To Saint-Remy-de-Provence - Three Seasons Around France: Autumn - CycleBlaze

November 10, 2022

To Saint-Remy-de-Provence

The nothing two day washout of a rain event is over, and now we’re looking at another four days of fine conditions as we set off to the northeast toward the Luberons.  Our plan is to loop around them for a few days before circling back toward the coast and turning east toward Nice.  Our tour is winding down quickly - we fly home three weeks from today - and looking at the longer range forecast it could be that these coming four days are the last good weather of the fall for us.

It’s a relief when we enter the atrium and see that our bikes are nearly dry.  There was some amount of precipitation yesterday, but it’s nothing compared to what we envisioned when we rolled in.

For Eva and Al, who will recognize this atrium.
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Eva WaltersThanks Scott. We have a photo just like this from eleven years ago (November 14th). Brings back fond memories!
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2 weeks ago

The sky is a crystalline azure this morning as we circle the Place de la  République on our way out of town.  I was just here yesterday afternoon but it has a much different air under this morning’s sky.

A sunny Place.
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Lions and pigeons.
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Our ride breaks neatly into two halves today.  We begin the first half by crossing the Petit Rhone just past leaving Arles, at a point just south of its split from the primary channel of the Rhone.  We recognize this beautiful bridge because we crossed it just a half a year ago riding from Lunel to Tarascon.

Recrossing the Petit Rhone on the Pont du Fourques. It’s a double-recross for us - we crossed the Petit Rhone just yesterday on our way to Saintes-Maries; and we crossed this specific bridge just seven months ago.
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For the next twelve miles we bike pretty much straight north, up the wedge of land between the Rhone and Petit Rhone.  These miles are an exact repeat of the end of our route to Tarascon in April.  It is odd to bike the same road again, recognizing occasional landmarks and highlights here and there.  It has a quite different feel today though, and isn’t quite as enjoyable.  For one thing, it’s autumn rather than spring.  Back then everything was bright and vibrant with the colors of spring.  I was surprised to reread that post and be reminded of how colorful it all was then.  For the other, we’re biking into a 15 to 20 mph headwind that keeps us head down grinding out the miles until we finally reach Beaucaire and the Rhone.

The Petit Rhone again.
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This isn’t our route, it’s just an attractive driveway to an estate that I felt worth taking a shot of.
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These still shots are misleading because they don’t show the unrelenting ferocity of the wind we’re pushing into. Today’s video gives a better feel for it.
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Rounding a bend, Rachael enjoys a brief respite from the wind. I like how the arch of her back aligns with the roadside reeds bent away from the wind.
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Closing in on Mont Ventoux. We’re still looking up the long trough we viewed days ago from the far side of Le Grande-Motte.
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Wind turbines and the windy mountain. Another photo that would be better as a video so you could see those blades flying.
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I took a photo at this spot last spring also. It looks even better in the fall.
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It’s startling to come across this sight again, seven months later. Last time I had difficulty identifying it and needed help from a commenter. Much easier this time because I can just look it up on the old post (thanks again, Bob!): “ The Gothic Oratoire Croix Ouverte is a triangular open chapel that shelters a Cross.Built in the late 14th century, it is one of 4 remaining, all located in the south of France.Legend has it that it replaces a modest chapel that temporarily sheltered the remains of King St. Louis who died of the plague off the coast of Tunis during the 8th Crusade.It was listed Historical Monument in 1904.Source: https://www.travelfranceonline.com/beaucaire-medieval-castle-town-and-fair/”.
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Crossing the Rhone on the long bridge between Beaucaire and Tarascon, we’re reminded that we didn’t really care for this as an overnight stop and won’t seek it out again.  We did get some nice shots walking across the bridge on our way to dinner then, but no need to repeat them.  If you’re curious or forgot, you can look at the prior post cited above.

The exciting thing for Team Anderson about this crossing though is that we’ve changed directions and are now heading more or less due east for the rest of the ride.  Exciting because the wind is coming from our side now and even seems somewhat abated.  It’s a much more relaxed ride for the last ten miles to today’s destination.

For just a brief moment we get a clear view southeast to the Baux-en-Provence.
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Mont Ventoux has clouded over at the summit since when we first saw it this morning.
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A new breed. Help!
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Much of our ride between Tarascon and Saint-Remy is on a pleasant bike path.
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Our lunch spot, sitting on the trail on the left watching a herd of sheep and goats gleaning along the water’s edge.
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Sheep egret.
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Just a pretty spot along the trail. After a week on the coastal flats it’s refreshing to start seeing some contour in the land again.
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Fences of giant reeds, a characteristic sight in lowland Provence.
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Video sound track: Diminishing Winds, by John Gorka

We arrive in Saint-Remy mid-afternoon, and even though it’s been a short ride, after 12 miles fighting a headwind we’re pretty content to sit around the room and do pretty much nothing until it’s time to walk through town hoping we’ll find a restaurant we like.  We’re successful, finding an Italian place with a nice butternut veloute for the appetizer and the fish of the day (lot today, served with an appealing side of colorful vegetables).  

In Saint-Remy-de-Provence, an interesting town.
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Ride stats today: 25 miles, 500’; for the tour: 1,626 miles, 91,100’

Today's ride: 25 miles (40 km)
Total: 1,651 miles (2,657 km)

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Kathleen ClassenOh my goodness. The wind at the beginning of the video! Lots of work, that kind of wind.
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2 weeks ago
Patrick O'HaraAs always, really enjoying reading your travels. Hope the remaining weeks go smoothly. I'm watching the news closely too. Hoping for a better future for our neighbours to the south!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Kathleen ClassenBrutal!! Poor us! It wasn’t all that bad really - nothing like you rwomexperienced in Portugal. Those giant reeds really whip around and make it look dramatic though.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Patrick O'HaraWe hope the rest goes well too! It would be a shame to have stayed dry for eight months and get wet in these last weeks, but that might be happening. Anything might happen this late in the season.
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2 weeks ago