Woke to a haze and apparently 3 degrees, so not warm then. The forecast is still not good and according to my friends futher south the weather there is terrible so that seems to be off then. I'll check tomorrow morning and flag the trip south if necessary, it would be a very long way back if it rained.
A pleasant start looking around Chinon which, apart from the reactor, is a great spot then packed up and went to look for the "Helice Terrestre de L' Orbiere". This gave some trouble as neither the GPS nor the map had heard of it. A brief stop to look at the chateau at Saumur which was not inspiring enough to look around.
The next step were the caves of the troglodytes which apart from anything else look rather akn the the caves of the Etrsucans in Italy. They may not be quite the same but this is as near as I got. Caves are at the end of the day caves.
A good lunch though in a little bar/bistro then on to Angers, again
little to make me want to stop although the castle is impressive (but
not worth looking around according to the book unless you like
Finally I found the Helice (N47 20.969 W0 18.900) and it really is quite
incomprehensible. Apparently it's the same above ground as below
(obviously inverted) but it must have taken literaly years to construct and you
would have to wonder why. Monsieur the curator was keen to know how I
had heard of it, as is clearly well off the beaten track and in need of
motre than a little TLC, news of the Lonely Planet has obviously yet to reach parts of rural
france. Apart from it's strangeness it was nice to sit in the country,
away from the noise and smell the rural smells.
Tiring of this it was time to find a place to stay. The book suggested Doue-La-Fountaine as a good base to see the troglodyte caves but oddly made no recommendations. I've seen enough caves bit though that this would be a good start. Now having been to Doue-La-Fountaine it is clear why there are no recommendations. The place is another of the architectural disaster areas and despite the Logis De France hotels in the area having several 'chimneys' I took them to be well worth avoiding (hard to know if this was right, where I ended up may well be worse).
I drove on assuming that things would get better, not so at Coron and even less so where I ended up at Cholet, in a three chimney affair caled the Le Belvedere. It's by a lake. Turns out this is a travelling salesman hotel where the inmates dine alone, each with their own table, how I remember this. The upside was that I had a great conversation with a printer salesman who is mad to come to NZ when he retires in 3 year time.
The meal was dreadful, expensive and not fully thawed out. For those interested it's Le Belvedere in Cholet, don't just avoid the hotel, it's the best of a bad bunch, avoid the area. Frabkly for the price this places charges for sad, reheated food, words fail. Three chimenys? don't make me laugh Logis De France, get a new inspector who doesn't bribe so readily
The final picture is of the weather map for the weekend :( All the little clouds are animated and raining!