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a wonderful cycling holiday at le moulin

a day at the Marais Poitevin (Green Venice)

at the village of Maillé

The area of France known as le Pays de Gâtine is a marvellous rural paradise with a network of hundreds of miles of country lanes in an unspoiled, varied and interesting landscape – a veritable delight to cyclists. Drivers of the few vehicles you see are polite and considerate to cyclists. Road surfaces are excellent.

Clear route-notes, high-lighted maps and well maintained, fully equipped touring cycles are supplied as well as friendly advice and information. Easy, moderate, challenging and very challenging routes are available.

The Pays de Gâtine is south of the Loire Valley where the weather is blissful with average 2,250 hours annual sunshine.

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START THE DAY

Guest rooms have tea and coffee facilities, so if you need a cup of tea or coffee first thing, you don't have to wait until breakfast.

First-class Continental Breakfast comprises delicious crusty French bread and croissants, brought fresh from the boulangerie to le Moulin every morning, with creamy local butter, home made confitures and steaming fresh coffee, tea or chocolate.

Muesli, cereal flakes, dried fruits, yoghurt, etc, are provided at breakfast as well as an abundance of seasonal fresh fruits .

the breakfast table le moulin's dining room in the morning

Mouth-watering Packed Lunch contains a generous sandwich of freshly-baked baguette with a different filling each day and your choice from selections provided, of fresh fruits, cakes, cereal bars, crisps, etc, and a wide selection of drinks from the guest’s gratis 24/7 fridge. Just what you need to keep the cycling energy levels up.

Cycling Routes

Carolynn and Peter will be on hand with any friendly advice, information and support you may wish for regarding your chosen cycle route.

Most folk decide to start their ride shortly after breakfast, especially in hot weather - to be back in the shade by the pool before the day gets too hot.

SUGGESTED ROUTES

 

preparing to leave le Moulin

 

happy bovine families plus a happy cyclist

The self guided-cycling holidays are based at le Moulin du Chemin – a family-operated 'auberge' in a leafy valley in le Pays de Gâtine. A wide variety of cycle rides are available ranging from the 16km/10miles la Fazilière, recommended as a leg-stretcher on arrival, to the 43km/26mile 'Roof of the World' ride.

Each day you have the option for a shorter and longer ride and existing routes can be adapted to suit your own particular distance requirements. A different sector is proposed for each day and the diversity of the countryside means routes are interestingly different from each other.

Routes are categorised introductory, moderate and challenging. Whichever you decide upon, it is necessary to be reasonable fit. If you are used to regular exercise the routes should pose no problems.

If you are looking for even longer and more arduous routes see:

ROAD BIKE ROUTES

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THE CYCLING

The Gently Rolling Countryside, known as ‘bocage, is characterised by timeless pastures, majestic forests, cool woods, attractive ponds and pleasant orchards criss-crossed by ancient hedgerows and crystal streams. You will hardly see another soul – and certainly no tourists – while the glorious countryside abounds with wild flowers, birds, butterflies and (harmless) wild creatures.

Clear Route-notes and Highlighted Maps - choose a ride from the Personalised Dossier that Moulin cycling guests receive on arrival. The dossier comprises a set of professional route-notes and high-lighted maps provided in a handy A4 laminated format which attach easily to the handlebar map holders provided.

Meticulous preparation of the route-notes and maps ensure you should not get lost, but in case of lapsed attention, the friendly local inhabitants will help you or you will be able to call the le Moulin for assistance.

MAPS & ROUTE NOTES

Most of the routes include a welcome bar or two, as well as WCs.

One of the circuits visits a magical valley strewn with house-size boulders between which are rooted ancient oak trees.  Another takes in a colourful country market where local produce is sold, including live chickens, ducks and rabbits.

On two days during a six-night holiday, we transport you to different locations to give the opportunity to see interesting places outside a days cycling distance.

Cycling (and boating) in the Marais Poitevin is well enjoyed by le Moulin’s guests. Peter takes you and your bike to Coulon, the “capital” of the Marais Poitevin, and will collect you later the same day from Maillezais also in the Marais Poitevin, where the magnificent medieval ruins of the Abbey of St Pierre may be visited.

Mervent Forest is another much appreciated cycling destination with rivers and lakes set in a magnificent forest of oak, beech and chestnut. Peter will take you and your bike to Puy-de-Serre in the morning for the start of the ride and will collect you at Vouvant later, following your day exploring the forest. Vouvant is a pretty medieval fortified village with pavement cafés, English (and French, of course) newspapers as well as plenty of folk-lore and history.

romanesque church at Maillé

country-produce market at Coulonges

tow path in the Marais Poitevin

a bank of roses

typical riverside cottage in Venise Vert

magnificent medieval ruins

traditional country garden

ubiquitous tournesol

some of the myriads of wild flowers to be seen, mainly in spring, around le Moulin du Chemin

some of the butterflies you can expect to see while out on your bike

some of the many varieties of hedgerow fruits to try, according to season

The wild creatures you may chance upon on your rides include deer, genets, martins, otters (rare), coypu, squirrels, etc. Edible dormice can sometimes be seen, although these are mostly nocturnal. So far we have managed to get pictures of the coypu and the squirrel.

 

squirrel pictures by Joshua Comaish

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A Civilised Picnic Lunch

Once a week guests are invited to a civilised picnic lunch beside the lakes at le Beugnon. The picnic typically comprises fresh baked baguettes, eggs from le Moulin's free-range chickens, country pâtés, delicious French cheeses, chilled rosé wine - often the distinguished Cabernet d'Anjou  - followed by desert, fruit, coffee or tea.

 

cheers - à la pique-nique

end-of-summer pique-nique

APRèS CYCLING (or if you should decide to have a bike-free day)

To help you relax still further, and to quench your thirst after your ride, don't forget a well stocked drinks fridge

(beer, wine, cider, soft drinks and fruit juices) available 24/7 without extra charge.

Plenty of Interesting Things to Do There are plenty of interesting things to do and places to explore if you get back early from a ride, or if you decide to have a day of rest from cycling.

PLACES TO VISIT

The pool and terrace can be very inviting after a summer ride. Table tennis, boules and other games are available and le Moulin has an extensive library of popular books.

The pool is heated to 29°C, as required at the beginning and end of the season.

relaxing by the pool

 a game of boules in the garden

A selection of interesting walking routes and the opportunity for horse riding are also available.

Many Places of Historical, Cultural and Natural Interest

The region is rich in attractions of historical, cultural and natural interest. Carolynn and Peter will be happy to advise you about these. Further information and directions to these places are also provided in le Moulin's guestrooms.

historical detail

property for renovation?

Eleanor's abbey

historic Il d'Aix

medieval Parthenay

modern stained glass windows by Carmelo Zagari at Faymoreau

WINE TASTING BONUS!

Enjoy twelve or more lovely wines during a six-night holiday.
At the aperitifs-at-seven try some delightful local wines from the Loire Valley, particularly superior Crément de Loire, Anjou wines and Muscadet-sur-lie as well as, from time to time, wines from the the up-and-coming Fiefs Vendéen and Brem.
A different wine is served each day with the evening meal including some rather special 'connoisseur' Bordeaux wines from small traditional family vineyards, as well as some wonderful quality wines from the French South West and Rhône Valley.

A well stocked drinks fridge is also available to guests 24/7, without charge.

a glimpse inside le Moulin's glorious wine cave

Peter is always happy to explain something about the wines, to anyone who wants to listen.

ALL wineS are included in the HOLIDAY price

 

 

APERITIFS-AT-SEVEN AND THE EVENING MEAL

Aperitifs-at-Seven each evening provides the opportunity to meet the other guests

and to some taste distinctive and quite particular local wines.

  Aperitifs-at-seven is followed by an Amicable Four Course Evening Meal where superb and varied cuisine is accompanied by plenty of good and interesting wine in a leisurely atmosphere. The cuisine is wholesome, based mainly on fresh, whole and organic ingredients.

aperitifs-at-seven on the patio

clearly, everybody is happy

Le Moulin du Chemin's wonderful cycling holidays are hosted by proprietors, Carolynn Grimaldi and Peter Roche who commenced holiday operations at le Moulin du Chemin in 1993.

 

Maison d'Hôte: Carolynn Grimaldi,

2 lieu-dit le Moulin du Chemin, 79240 Scillé, France

+ 33 (0)5 4995 9487 cycling@moulinholidays.com

site by Peter Roche with support from Studio360

remote and undiscovered

yet easy access from UK,

Ireland and other parts of Europe