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Canoeing the Loire – 2

May 31, 2018

Chateauneuf to Blois

Distances measured from Nevers (click here for Nevers to Chateauneuf). We camped at La Maltournee in Chateauneuf, and Val de Flux in Beaugency, but there are plenty of others.

No major obstacles. The rapid under George V bridge in Orleans is bouncy, and on a sunny day a tip would have an audience. But the rapids at Jargeau, Meung and Beaugency are all easy.

The weir at Saint Lauren-Nouant nuclear power station is not shootable. But it’s an easy safe portage.

No famous vineyards. The local AOCs are Orleans, Orleans Clery and Cheverny. AOC Cour Cheverny is special; white wine made in a few select villages from the ancient Romorantin grape found nowhere else.

132 km – Chateauneuf sur Loire bridge (1946) Town right. Campsite La Maltournee left bank 100 metres upstream of the bridge (click here). No local wine, but one of the few small breweries on the upper Loire, La Brasserie des Ecluses (click here) is a couple of miles up the road at Vitry aux Loges.

138 km – Jargeau bridge (1988)  Jargeau left. Saint Denis de l’Hotel right. Small rapid at site of an older bridge, downstream of the present one. Easily shot left or right.

Camping L’Isle Aux Moulins left after bridge (click here)

146 km – Checy right. Easy access.

    

Camping right (click here) (plan here plan_camping_municipal_checy) between the river and canal d’Orleans.

   

An adjacent campsite, also between the canal and the river, seems to have closed.

   

Alliance canoe rental opposite bank (click here)

148 km – Combleux right.  The canal d’Orleans connects by lock to the river here and runs along the right bank to Orleans.

   

      

The right bank is Orleans AOC (details here). A few locals are making an effort (click here).  Keep to the right side of the river through Orleans.

As Orleans approaches river traffic increases

152 km – Vierzon railway bridge (1947) followed by Pont Rene Thinat (1977)

          

Canal d’Orleans junction right. The Orleans terminus

    

This is the nearest the river gets to Orleans centre. i.e. not very near.

153 km -George V bridge (1763) Orleans centre right.  The rapid under the bridge deserves respect in an open canoe, but we got through without taking on water.

154 km – Marshal Joffre bridge (1958)

155.5 km – Europe bridge (2000)

Canoe club right. Good landing spot. Drains a bit smelly.

  

The campsite Gaston Marchand right about 200 metres upstream of motorway bridge (click here) seems to have closed (May 2018).

157 km – A71/E9 motorway bridge (1980)

158 km – Eglise Saint Mesmin right.  Les Forges right.

Camping Le Chateaux right, a few hundred yards after the church is an RV stop. No facilities.

159 KM – River Loiret joins left.  Easily missed. Carries little flow.

165 km – Saint Ay right. Camping la Fontaine de Rabelais (click here). Quiet when we paddled past.

       

The right bank AOC Orleans again. Left bank AOC Orleans-Clery (red cabernet franc). One of the best is Clos Saint Fiacre.  No vineyards along the bank. Most in or around the village of Mareau-aux-Prés.

orleans-clery

168 km – Meung-sur-Loire bridge (1948) Village right. Chateau Meung-sur-Loire (click here)

Shallows at site of old bridge/ford about 200 metres above the new suspension bridge. Shoot right.

Public swimming pool right bank just below the bridge.

174 km – Beaugency bridge (14th century)  Beaugency right. Camping Val de Flux left bank just upstream of the bridge. Click here for more. Rapid under the bridge. Shoot left or right.

         

Indoor and outdoor pool right bank just after the first island after the bridge.

179 km – Saint Lauren-Nouant des Eaux nuclear power station left.

Weir. Warning sign at 2km advises canoes to keep right. Ignore ambiguous sign right bank at 1km. Easy portage right just above the weir. Click here for more.

                 

181 km Camp friendship left.  Click here

186 km – Muides-sur-Loire bridge (1932). Camping Municipal Bellevue left bank below the bridge.  No website but it looks lovely. Easy landing left either before or after the bridge. The day we arrived a bric a brac sale was going on.

    

The left bank is now AOC Cheverney. Domaine Croc du Merle, farm and vineyard (click here) sells wine, cheese and other delicacies. But they don’t make or sell AOC Cour Cheverney. That is reserved for wine made in a few central villages from the traditional grape, Romorantin, found nowhere else.

       

188 km – Saint-dye-sur-Loire left

       

194 km – Cours-sur-Loire right.

      

196 Chateau de Menars right.

    

198 km – Disused railway bridge.

199 km – Camping left Val de Blois.  Activity centre, good access, campsite, canoe hire, pool, and this extraordinary structure. It is the Restaurant Le Lac de Loire. Some crazy architect decided the Loire needed this sort of brutalist concrete. But I rather like it.

         

We stopped here, so Blois itself will have to wait till next year.

Jim Thornton

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