Through the French Sticks – Bergerac – La Rochelle

I had a feeling before we had even arrived at the Bergerac hotel, that we really wanted to have breakfast there and not go hunting for a Boulangerie. The reviews for this place had been too good in general and contact before our arrival had been very nice too.

We weren’t disappointed. Lovely little breakfast room, we got English breakfast tea, fresh croissants and ciabatta, a small bowl of freshly chopped fruit salad (!) and a small buffet with cheese, jams and even marmite. Best thing though was the cooked to order bacon and eggs Stèphane made for us.

We could easily spend here a week just chilling with such a great accomodation and nice town centre around the corner.

But we had to leave. 9am became 10am as the phone Rich used for Google maps simply wouldn’t connect to the one with the data SIM in it. Eventually we gave up and navigated to the next petrol station via map memory. For the day’s journey Rich then tethered to my phone instead just so we could finally get going.

Left Bergerac at 10:30am on a long carriageway first, then onto a minor slightly bumpy road through thick natural forest. There were a few gaps with farms, but in general we were in the very welcome shade. 25C already.

Quick stop in a village in the shade 11:30. Water and bum break. Then very straight and fast roads and lots of sunflowers and mowed fields with balls of hay strewn across. And wine. Lots and lots of it the closer we got to La Rochelle.

12:15 we had coffees in Barbezieux and 14:00 lunch with ice cream in Saints. We somehow often stop for lunch when the restaurants just about closed or stopped serving food. Happy we could at least get some ice cream. As hot as it was again, not necessarily a bad thing.

Coffee break in Barbezieux… getting hot already.

More incredibly long straight roads followed. At least we made some good mileage on those, but it wasn’t any good for our bums and a bit boring too.

16:15 we finally arrived in La Rochelle. Roads were busy and including lots of cyclists and pedestrians crossing on the many zebra crossings. We had to keep our eyes everywhere whilst navigating countless roundabouts and turn offs. Kudos to Rich for being head navigator.

Temporary traffic lights separated us in one instance, so Rich was waiting for me at the end of the roadworks only to find he had actually pulled over right in front of our hotel. Brilliant! What a lucky coincidence, we would’ve ridden past it for sure.

Check in was easy. Super nice lady at reception gave us some tips for seafood restaurants and showed us where we could park the bikes. The usual showers followed after peeling ourselves once more out of sticky sweaty bike gear.

Headed into town through a small park popping out almost directly at the harbor. There was a music festival going on so parts of it were shut off unfortunately. Diverting we found a street lined left and right with resents and bars. Great chilled atmosphere all around. It was vibrant without being stressful.

We found our first recommend seafood restaurant and booked a table for 7pm just in case. Then went back to one of the bars for Mojitos. Why not.

Back at the restaurant we opted for a starter each and mussels for mains. Instead of the 2 or 3 course options that seem so popular. By note we’ve seen quite a few restaurants that offer those with a choice of dishes for each course and you basically pick and choose. Not seen anything like it in the UK yet.

We both stuffed our faces. It was so good! Then went for a wander along the harbour first and then through the pedestrian shopping area of Old Town.

Once more we marveled at the old buildings all around and how restaurants and shops somehow seamlessly blend in. It is a very unique sight and based on what we’ve seen so far probably very typically French.

Back at the hotel for 22:30 we just chilled for a bit before once more falling into a deep slumber.

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