Sunday 4 July 2010

Cycling and Charentaise Slippers - Part 89

Happy 4th of July to all my American followers.

It was so hot early this morning that I was up and about at 06h00 (on a Sunday!) and by 07h00 I was out on the road on my bike. No camera today, (see the last post), so much to my disgust, I could not take a picture of the beautiful yellow and black caterpillar that posed so nicely for me. Neither could I take the several ‘things’ along the route that took my eye; very annoying. BUT on the other hand I did have a sensible ride with no stops and I made it home with 32 kms under my belt just as it was starting to get even hotter. I even picked a hilly route, so I did not take it easy and loaf along the way.

See the following elevation thanks to bikeroutetoaster
Ok so there was lots of downhill but remember all the climbing, I had to do to enjoy the way back down!

Standing points for the first 6 riders,with their team names and including two Brits, although one is Scottish and one Welsh!! (Yesterday, Saturday 03 July 2010 - the prologue)

1.CANCELLARA F. SAX      15 Pts
2.MARTIN T. THR             12 Pts
3.MILLAR D. GRM             10 Pts
4.ARMSTRONG L. RSH        8 Pts
5.THOMAS G. SKY             6 Pts
6.CONTADOR A. AST          5 Pts

On one weekend last month, I went shopping in Chasseneuil, only to find that I could not park anywhere close to a shop, or even drive down any of the blocked roads!  Cause: a cycle race doing circuits through the town.   I think if I was not a cyclist, I may not have been very impressed. 


This is surely the most renowned slipper in the world! Well so I am told……

As an emblem of local artisans’ know-how and the symbol of an enduring French success story, this slipper has managed never to go out of fashion!

The history of the Charentaise slipper - The production of felt in Poitou-Charentes dates back many years: in the 18th century, the felt makers in Rochefort made uniforms for the army, while the paper industry rapidly developed around Angouleme (the felt is used to absorb the humidity in paper waste).

The wool produced in the Confolens region goes through several transformations and operations (stripping, carding, spinning, weaving…) to make rolls of felt from which the necessary sections are cut.

Not long after this period, the scrap tissue of this lovely material was used to make slippers which were put inside wooden shoes. Warm, comfortable and snug, the “Charentaise” slippers quickly earned their ennoblement.

At the end of the 19th century, expectations multiplied and the Charentaise slipper industry developed all over the Horte and Tardoire area. In 2004, with the encouragement of the General Council of Charente, manufacturers started to mobilize themselves in order to reproduce the product, now part of French heritage.

Its shape, stitch and  assembly process, with the natural material of wool, felt and leather, were brought back to life, thanks to the industry’s and designer’s blend of technical and aesthetical know-how. The exhibition of the 176 models at the ‘Maison et Objet’ tradeshow in September 2006 was a great success.

If you are visiting the Charente, you could not possibly leave without a bottle of its world renowned Cognac or secondly a pair of these famous slippers.  The following picture shows just one of the many models that are made.


  1. Your bike graph displays an impressive ride. Maybe you should have entered the race.

    I love the slippers.

  2. Those slippers look very comfy and warm.

  3. Gaelyn that is today's funny story:) I might have just finished the prologue which was short, but it would have probably taken me 20 times (plus) as long as the slowest rider. Diane

  4. Nadege I gather they are extremely comfy, but I have not got past my very cheap, on sale, slippers from the UK yet!! Diane

  5. Crikey, Diane, what a bike ride! After your last post I was starting to have the feeling that you weren't a potterer type of cyclist like I am, and this post confirms it. Well done you! I might have a ladies racing bike, but it is of considerable vintage like I am, and hasn't been ridden since I got here because it has a flatty. Lame excuse, heh?

  6. Vera my racing bike is in the UK to use in winter, but it is usually too cold and sits in the garage!! The bike I have here is a touring bike with better gears for climbing. I bought it specially to cycle the end to end (Lands End to John O Groats) 8 years ago with a friend (who only has one leg!) for charity.

    After pneumonia last August it has taken me a long time to get going again!!!! I am a fair weather cyclist as far as possible:-) It is also nice to potter, no camera no potter!! Diane

  7. Oh what a pity about the caterillar Diane. Typical to find great things when you dont have anything to take its picture with. Hope you get a new one soon.

  8. Wow. That was an adventure of a bike ride, going from one end of the UK to the other! You must have grand memories about that trip. Hope your health is at optimum now, and that you enjoy a summer of many happy potterings.

  9. I didn't know you like cycling you sure get out and about a lot oh yes that slipper will do just fine thanks my tiles are rather cold at the moment :)

  10. Joan I won't tell you what I said when I saw the catapillar and no camera!!**!! I was really cheesed off. Diane

  11. Vera, I have many memories about that trip, some good and some not so good, but the most important was that we raised just over £8,000.00 for St John's Ambulance so it was all more than worthwhile. Diane

  12. Philip we also have tiled floors, in summer it is just fine, but in winter it is quite a different story. Our neighbours have just built a new house and put in under floor heating, we though of it, but at the time costs uppermost in our mind...... Regrets, yes:( Diane

  13. It really is a shame you were unable to capture the caterpillar, but there is, fortunately, almost always a next time. I didn't, for whatever reason, understand until today how seriously you take cycling. More power to you. Given uphill distances such as that you must be thin as a rail. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  14. Mary, my cycling has fallen by the wayside since last August when I was so ill. It has taken me a long time to get back to cycling and I am way, way, off the fitness that I had before. I don't think I will ever return to doing 50 to 60 km rides with ease. Fitness, time factor and age are all there to slow me down - plus the camera when it is available!! Have a good day. Diane

  15. I'm not a cycler, myself, but I have many fond memories of getting into a car with my squalling kids and driving from place to place. Traveling like that, so you really see a place, is a wonderful adventure. Enjoy watching the Tour. I feel better knowing you're keeping track of it for me, while we've been enjoying a long weekend.

  16. Marjie it amazes me that sometimes when I cycle a route that I drive regularly, what I see that I did not even know was there. Diane

  17. That was some mess on the "tour" after that motor bike splilled that oil.
    Thank you for the notes on the slippers. I do not recall hearing about them before, and I enjoy hearing about that sort of thing.

  18. I never saw those slippers in the Charents before, they look lovely - I will look out for them on my next visit! And well done on the bike ride, makes me feel exhausted just reading about it

  19. Mya and Cottage Garden Farmer, sorry for the late reply but the comments certainly seem to have been in trouble today. I presume that all the larger towns sell the slippers, I certainly know that there is a shop in La Rochefoucauld that sells them.


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