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.
The lock-keepers' houses, which is what maison d'eclusier means, were sometimes abandoned or unused, but sometimes they were very obviously cared for. There is a move to try to encourage their use to help regenerate the area but there were very few that we being used to support tourism and they would be ideal as cafés, restaurants or chambre d'hote.
The campsite was lovely. Next to a lake, each emplacement was surrounded by hedges. A nice fella mending his tractor in a nearby building plugged in my powermonkey charger and I got my washing done and hungup early. No shops though in the village, so it's left over fruit for my dinner.
The lady who looked after the camping turned up later, with her dog, to take money, 3.5€ and she made me a cup of coffee and we chatted for an hour. All about where she used to live in Switzerland, what it's like living here (depressing in winter), reading and life in general. My french is definitely improving a little.
This lake was just behind the tent. The sign is presumably to stop anyone walking on water.