’s house didn’t agree with me. It was stuffy and full of clutter. I took my shower, paid my bill and took off for the town centre.

Street in Orléans

L'Hôtel Groslot, Orléans.

I ate an indifferent salade niçoise and a doughy pizza and wandered for a while in the town centre. As is to be expected, Jeanne d’Arc figures prominently in the town’s iconography.

La Rue Jeanne d'Arc Orléans

The citizens of Orléans never forgot their gratitude to this young girl for her role in 1492 in delivering the city from the dastardly English and beginning the reconquest of the territory held by them. The city authorities gave her a fine house in Orléans and even contributed a part of the ransom to deliver her from prison – a ransom, moreover, that was never paid since the French Dauphin, now king thanks to her help, kept the money for himself – as you do.

There is a wealth of architectural detail in the city but it requires quite a lot of footwork to see it all. Here’s a façade almost worthy of Barcelona and Gaudi:

Number 10 quai Barentin, Orléans

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