Les AndelysAfter a walk in the charming town I now know there are several restaurants within a stones throw of the hotel, all probably cheaper however I'd have missed the Canette or "wife of duck" as the waitress explained it to me.

First off was a walk through the charming town and river bank of Les Andelys. There was abit of frost but sunny which helps a lot. There was also a brief interchange with a local who told me of the charms of the riverside walk and explained I could walk to the far mountain (cliff) if I wished as "in France what is forbidden is possible". That bit he said in English and I'm sure he has it wrong :)

Mrs Spratt spoke to me on my return, she suggested a couple of chateaux to visit but of course I had forgotten the name of them by the time I got back to the room.  In any event all togged up and away by 10am. The benefit of this was completely lost by a 14km excursion the wrong way up a motorway, duh!

ChambordDecided on Chartres for lunch which has a HUGE cathedral.  Parking near it is also a HUGE problem but overcome after he second circumnavigation.  If you have 30 minutes include the interior in your itinery, I did and also broke the habit of a lifetime by lighting a candle for a close chum who needs at least one, it's that sort of place.

By this time it had cooled down and the sun was hidden by a solid overcast, I needed to warm up and had a great simple sandwich and coffee in a small  place near the cathedral.

Moving on a brief look at the exterior of the chateau at Chateaudun which made me wonder if the Loire Valley was all it's cracked up to be. I was premature, the chateau at Chambord is magnificent, mostly 16th century and also HUGE. Unlike me I paid the cash to go around it, €10 well spent. You would want to avoid the place in summer though, the car park is also HUGE, clearly there are lots and losts of visitors. There were a small nuber of bus tours but again they clearly cater for big numbers.

Back in the car park there were a few drops of rain so again following the LP I headed to nearby Blois where the Cote Loire - Auberge Ligerienne made me welcome, put the motorbike inside and provided free WiFi as a bonus. Now to see what dinner holds....Chambord

Later: Once more Lonely Planet to the rescue. The highly recommended Castelet was closed (depte the sign on the fron to the contrary however Les Banquettes Rouge (the red seats) was fulll and absolutly excellent. You really don't have to pay the premium prices here for excellent food, there are people in ordinary cafes doing a great job. This gets my 5 stars any day.

The forecast for further south is not looking so good so I may have to give Adrian and Caroline a miss, rather a shame.