In Gruissan: to Port-la-Nouvelle and back - Three Seasons Around France: Autumn - CycleBlaze

October 28, 2022

In Gruissan: to Port-la-Nouvelle and back

Like Narbonne, Gruissan is a spot we somehow keep routing ourselves to.  The two are only about eight miles apart by the most direct route down the rough path along the Canal du Robine.  We like both places well enough that we decided to stay at both of them, as we did just a half year ago when we came through in the Spring on our way north.  I don’t doubt that if we come this way again we’d do the same thing and maybe stay longer - perhaps significantly longer, as some have suggested.

One of the aspects of Gruissan we enjoy is its gentle seaside resort ambience.  There’s a marina full of yachts here of course, but it’s all quite low key - at least off season as it is now and the two times we’ve been here in the past.  It’s enjoyable walking through the village center clustered below the ruined castle on our way to check out the restaurants along the waterfront and then walking back to our room through its empty streets after dark.  It was unseasonably warm last night, warm enough that we dined outside beside the quay for what must be one of the last times this autumn.  Surely the weather is going to change soon and our evenings will start being too chilly or damp for outdoor dining.

in Gruissan, hunting for a meal. We’re not so far off-season this time and there are plenty of choices.
Heart 7 Comment 0
Bike and boats. You see a lot of bikers of all ages, shapes and sizes in Gruissan.
Heart 8 Comment 1
Keith AdamsThat's a jarring bit of maritime architecture, as though a bus shelter had been dropped onto the deck of a working fishing boat.
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1 month ago

Six months is a long time on a bicycle tour.  So much has happened since we stayed in Gruissan in early April.  This has possibly been the most diverse, event-filled half year of our lives - just quickly thinking back over it, it feels like we’ve run through about ten short regional tours back to back.

So maybe it’s not surprising that we’ve both forgotten how we spent our layover day here and planned out walking and biking outings for ourselves today that were pretty similar to the ones we experienced then.  I knew today that I’d biked down about eight miles of dirt and gravel at the end of the Canal du Robine when I reexperienced it on today’s ride.  I recognized some of the same spots, knew I’d been here before, but couldn’t quite place when it was.  If I had, I might have decided to do something different today than bike it again, and then once I got to the far end turn around and bike home along it yet again.  By the time I finally made it back to pavement I was starting to think that a suspension seat post might be a good investment.

Different day, same old road.  Today though, a flock of five swans flew right overhead, close enough that their wings whistled as they sailed past, close enough so that a decent shot was possible with the puny 3X zoom I’m packing.

And today, I was amazed to see a cluster of large white birds standing around in a field - storks!  Over 30 of them!  I’ve never seen such a large concentration of storks and didn’t know they gathered in such numbers.  Maybe they’re stopped over on their autumn migration.

And today again I’m biking without my superzoom, which I especially feel when I come across a flock of about 200 flamingos, too far off to look like much more than a pointillist pink carpet on the lagoon when I unload the photo later.  It won’t be long though - Susan’s back in Paris, her tour over, and she has mailed the camera back down for me to use for the balance of ours.  With luck I’ll pick it up Monday in Pezenas and have it when we bike across the Camargue.  Plenty of days along the shore still to come before we head home.

Hmm, am I going the right way? No, I don’t think so.
Heart 4 Comment 0
It’s mostly overcast this morning but the sun briefly breaks through to illuminate the fortress.
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The sun briefly broke through to illuminate this skiff too, but by the time I got the camera out it was in the shadows again.
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Keith AdamsToo bad- that bright blob of sunlit yellow must've been a very attractive sight.
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1 month ago
Breathtaking. Right above my head.
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The Canal du Robine. Like interesting doorways and windows, you really can’t have too many canal shots.
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Yes, storks migrate through here on their way to South Africa. When I researched this I found an article that described a good spot for watching fall migrations. It’s almost exactly at this point.
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Another skiff, with the same paint scheme as the first. Louanne and Baptiste must be cousins.
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Looking north toward Narbonne, just about nine bumpy miles away.
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Along the canal.
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Keith AdamsThere's little so forlorn-looking as an abandoned, empty building left to crumble into ruin, is there?
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1 month ago
A window on the Canal du Robine.
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Another.
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Graham FinchEven nicer!
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4 weeks ago
Biking down a thin filament between the canal on the left and the Ayrolle lagoon. Those two flamingos were just below where I’m standing when I first crossed the berm, but they squawked and flew off immediately.
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Canal shot.
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Looking across Ayrolle lagoon toward Gruissan.
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The turnback spot on the promenade in Port-la-Nouvelle. Time for lunch.
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This induced some anxiety. She’s been shuffling her way along the wall and didn’t want to hop down so she squeezed herself behind the bike. Luckily she didn’t knock it over.
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Easy to find your solitary patch of sand if you’re here at the right season.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Port-la-Nouvelle is definitely a working port, more that than a tourism destination really. It’s quite industrial along the channel into the lagoons.
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Heading for home, with pavement only about eight miles off now.
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I like to include shots like this from my solo rides so Rachael won’t burn with envy over what she missed out on.
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A bay of pink. A string of cars were pulled on the shoulder, their drivers and passengers lining the road with their snazzy zoom lenses and binoculars aimed across the water.
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Ride stats today: 28 miles, 200’; for the tour: 1,310 miles, 80,700’

Today's ride: 28 miles (45 km)
Total: 1,309 miles (2,107 km)

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