Day 7 – La Rochelle, a great place for a rest day!

Yesterday afternoon saw the boys pedalling into the stunning Port of La Rochelle for a much anticipated first rest day.

The last couple of days’ cycling has been lovely for them, pottering along the well-made, maintained & sign-posted trail along the Vendée Coast and through the wetlands of the beautiful Marais Poitevin.

The well-signed, well maintained route during the last couple of days has been a pleasure

As they parked their bikes at the hotel they had clocked up 351.4 miles since leaving home last Friday afternoon. I think if we’re honest, none of us imagined they’d be in La Rochelle already.

La Rochelle is such a pretty place to be

The hotel they’re in ….. http://m.pierreetvacances.com/fr-fr/fp_RCL_location-residence-centre?utm_source=google&utm_medium=Maps&utm_campaign=Maps_FR_La_Rochelle_Centre

…. is nothing to write home about, particularly as with all their cycling gear piled in the room with them there’s no room to walk around the beds, let alone swing the proverbial cat!

However it has got a pool and is in a great central location, which means the boys really can just leave the bikes behind & walk to wherever they want to get to. They’ve also been able to properly wash their clothes & also give the tent a clean to try to rid it of the ‘vegetably’ smell it has developed – so hopefully they won’t look quite as dishevelled when they leave.

This last week has certainly seen them have some adventures, including (on the first day) stumbling into the middle of the French equivalent of ‘Glastonbury’ and their arrival in La Rochelle was no different. Without knowing they had managed to arrive in the midst of the practice sessions for this weekend’s hugely popular Red Bull Cliff Diving Event.

 


This it appears, is a truly incredible event to watch with a diving board constructed 27m up on one of the imposing stone towers at the entrance to ‘Le Vieux Port’

Diving board at 27m above the water – now that’s scary!

Even the practice sessions are a real spectacle and the boys spent yesterday evening watching from the Quay, whilst bizarrely one of Tom’s friends was sat at home watching the live coverage.

We’ve always had a real soft spot for La Rochelle, having spent many holidays there and on the nearby islands when the boys were little and so this really is a trip back down ‘Memory Lane’ with trips planned to some favourite old haunts – just for old times’ sake of course!

With views like this, what could be better ?

It’s also a fantastically vibrant and beautiful place to visit & last night the harbour was packed with stalls & street performers, with loud music being played through loudspeakers…….. certainly a great injection of fun & at the same time the perfect place to chill out for the boys for a couple of nights.

 


After a great meal last night the boys spent today enjoying everything La Rochelle has to offer.

First stop was the Aquarium http://www.aquarium-larochelle.com/  where they played in the interactive river for ages – much to the consternation of other younger children who were dying to run through the ‘water’ & scare the ‘fish’ too!

 


Followed by the Maritime Museum, where we had spent untold hours with the boys when they were little http://www.museemaritimelarochelle.fr/contenu/,Accueil,131

I remember the boys when they couldn’t reach the activities!

Then a trip on ‘La Grande Roue’ which has appeared on the harbour

Great bird’s eye view from the big wheel

In fairness they’ve had a lovely day, although they’re looking forward to getting back on the bikes again tomorrow and continuing the ride.

They have though certainly benefited from the day off – in fairness their legs felt fine, as well as their bums – but they were just fatigued after 7 days in the saddle turning the pedals. Having a day off to wander around slowly, in a place where there’s lots going on & plenty of places to sit has been great and they can’t think of anywhere better than La Rochelle

They have also taken the opportunity to really sort through their panniers & see what they haven’t been using, package it up & send it home.

Taking any weight out of the panniers can only be a good thing to do – even the nail-clippers went!

In the run up it was difficult to know what they would need & already several things have been discarded, but today has seen a major cull of clothes including fleeces & shorts and even 1 sleeping bag, which has decreased the load by an incredible 5kg.

So after a swim in the hotel pool this afternoon & another few hours around the harbour tonight they’ll hopefully get another good night’s sleep & head on again, refreshed tomorrow.

Andy & the boys smiling & having fun

The great thing is they are having a brilliant time – despite the problems they have had & the general fatigue they are loving the cycling and are having a real laugh as they go. After just over 350 miles you can’t ask for any more than that ……..

Long may it last!

Sharing this blog via #CityTripping via @Wander_mum

Wander Mum

11 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve only ever seen La Rochelle on the telly for the start or end of sailing events (not this diving one!) and I’ve been across the bridge to nearby île de Ré, but never actually visited the town itself. I’d love to go. #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a beautiful city & we’ve spent quite a lot of time there over the years – the boys couldn’t believe they arrived during the cliff-diving championships as it was such an incredible event. The old streets are worth exploring & the Vieux Port is so vibrant & full of activity especially during the evening – it’s definitely worth a visit #citytripping

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  2. Clare Thomson says:

    What an exciting trip! La Rochelle is somewhere I keep meaning to visit. I love a French harbour. #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is worth the visit for the sights & a great vibe too! Also so close to the stunning Ile de Ré & it’s worth popping across there for the day too #citytripping

      Liked by 1 person

  3. MummyTravels says:

    I remember visiting La Rochelle years ago on a family holidau to the Vendee – I think we popped over to the Ile de Re as well and I remember it as being lovely, even years later. Fun to arrive for the diving too. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks – I have a feeling it won’t be too long before we head back across for another quick stop-off – such lovely memories of early family beach holidays there

      Liked by 1 person

  4. alex says:

    woah 350 miles!?! impressive!! It’s amazing how little stuff you actually do need on a trip isn’t it!? I’m looking forward to visiting this area myself this summer. #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a great place & as you say it’s amazing how little you need – after La Rochelle they cycled over another 500 miles to get to the Mediterranean, via Bordeaux, Toulouse & Narbonne – it was a great dad & boys adventure #citytripping by bike!

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  5. WanderMum says:

    I big well done to the cycling boys! That’s a lot of miles they clocked up! How wonderful to revisit somewhere which holds so many memories. La Rochelle was mentioned a lot in my school French text books but I’ve never been. It looks like a beautiful place! #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks it was a big achievement for the boys & hubby and youngest are looking at doing another ride this summer through the WW1 battlefields in Eastern France towards the Alps – so planning is well & truly underway for that! La Rochelle is beautiful & really is worth the visit if you have the chance #citytripping

      Liked by 1 person

      1. WanderMum says:

        Wow amazing. That will be fascinating. Will get there one day .

        Liked by 1 person

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