Douzens - Lezignan and Villefranche - Durfort: Toi toi toi - France: Between the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees - CycleBlaze

September 8, 2007

Douzens - Lezignan and Villefranche - Durfort: Toi toi toi

First a look out the window. Seeing the wind is just as strong as yesterday, Janos doesn't object too much to my suggestion to take the train.

Yes, my friend, the wind is still blowing
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We are on the Marseille - Toulouse line but the trains no longer stop at the small station in Douzens. We decide to backtrack to the station in Lézignan where we hope to be able to board a train with our bikes. If we take the train all the way to Villefrance de Lauragais we can cycle back to Durfort where we started out, again with tailwinds.

What a pleasure it is to ride yesterday's roads, going the opposite direction with the wind in our favor. We aren't in a hurry and I have time for picture taking. My new collection is called "Catch 27". I have a particular fondness for the house number 27 since I grew up in a house with that number. Along the way, I am trying to find and photograph as many houses with the number 27 as I can without making detours. The road to Lézignan passes through a couple of villages and is productive for my project. I find quite a few 27's for my collection. I also get a lot of curious stares when I suddenly stop, get off my bike and take a picture of a doorway, for reasons apparent only to me.

Catch 27
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Steve Miller/GrampiesAh, this is a vague cousin to the activity of trying to find addresses that feature in well known movies. For example 17 Cherry Tree Lane from Mary Poppins. There is such a place in London, but it is a very plain place. There is also a Cherry Tree Lane on Mayne Island, near our home on Vancouver Island.
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3 years ago
A pretty 27
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At the ticket counter, we are relieved to find out that there will be a train to Villefranche and it will take us with our bikes. I have to ask twice to make sure my imperfect knowledge of French isn't tricking me into hearing what I want to hear. "Yes, you can take your bikes. No problem." We board the train in Lézignan around noon and I am content to view the countryside from the train window. The tracks run parallel to the Canal du Midi and we stop in Carcassonne, Bram and Castelnaudary, all familiar to us from cycling through. We are in Villefranche de Lauragais sometime after 1:00, a train ride with no complications.

In Villfranche after a short train ride
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We hadn't anticipated that the stretch through the Lauragais countryside would be quite so hilly, and the tailwinds don't materialize, either. Here there is no wind at all. Summer is over, the hills are dry and brown, the sunflowers, where they haven't been harvested yet, hang their withered heads. It's time for us to go home.

End of summer
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Our two weeks on the road are over. It was a very successful tour. Although we hadn't done any great research or planning in advance, we found beautiful roads and countryside all the way. We never had problems with heavy traffic or boring stretches. Here all credit goes to the unspoiled region Languedoc-Roussillon, it wasn't hard to pick a fantastic route. It was a good experience to have no compelling destination, just some towns and churches we thought we might want to look at. This made us quite flexible: we changed direction or stopped on a whim.

As for the wind - it was a game to try to outwit it, taking advantage of it as often as possible and avoiding it when it got to be too much. I think we won.

Above all, my knee was fine! What a relief. Knock on wood, or as the Germans say: "toi toi toi". I think we might be good for a few more bicycle trips.

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