Gruissan - le Bacares: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em - France: Between the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees - CycleBlaze

September 2, 2007

Gruissan - le Bacares: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

We have decided to submit to the forces of nature as long as possible. Sometimes the wind blows from the northwest, sometimes from the north, which determines again that we won't be heading north or northwest. To the east is the sea, so it's to the south we go.

Today the sun seems to be especially bright, the colors are brilliant. On our way out of town I am surprised to see a group of pink flamingos. A sign informs us that after the breeding season in their native Camargue, they disperse to various lagoons on the Mediterranean.

Flamingos in the lagoon of Gruissan
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Gruissan in the morning light
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We round the lagoon and backtrack to the Canal de la Robine which follows a narrow strip of land south, with lagoons on either side, to Port-la-Nouvelle on the coast. I had been expecting a flat and boring canal ride with not much to see, but the views are beautiful along the quiet bike path.

Lagoon of Gruissan
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Along the Canal de la Robine
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In Port-la-Nouvelle we are just in time to shop before the markets close for lunch. We seem to forget to stock up when we set out in the morning or else think we'll see something along the way, which isn't always the case. Seated on a bench in the central square enjoying our picnic, we are treated to music and a parade celebrating some patriotic occasion, I gather. It seems all the veterans, organizations and medal bearers are out carrying flags.

Small town parade in Port-la-Nouvelle
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We continue down the coast, taking small roads whenever possible. At one point our route forces us onto a larger highway for a short distance, but since it doesn't really go through any larger towns it has very little traffic and isn't half as bad as it looked on the map.

Somehow we missed the ramp to get us on the highway
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The beaches here are all very popular and the campgrounds are big affairs with entertainment, and in the summer months very expensive. I am expecting the worst when we register at the reception. It turns out that the off-season rates are very reasonable - 15€ as opposed to 35€ in August. The place is quite empty, clean, has very nice washrooms, lovely old trees, we are allowed to choose our site and the beach is a few steps away. And there is entertainment in the evening - French chansons are broadcast over loudspeakers until midnight. That's what my earplugs are for. All in all a campground to be recommended - I think it was called Camping Florida.

We follow a bike path along the beach into town for dinner, have seafood and a good wine.

Cycling to dinner in the evening sun
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At the end of a lovely day
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