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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.

6th July.   76km, avg 15.6km/hr, max 43.4km/hr

Rollover this image to see where I started from.

My cycle computer said 4.5 hours of riding but it took about 10 hours, god knows how it thinks I stopped for over 5 hours on the way!

It was another wildlife day, more heron than I could count, some very large birds of prey, buzzards perhaps, and a couple of coypu (like small beaver).

I managed to find a town with food next to the canal today, Ceray de la Tour I think it was, the most fantastic flan slices which I wolfed down.

 

People live here

My goodness, people live here, people live in all the chateaux in fact. 

 

Near the end

I'm getting close to Decize and the end of the Canal du Nivernais, it's been a really nice two days of easy riding.  I managed to get lost in Decize in spite of the GPS, and then missed the turning after Decize too, simply because I couldn't believe the dirt track, through some gates next to a gatehouse, was the right turnoff.  In fact it was my day for missing turnings.  I flew past two heavily laden german tourists only to be caught up by them 20 minutes later because I was having to cycle back the way I'd come.  Hare and the tortoise.

I was cycling along some lovely little roads with very few people around.  I was a delight in fact to be off the canal.  As nice as the canal was it is easy to end up just following it and not seeing much else.  Roads were more interesting, you were always passing something and the scenery changed more frequently.

Unfortunately, the roads were so quiet and the temperature was rising and I was starting to think I was just not going to find anywhere to eat when suddenly there was a restaurant by the side of the road.  With a menu for 12€.  Duck paté with salad followed by a very good boeuf borguignon and potato gratin, then fromage blanc, water and wine, couldn't manage the desert that was also included in the price, too full.

There didn't seem to be any campsites nearby though I'd noticed that there was one in St Pierre.  Took a bit of getting to if I wanted to miss the large main roads but I managed of course.

Quite a nice little town which needed what seemed like a large detour at the end of the day to skirt around the railway line.  Went to the post office to post the maps and info on the Nivernais I'd accumulated.  A nice french girl who spoke English helped with postal advice.

 

St-Pierre-le-Moutier

I like photographing my tent on the various campsites, it helps me remember.  There were very few people on this site, only two others in fact.