Glorious morning because we are sleeping in and not packing up to be gone by 7. The tents will dry eventually though there is a soft mist overhanging everything. That was to be expected because we are camping on an island in the middle of the Loire. It is cool enough to pull out my puffy jacket as we eat breakfast of croissants and pastries but not coffee yet.
We decide to have coffee at a bar near the church and then explore the town. I feel a real sense of pleasure being here. It has energy and I probably am not tired! I am captivated by the dog in the boulangerie and the dog in the window of the hairdresser. It was so well behaved, just sitting watching, no barking. Alfie needs a bit of French good manners! There are always hairdressers open!
Next the church which I find really beautiful and moving. The flagstones are so uneven they tell of the centuries of worship yet it has very contemporary stained glass windows in some parts and beautiful messages around the church. It is a church that is used still.
The Church was taken over by the French Revolutionaries and the entrance was destroyed and housing was built. Since the 1990s the town has been restoring the buildings which are extensive. The monks were called Cluniacs and were very influential through the ages. It has also been recognised as a stop on a route to Santiago Compostella. Today I walked the mandatory 84 stairs for pilgrims.
The city has quite a few festivals, one of which is a festival of words and on many of the shops and buildings are quotes from literature. I find that really charming. This is the street we had our coffee. Eventually we returned to pack up the tents and catch the bus to Nevers. While I was doing that Amex rang to say my card had been used in New York! Anyway no transaction occurred due to their diligence but they have stopped that card. It isn’t a problem as I only bring it for emergencies but it took ages to sort out and I thought we would miss our bus. What a world. I am talking to a guy in America( Mumbai probably) while plugged into a caravan power site in France talking fraud then holding while they put me onto customer service in Actual America to send a replacement card! Anyway all is good. We arrived in Nevers as scheduled and are resting and enjoying a lovely Airbnb in a charming building. The washing machine finally worked when I realised you have to close the inner drum. I remembered from Croatia. Washed everything and now smell nice!