After a sunny day off the bike in Le Puy I headed northwest through the hills of the Haute Loire region. The rain returned and I spent a few days in constant precipitation followed by a few more spent trying to dodge occasional passing thunderstorms.

The roads gradually descended from the rugged hills of France’s volcanic interior to more gently rolling hills and finally open plains of wheat and corn that reminded me of the American midwest. I avoided most of the larger cities, but still got in some time in large towns and visited some impressive chateaux and castles. One of my favorite features of bike touring in France quickly became the daily (or twice-daily… maybe three times on special days) visits to bakeries and patisseries to load up on bread, pastries and the occasional quiche.

Eventually I reached the Atlantic on the coast of Brittany a few kilometers east of St. Malo to officially complete an Aegean-to-Atlantic bike tour. A couple nights in St. Malo touring the city and browsing the weekly flea market rounded out my continental tour before I caught the ferry across the English Channel to Portsmouth.