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.
Towards Port Sainte-Marie
The descent needed a little care in fact, it felt decidedly slippy. At one point I thought I'd adjust my disk brakes and managed to burn my finger on them, hot after a descent. So a burn to go with my blood blister from the day before.
If you click on this photo you'll see a panorama photo of this quiet little valley, which approaches Port St Marie from the North East.
At the bottom of this hill I surprised a group of small deer just 10 metres in front of me on the road. Not a lot of traffic you see.
The town was unfortunately situated, although it was on the banks of the Garonne it had a major road in front of it and the main railway line. It was still peeing it down too so I decided to leave any exploring until the next day. However, I did pop into a local small supermarket and they were very nice, even giving me a cup of coffee to warm me up before I left.
Moulin St Laurent
The Moulin was the name of the campsite, it was run by a Dutch family and almost all the campers were dutch, all the signs where in dutch, even the TV was only tuned in to dutch channels. It was decidedly strange after spending almost three weeks talking almost exclusively in French to be firstly not understanding much of what was going on and to be talking English to Dutch people.
Having said that it was a really nice site and the owners were very friendly and very helpful. I decided I'd stay here for the remaining three days of my holiday and explore the area. It had everything I needed, a town nearby, and it was close to the canal for an easy return to Agen for the coach.
It was also an interesting place in itself, an old mill with quite extensive grounds on both sides of the small road that ran through it. On one side an area for caravans and on the other an area for tents and, separate from that, an area for livestock. They had a lot of goats, chickens, a few sheep, and a small pig. The goats seemed to like best gathering together on the roof of the chicken coop.
This is the front of the mill, facing onto the road, it had a courtyard with a raised gallery and rooms, rented as gites, all around.