Monday, August 21

A night in a French Chateau

Chateau de RignyLast Saturday saw me turn another year older. Peter spoiled me, and himself, with a weekend at a beautiful 17th century chateau in France. Chateau de Rigny is in a town called Gray, about two hours drive from Geneva. We took the slow roads there, and enjoyed the views.

The chateau was gorgeous and our room was fantastic. Downstairs there was a bar and restaurant, Bedroom in the chateauso once we got there, we stayed put. After four sets of table tennis (Peter won 4-0 - no concessions for the birthday girl!), and a stroll around the gardens, we got ready for dinner then headed to the bar for a drink. While enjoying a glass of bubbly on the terrace, the waiters brought out the menu and had us ordering dinner an hour before we'd booked in! By the time we got to the dining room, our bottle of wine and mineral water were already waiting at our table. Thankfully the food wasn't there yet! The meal was average, but the atmosphere, and company, were excellent.

View over Front Royal, Besancon CitadelleAfter a leisurely breakfast the next morning, we hit the road, heading for Besancon. This French city was a recommended to us by the Fishers when they were here last summer, and we'd been meaning to visit it for ages. It is an old fortified town, one of 15 designed by Vauban in the 17th century. The citadelle is in excellent condition and now houses several museums and bizarrely, zoos. We did the obligatory audio tour of the ramparts and courtyard, then spent a couple of hours in the Museum of Resistance and Deportation. It was the first time I've been to a WWII museum in an area that was occupied by the Nazis. View from Besancon CitadelleThere were many original objects on display and a comprehensive history of the events leading up to, during and immediately after the war. The pictures and stories of concentration camps were absolutely sickening.

On the way home from Besancon we drove through the Jura, past the fields where we went skiing and sledding in winter. Needless to say, it looked pretty different. Lots of green grass and grazing cows. The ski trails are still well used this time of year, with plenty of people out hiking.

Jess and Peter

See more photos on Flickr.

Sunday, August 6

Cycling along the Rhone II

10kms to go!Last week we took five days to cycle along the River Rhone, from Lyon to the sea. A total of 370km! This has almost completed our ride along the Rhone, from the source, near Andermatt in Switzerland, to the sea (we have 40km at the start still to do). We did most of the Swiss section last summer, and started heading down river from Geneva in May.

It was almost all flat, very hot, but there was a nice strong tailwind. We carried our gear on our bikes, using the train to get to Lyon, our starting point, then the bus and train to get home from Port-St-Louis-du-Rhone.

Barrage-de-Loriol near le PouzinThis map of the main roads is not the exact route we followed, but it gives an idea of the areas we went through. More details to be posted on our Cycling in Europe website, when I get the time.

Click here to see a slideshow of photos from our trip.