Today we were cycling from Saint Macaire to Isle St Georges. We didn’t have the trip notes for day 3 as Graham’s printer had been playing up so he was going to meet us at 9am to go over them before we set off. 9am came and went, 9.30am came and went, 9.45am came and went with no sight nor sound from Graham. We had the big picture map so decided to set off and stick to the main roads.
It was Saturday so they weren’t too busy and the French drivers are very considerate – they slow down and give you a wide berth. We made it to Cadillac and they had a Saturday market so that was a bonus. We stopped off and explored the produce on offer – lots of fresh fruit and veges, cheeses, breads, salami and even live chickens, ducks and rabbits. Couldn’t resist the strawberries of course.
Indirectly, Cadillac gave its name to the motor car of that name – a story of successful social climbing, adventures in North America and political intrigue.
Graham finally caught up with us and gave us the notes. We had a few hiccups along the way and I must say some major frustrations with the trip notes. I am directionally challenged but am good at following instructions – we had a few go round in circle moments that resulted in a few choice words.
We stopped off at Chateau Mongenan to do a tour – not the sort of tour we were expecting but interesting nevertheless. The lady that met with us was seventh generation on this property and her fore fathers were involved in the French Revolution in the 17th century. They were obviously very well to and do and very well connected moving in some very illustrious circles. She had these rooms filled with memorabilia dating back to the mid 17th century and they were all original.
She had old fashioned models adorned with original clothing and porcelain remnants some of which belonged to Marie Antoinette. The original house where she still lived was built in 1764 and she still had some original furnishings inside. We had a tour of the parlour, music room and lounge – she had a beautiful harp, violins and a piano dating back to the 18th century.
The lady was about 70 and she told us she hadn’t been married, had no children and no siblings. This collection and display of history was her passion and she didn’t know what would become of it when she was gone. I asked her if she had cousins but she said they were not interested.
We had a wine tasting at the end – a merlot, cab sauv blend. It was quite nice – the grapes were grown on her property but the wine is produced elsewhere. The property produces 25,000 bottles per annum.
We set off again – next stop Isle St Georges. No problem finding Isle St Georges but we did have a bit of trouble finding our lodgings for the night. A couple of local cyclists came along and the woman taught English – perfect! Her husband knew where the Chateau we were staying was so they decided to cycle with us to the property.
We are staying at Chateau de Montigney-Rabey – the couple that own it, Bridgette & Jean Claude, have fully restored it – it took them six years. The chateau was built in 1765. It is lovely and we have this very large room with beautiful amenities. Bridgette doesn’t speak a lot of english but we managed to have a very animated conversation until Jean Claude came home. The property overlooks the Garonne River and we saw a tourist boat go by. Bridgette was then trying to tell us about the Airbus going up the river – we thought she meant that the planes fly over but when Jean Claude came home we learnt that the use the river to ship the parts for the A380’s that are being assembled in Toulouse. They are too big to go by road so they use the river.
There is only one restaurant in Isle St Georges – Le Petit Caboulet which is 2km from the Chateau. We rode our bikes to dinner. Again the meal was delicious – so tasty and so well presented. Definitely loving the french food. We sampled another Bordeaux Rose with our meal and were not disappointed. It gets dark about 9.40pm so we thought we better set off on our bikes before it was pitch black. Steve’s bike has a light but mine doesn’t. Home safely tucked up in our very large bed feeling like royalty : )