Today felt weird at first because Peter and Andy set off to walk to Gimouille, about 8 kms out of Nevers where Karen and I would be waiting with our trusty black Nissan Micra. Gimouille is on the canal but no bar or cafe so we met the guys at the church, a simple 15th century Romanesque style.
We have hired the car to assist us between Nevers and Vichy due to the distances. I wanted to rest my leg another day and Karen is just starting to feel rested. A 30 km day was not an option. It gave us the chance to visit one of the prettiest towns in France, Apremont-sur-Allier. We are now travelling alongside the Allier river which is similar to and a tributary of the Loire.
Apremont was beautiful (perhaps in the Cotswolds style) situated on the Allier River with manicured gardens and a spectacular Floral Park, chateau and carriage, bicycle museum. The little cafe overlooked the river, the chickens pecked around our feet, the sun was out. All was right with the world.
This is on the pilgrimage route( nearly every place is it seems!) the 15 th Century village was once home to stonemasons but once the Chateau was bought by Eugène Schneider heir to the Le Creusot dynasty in the 1890s, the village was restored and embellished to be in perfect harmony with the Chateau and the estate. His great grandson was an inspired landscaper and created this magnificent, floral park. We spent ages strolling amongst the flowers and lawns. It has three follies in the vein of the 18 th Century gardens, a Turkish Pavillion, a Chinese bridge and a Belvedere. The house situated amongst the gardens are so picturesque. And no tourists and in fact not very commercial at all. There are adventure canoe activities but that was the only obvious commerce. Just good taste and harmony.
After checking out the ramparts of the castle we took to our black steed and drive through the town we would have stayed in if we were walking and onto our next place- a spa town.