Thursday, June 30, 2011

Heading west through southern France

On Tuesday we left the chateau and headed into more of Languedoc's wine country. The roads we had chosen followed small watercourses and there seemed to be a chateau (decaying or otherwise) about every 5 kilometers.

All the towns had a cooperative for the crushing of grapes and a distillery After lunch we joined the Canal du Midi, a large canal with motor boats traveling along it.

The day was fairly hot and we stopped in Lesignan-Corbieres. We decided to get a hotel room since a strong wind has come up in the afternoon and threatening skies were to the west. We had dinner crepes for the second time. The creperies offer cider by the bowl or bottle. The bowl refers to a serving cup and we enjoyed this nice brut cider.

The decision to stay in the hotel was a good one since the wind blew extremely hard all night with some severe gusts. When we awoke Wednesday, the wind had abated a little and we decided to push on. It was not the worst headwind we have ever had and each town provided relief every 4 kilometers. Just before lunch we were crossing a canal and noticed that the there was a lock full of boats.

We stayed around and watched two groups of boats pass through the locks. These locks are pretty tight quarters for the boats.

We got a little lost in the maze of canals and roads in the afternoon, but saw this lovely chateau.

We reached the bike path further down the Canal du Midi for the final 10 kilometers into Carcassone. It's tree lined banks provided a good windbreak.

We will take a day off the bikes to explore the old town of Carcassonne and the spectacular ramparts.


Diana said...

I can't believe where you are! That is exactly where we were several years ago. We even took a boat trip along the very same canal and went through the locks. Our focus was Roman history and local wine. (Narbonne has a portion of the original Roman Road.) The wineries are pretty small scale/family run but really cool to visit as the owners usually host the tastings. We stayed in a restored abbey our traveling buddies found and visited all the local spots...really enjoyed it.

Dave and Belinda said...

Diana, you are so well travelled! We really enjoyed seeing the locks in operation. One lock keeper was a woodcarver and he had the most whimsical sculptures in his front yard by the lock. His dog had to greet each boat and biker or hiker along along the canal.