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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.

Flowers and Conversation

Whilst I didn't get to talk to the houseboat owner I did get to have a long talk to a couple sitting on a bench just next to these flowers.  I'd asked them what the french for 'bee' was and it prompted a half an hour of conversation, taking in the French Language, flowers, bikes, and travel.  It turned out the woman was a french language teacher and could explain the reason for lots of things that had been puzzling me about verbs, conjugation and pronunciation.  I suggested she come with me as cycling language consultant.

 

16th July.  39km, avg 15.8km/hr, max 28.9km/hr - 4 hours (2:30mins riding)

Map for today: Agen to Moissac (3.5MB)

Since I'd got lots of time, although I was up and packed by 6.00am, I stayed and ate some bread with goats cheese and honey, a really tasty combination, oh, and some fruit before starting for the day.  This is the front view of the Tourist Office behind which I'd camped.  The belgians were still sleeping and the french couple had put their tent so far away I didn't see them again until two days later in Moissac.

 

Whilst there was no campsite nearby it turned out that there was an auberge.  The woman running it was a bit miffed that the tourist office hadn't mentioned it to me.  It was an old lock-keeper's house that she'd converted, it was still owned by the council but she had paid for the renovations and so had 18 years rent free.

There were two rooms with four beds in each and the more people who appeared the cheaper your share of the room became.  Which basically meant you couldn't be sure to have the room to yourself and that put me off.  Besides, I like my tent and I can be sure that I have that to myself, insects permitting.

She also sold jams and various foodstuffs, and, on the wooden veranda you can see to the right of the building, you could eat.  I had coffee and fresh orange juice as a treat, and as the cost of entry to the toilet of course.

 

Travel Options

This was the noisiest part of the canal, on the left a busy main road, the cycle path, the canal, and then the main rail line to the Med with trains every 15 minutes.