Walking to Bilbao – first stop, Orleans France

December 5, 2007

A few weeks back I decided to start counting my exercise time towards a goal. Since I am currently walking for exercise I chose to measure in miles. Since I’m very interested in the Basque country, and we have a weekend planned there in February, I chose Bilbao SpainĀ as my destination. So I’m walking to Bilbao.

Bilbao is 462 miles from Paris (my home). Some of you suggested I makes some stops along the way, which I found to be a big improvement to my original plan.

With today’s 3 miles (completed early this morning) my total miles walked is now 68. And 68 miles from Paris is Orleans, France.

Orleans - view of cathedral

Orleans is less famous than the US city that tried to honor it (New Orleans). But it was quite a powerhouse in it’s day, being the second-most powerful city after Paris for 2 centuries (10th & 11th). Probably the best known thing about Orleans is that it was seized by the English when they had overtaken France, and was the site of the brave and legendary Joan of Arc leading the French to defeat the English in battle in 1429.

Geographically, Orleans is Southwest of Paris, in the middle part of the country, and is on the far Eastern edge of the Loire valley. I visited once for work, but don’t remember much, but I found a cool virtual tour of Orleans online.

In France just about everything runs around food, and each city and region has a specialty. (Just about every time my DH travels, and that’s every week, he brings home the local specialty from where he’s been).

In Orleans, where he goes often for work, it’s Cotignac d’Orleans, a candy that’s a clear gel made from apple and quince, put into a small round wooden box.

Cotignac d'Orleans

I’ve tried it, and quickly decided it wasn’t worth the calories for me. It’s like eating concentrated, thicker jelly. My stepson loves it, however. And it is very quaint with the round wooden box. We even have some in the pantry right now.

Author’s note : I actually found different measures of distance for Orleans from Paris, but I’m going to stick by the site where I found the distance to Bilbao. I’ve decided NOT to trace my route to Bilbao (because it will mainly be in just a few regions) and instead focus my periodic updates on where in France I could have walked to. I’m loving this project already!

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