In Bouziès: to Cahors and back - Three Seasons Around France: Autumn - CycleBlaze

October 12, 2022

In Bouziès: to Cahors and back

Our insanely busy social calendar starts decluttering this morning as it starts shedding CycleBlazers.  Today Ann and Steve peel off, on their way to Figeac and points north.  We’ve still got Susan with us for another day, but then we’ll be on our own again.  Today though we’ve still got a full house at breakfast, where we linger over coffee and conversation until it’s time for Steve and Ann to start packing.  

The five of us assemble with our bikes at 10:30, stage a pair of group photos, and then we’re off as a group, Susan and ourselves riding with them for about a mile before turning back - just far enough for Rachael to capture some footage for the group video.

Hey Rocky!  How many CBers do you have video of now?  Susan, Steve and Ann, Suzanne and Janos, Rich and Robin, Greg Garceau, Bob Distelberg, Kelly and Jacinto for sure.  The Mathers, the Classens and the Gaudets too though?  Or the Fenwicks?  I forget.  Here’s a winter project for you while we’re waiting out Portland’s rain: stitch together snippets of different videos and create an integrated video that includes all of them.

Five bikes in Bouzièsl
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A clutter of CycleBlazers.
Heart 9 Comment 3
Keith AdamsI like your choice of collective noun. Very apt.
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1 month ago
ann and steve maher-wearyWhat a terrific shot to have as a parting gift! Thanks Scott!
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1 month ago
David MathersCheers to CycleBlazers 👩‍🍳🍻
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1 month ago

Since we won’t see Ann and Steve for awhile, let’s preview the ride and have dessert first today:

Video sound track: Another Day in Paradise, by Classic Dream Orchestra

Looking back along the Lot. The morning started out overcast and cool but it’s warming up quickly.
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There are several unlit, unshouldered tunnels along the way but they’re all short and of no concern. Just watch for a gap in the light stream of traffic.
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One of a pair of small riverside villages, large enough where it looks like you could find a room and a meal in the right season.
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For about the first ten miles we followed the north bank on D662, the departmental road. Dramatic cliffs were our near-constant company, on one bank or the other.
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Along the Lot, one of our favorite cycling rivers in France.
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Crossing to the quieter south bank on the Arcambal bridge.
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The view downriver from the Arcambal bridge. On the right is one of the short locks that makes the lower river navigable.
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Once we crossed to the south bank we lost nearly all of the traffic until reaching the outskirts of Cahors.  In exchange we got a modest bit of climbing, and some river views from a bit higher up.

I really liked this spot. A shame that I can’t tell you where it is though. Somewhere between Arcambal and Cahors, if that’s any help.
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We came to Cahors mostly because it was a reasonable destination in the right direction.  That is, we weren’t actually here to see the city itself, but just to use it as the point to turn back.  While we’re here though it would be remiss if we didn’t at least check in to view its landmark bridge, Pont Valentre.  You’ve already seen it recently - Steve and Ann were here recently - but we’ll throw our own photos on the digital heap also.

Looking across the Lot to Cahors’ Saint-Etienne Cathedral.
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We’re on our way to see the famous Pont Valentre, but we can pause to admire the striking railway bridge too. O-O-O-O!
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The famous bridge. This is our third time seeing it, but the first under favorable lighting conditions.
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Construction on Pont Valentre began in 1308 and it was opened in 1350. A fortified bridge, it was built due to the Hundred Years War. It was classified as a world heritage site in 1998.
Heart 9 Comment 2
Keith Adams1850 - 1308 = 542 years between start of construction and actually being open to use? That must surely be a record. Or was the opening date really 1350?
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith AdamsOh. Thanx.
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1 month ago
Pont Valentre is open to foot traffic only. You could bike on it, but its cobblestones and views make it more conducive to a leisurely stroll.
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There are stairs up to the parapet on the northernmost (town side) tower. The stairs are very worn and uneven, and there are no guard rails on either side. Caution is advised.
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The Hundred Years War has been over for awhile so Susan felt safe in sticking her head up to survey the terrain.
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A last look at Pont Valentre, for now. If I were a betting man though, I’d wager we’ll make it back here again some year. Rachael still wants to find the great cookie stand we raided on our first visit.
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The ride we’ve mapped out is a loop.  On the way back we climbed up well above the river into the Causse, where you might expect we’d get some fine views.  We didn’t, but the riding was very nice.

From the high point of the ride, looking north. The depression ahead is the Lot, presumably.
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The views return in a dramatic way at the eastern end of the loop though, when we overshoot Bouziès by a couple of miles until we come to a viewpoint looking down on Saint-Cirq.  After that we double back toward Bouziès on a spectacular road along the top of the cliffs above the towpath we walked along yesterday.  An exhilarating way to end another wonderful ride.

Dropping toward Bouziès. The cliffs are the ones soaring above the towpath, which I think you can just make out along their base.
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There. Much easier to see the line of the towpath now, right at the water’s edge. Also visible down there is one of the river’s locks. The road we’re coasting down is in the line of trees right at the top of the cliffs.
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Susan CarpenterGreat shot - it captures it all!
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1 month ago
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Ride stats today: 43 Miles, 1,900’; for the tour: 824 miles, 52,700’

Today's ride: 43 miles (69 km)
Total: 825 miles (1,328 km)

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Suzanne GibsonI am so envious
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonI’m sure, Suzanne. It would have been great to have you here.
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1 month ago