Archive for category: Cycling in the south of France

Cycling in the hills south of Carcassonne

A sixty km round trip from our holiday cottage in the south of France covered some beautiful terrain. It’s a marvellous time to be in the south of France, fields stuffed with sunflowers, grapes ripening on the vine, the sun mellowing the ancient stone of ruined chateaux that stand on rocky outcrops, testament to past conflicts of Languedoc.

We had an early start from Sonnac sur l’Hers following the old railway line through Camon, a plus beaux village de France, onto Mirepoix and Fanjeaux, all key strategic towns during medieval times and the crusade against the Cathars. Quiet roads, twisty cols (if you want them in this heat) and wide valley floors that sweep through vineyards and ancient towns and villages, make cycling Languedoc joyous. I was grateful for the old French law decreeing its people should always have free access to drinking water as I replenished my water bottle (and dunked my face and arms) in the centuries old lavage (communal washing facilities in a bygone age) in a tiny village by the roadside.

Tour de France – official route

The stages of the Tour de France 2012 have been published. Stage 14, the high mountain stage Limoux to Foix passes even closer to our holiday cottage and B&B in Sonnac sur l’Hers than previously thought – through Chalabre, only 3km from Chez Maison Bleue. So a walk or a cycle ride for us to be part of this tremendous sporting spectacle as it passes through the foothills of the Pyrenees.

Tour de France in Languedoc

2 stages of the Tour de France go through Languedoc in 2012:

Stage 13, July 14, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Le Cap d’Agde 215 km (road stage)

Stage 14, July 15 — Limoux – Foix 192 km (high mountain stage).

Limoux is half an hour from our holiday cottage and B&B, although the race comes much closer – through Puivert only 7km away. The Tour is a great spectacle and cause for many celebrations in the towns and villages, lasting long after the riders have disappeared round the mountain! We offer cyclist friendly accommodation and  whether you wish to follow the riders up the twisty cols, or prefer cycling for softies through vineyards and along forest tracks, Languedoc has something to offer. If you wish to follow the Tour or any other route, we can provide short distance support (transport, food, etc). Bike hire is available locally and can be arranged prior to your visit.

Detailed routes of the Tour in Languedoc on Cycling Languedoc website.

Cycling to Lac Montbel

Summer has arrived in Spring in Languedoc. Set off from our cyclist friendly B&B this afternoon to Lac Montbel, 2 hrs round trip from Chez Maison Bleue, via Leran, along tracks and quiet roads, 1 car passed us in 2 hrs. The mighty, snow capped Pyrenees provide the backdrop.

Cycling in the foothills of the Pyrenees

Sandy beaches, sailing, swimming, Lac Montbel is a site exceptionnel, you can take the VTT  (mountain bike) route of 16km around its banks.

Sandy beaches of Lac Montbel

 

 

Cycling Languedoc

A network of tracks and quiet roads lead from Sonnac sur l’Hers. Today, in glorious sunshine, we set off at 4pm to cycle to Chalabre, our nearest town, in time for the boulangerie to open for its tea-time shift. However, Chalabre is only 3km, not nearly far enough on such a beautiful early March afternoon, when the sun is skimming the hillside turning everything a pink hue. We continued as far as Rivel, another astonishingly beautiful bastide village, so typical of our region of Languedoc.  Returning on the road, the plateau is open and wild, tamed by the warm wind tangling your hair. The mighty Pyrenees keeping vigil, the buzzards circling on the warm thermals, another landscape, another world.

Easy cycling in the foothills of the Pyrenees

Cyclist friendly B&B

Cycle Languedoc and the Midi Pyrenees from our cyclist friendly bed and breakfast in the south of France. Quiet roads and tracks lead from the door, although this is Tour de France country so go as high as you like up twisty cols. Safe storage, workshop, washing and drying rooms, maps and 2 mountain bikes to lend – further bike hire locally. We collaborate with Cycling Languedoc, a useful resource with some detailed, long distance routes. Springtime avoids the baking heat and crowds of the summer…so what are you waiting for?

Cycle Languedoc from our holiday home through vineyards and ancient towns and villages