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Auxerre to Agen

Another recumbent bike epic across France.  There seems to be a theme developing, accidentally, but based on European Bike Express' collection points; the last one was B to B (Beaune to Barcelona), this one is A to A.

Having gone down the east of France and over the Massif Central last year this year I thought I'd explore the westerly area a little more.  So, this trip went from Auxerre, followed the Canal du Nivernais to Decize, went west towards Chateauroux and Le Blanc then Poiter, followed La Vienne river skirting Angouleme, Limoge and Perigeux to get to La Reole, finally following the Canal Entre Deux Mers to Toulouse and a bit beyond before returning to Agen for the coach journey home.

About 1,500km in all.

date of event:5th July 2010

Leaving home

Is that a look of happy, self-satisfaction I see?  I suspect so, this is me just about to cycle down to Newcastle, to catch a train to Middlesborough, to get another train to Great Ayton, to cycle to Stokesley, to catch the European Bike Express to La Belle France: Auxerre and from there to peddle southwards.  Oh happy day.


Route Overview

This is the route as a whole.  By the way part of it is blue and part red only because the blue part is a Memory Map route and the red part the actual track my GPS recorded - it should have recorded the entire thing but ran out of battery power and lost the first few days of the track.

If you want to download the full set of detailed maps I've got them as pdf files here:

  1. Auxerre to Decize (8.2MB)
  2. Decize to Montmorillon (12.8MB)
  3. Montmorillon to Availles Limousine (2.7MB)
  4. Availles towards Angouleme (4.5MB)
  5. Angouleme south (3.2MB)
  6. Montpol to La Reole (3.2MB)
  7. La Reole to Agen (4.9MB)
  8. Agen to Moissac (3.5MB)
  9. Agen to Toulouse (5MB)

Sorry they're a bit large but they're 1:100,000 and detailed.  Oh, and by the way on some the route/track is blue, on others red and on still others a sort of ochre colour, but hopefully you'll figure it out.  There is also the occasional gap where the GPS turned off.

One final thing, the first part, from Auxerre to Decize isn't that accurate, I planned it using the roads but then followed the canal most of the way, but it's so well signposted if you were to follow it you'd have no problem; but it is longer since the canal meanders.


Canal du Nivernais

4th July, Auxerre to Clamecy. 85km, avg 16.6km, max 43.4

The European Bike Express bus had dropped me off near the motorway just north of Auxerre at about midnight and I'd booked into the F1 Hotel because they had a ground floor room and would let me put my bike in it with me.

The next morning I'd got pedalling by about 6.30, had found the River Yonne (later the Canal du Nivernais), and, more importantly, already bought croissants aux amandes.  It was a cloudy but pleasantly warm start.


Busy Roads

At the start of the Nivernais, and indeed at a few other points, the cycle path left the towpath but the roads were small and very quiet.  I just love wheatfields interspersed with wild flowers, especially poppies.