To Perigueux - Three Seasons Around France: Autumn - CycleBlaze

September 29, 2022

To Perigueux

It’s a short ride to Perigueux, barely twenty miles; and not too challenging either if RideWithGPS is to believed.  We’ve mapped out a longer route so we’ll earn our dinner tonight but when we look at this morning’s weather forecast it gets tossed in the bit bucket.  We’ll be doing well to put in our twenty and arrive dry, from the looks of it.

So that’s a modest disappointment.  More vexing is figuring out the rest of the plan for the day.  We can stay here at Villa Medicis until 11:30, but according to our reservation we can’t check in at our apartment until 5.  We’ve sent off a request for an earlier check-in but haven’t heard back, so we’re assuming it’s not an option.  What will we do with ourselves for six hours on a day with only a twenty mile ride and the prospects of rain?

Rachael comes up with the obviously best idea - we’ll arrive in Perigueux in time for lunch, and spend the afternoon at a restaurant while waiting for our apartment to become available.  We leave Villa Medicis about 10:30 under dry skies, right after the morning rain moves on to the north.

Leaving Villa Medici and our current favorite golden retriever.
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A last view down toward Brantôme Abbey.
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The first four miles are easy as we more or less follow the left bank of the Dronne downstream.  I didn’t notice when drawing up this route, but we’re backtracking the tail end of our ride into Brantôme two days ago.  It all looks different traveling this direction and with the sun out but eventually it sinks in.

Northbound along the Dronne, backtracking Tuesday’s ride although we haven’t figured it out yet.
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Looking across to the limestone cliffs lining the opposite bank.
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OK. Now I’m sure. This is that striking cliff in Valeuil we took a photo of two days ago.
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Mill wheel, Valueil.
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An empty frame, Valueil.
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The next three miles are the most scenically striking of the ride, as we leave the river and start climbing.  Views are steadily more inspiring the higher we climb until we finally top out and bounce along across the top of the ridge that separates the Dronne from the Isle.

I can’t get over these fields of dying, unharvested sunflowers. Beautiful and poignant at the same time.
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At the top, looking back across the Dronne Valley.
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Looking ahead to the gradual drop to the Isle.
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Some crows.
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Some open land at the summit.
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At the midpoint of the ride with all of the work behind us we stop for lunch in a field by the side of the road before starting the descent to the Isle.  While we’re stopped we pull out the phone to check the weather - promising so far, indicating that we should make it to Perigueux dry.  While it’s open I check our email too and see that we have a message from our host: the apartment will be available any time in the afternoon - which more or less means now.

This is fantastic news.  Between this and the fact that we’re staying dry the day is turning out much better than we’d expected.  We scrap plans for lunch and decide to just head straight to the apartment.  The rest of the ride goes fast as we mostly coast down to the Isle for the next five miles and then follow it on a delightful bike path for the remaining miles to Perigueux.

Descending to Beauronne.
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There’s a unexpected but mercifully short stretch of dirt and gravel on the descent.
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And then a longer stretch like this, which is really just about as slow as the dirt.
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Roof tiles and cyclamen.
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We’re in a rush to get to town in time for lunch so there’s just time for a quick photo stop at Chancelade Abbey.
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We were surprised by what an excellent ride we enjoyed entering Perigueux, on a cycle path alongside the Isle River for the last three miles.
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The Isle River.
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The Isle River.
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Video sound track: Autumn Serenade, by John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

Our apartment is going to work great.  It’s a modern remodel of a unit in an older building that looks like it’s been here a good long while.  We’re here for two nights, so Rachael of course immediately goes out to the store to provision us for our breakfasts and lunches.  As soon as she returns I head out myself to explore the town a bit.

For dinner we walk to Chez Fred up in the medieval town.  This is one of the plusses about getting into our apartment early - we didn’t need to eat out for lunch as a way to fill in some time.  Chez Fred treats us well, serving up an outstanding vegetable salad as our entree and a pair of inspired mains.

In Perigueux, on our way to dinner.
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Amazing. The best salad either one of us can remember having,
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ann and steve maher-wearyThat looks delicious, as does your pasta dish.
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1 month ago
Graham FinchNot missing pie and mash, then?
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Graham FinchNo, but the memory lingers on.
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1 month ago
Rachael’s main: John Dorsey, pasta and veggies.
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In Peregueux.
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Keith AdamsUmbrellas and colorful glass balls still as "Pink Floyd album cover" surrealistic to me as the lampshades from a few months ago. But I like them anyhow.
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1 month ago
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Ride stats today: 22 miles, 1,500’; for the tour: 442 miles, 29,100

Today's ride: 22 miles (35 km)
Total: 442 miles (711 km)

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