After parking up at Chaorce and having some lunch, John popped back up to the Tourist info for a jeton and filled Buddie’s water tank to the top. This was a lovely spot and we planned to stay 3 nights. Behind us was a big, empty field which had been harvested, we had the shade from a trees which separated the Aire from the ditch at the edge of the field. We were parked on grass though pretty much sunburned grass and in the middle of the aire, in front of us bit a good few yards away was a tarmacked turning circle. The Aire was well landscaped and spacious and during our exploration of the town we discovered that the one way street across the road from the Aire took us straight to a Boulangerie/pattiserie which was our ‘local’ for the next few days and indeed provide us with a delicious Tarte au Chaorce for our meal that night. Not a cheese I’ve ever bought before but delicious cooked.
Friday morning and after John had brought back two huge croissants and a baguette we sat down to a leisurely breakfast and planned our day. We headed to Tourist Info for some maps marking out cycle routes in the area and after chatting with the assistant whose English was very good we popped into the church next door. The organist was in either practising or just playing. A visitors book had a poignant message asking forgiveness for the crimes of his father back in 1944, written just the day before. We admired the stained glass windows but didn’t go down to the crypt as we misunderstood its meaning till I later read about it. Apparently it is home to a model of the tomb of Jesus. What we did see that we admired was a carved wooden model of village life in amazing detail and so obviously created with much love. Quiet time for prayer was abandoned as the organist played a rousing, dramatic piece of music. We headed back out into the sunshine of the day and enroute back to the van, eyed up L’Auberge sans Nom as a lunch possibility for Sunday. I’m hopeless at eating late evening meals, so lunchtime suits much better.
This area doesn’t have dedicated cycle routes but did have marked out possible circuits: 1, 2 and 3. We had noticed a couple of lamp posts with the markers on them. We headed out on the bikes, took a left as instructed then all markers disappeared from view! We headed out of town a couple of kilometres then took a smaller road to the right to get away from what was quite a busy road. This took us on to a much quieter route into lovely countryside and then into forested areas. We cycled several more kilometres thinking there was bound to be a road off to the right, but no. We stopped at one of the forest clearings and consulted my phone map. We were 5 miles away from Chaorce. If we continued it was another 6 miles before we picked up another route and then another 11 miles back. Or, we could turn around and go back the way we had come. We did neither! As I zoomed in on the map I could see a forest track that we had passed and it would bring us out onto the D28, a white road and then we could join the D443 at Lantages which would take us back to Chaorce. When we arrived back at the forest track, John checked it out to make sure my bike would be ok on the surface. It was small chippings and quite solid. We had a plan and it turned out a beautiful bike run with a shady stop at a picnic area just after Lantages, and an easy bike run back into Chaorce though with a couple of challenging uphill stretches for those of us who didn’t have battery back up, namely John! A good 12 miles probably and a great route even though not the one we set out to do. We finished off the cheese tart and baguette accompanied by a refreshing shandy and relaxed in the sunshine. John nipped back over to the patisserie late afternoon and came back with a lovely, fruity flan, another speciality of the area and big enough that it lasted us a good couple of days.
Sunday was a lazy day, no bike run today, but we did go and have lunch as planned at the Auberge sans Nom and were entertained by the banter from the owner, whose English was excellent. John had a Charolais beef steak, I went for pork, lardon style, with melted Chaorce, very rich and delicious and we were both more than happy and full up.
We went exploring around parts of the village that we hadn’t yet seen. We noted the fromagerie where we could buy Chaorce direct from the factory shop the next morning. A school that looked abandoned as its roof was badly damaged, but still had desks and chairs visible, was a mystery to us. Back into the centre and past the Marie and the church,we turned a corner and saw an ancient Citroen van at what had once been a garage and then crossing the road and going down a lane we found a track alongside a field which brought us back to the Aire via the river.
Yes, this is one place we would definitely return to.