To Sète - Three Seasons Around France: Autumn - CycleBlaze

November 2, 2022

To Sète

Another beautiful day in paradise, so we toss out our backup idea of taking the short, most direct route to Sète and opt for a more circuitous loop to the northeast.  With a pair of wet and windy days in the forecast we should get some miles in while the sun is shining.  We leave our apartment at eleven with some regrets.  It’s been an excellent place to stay and we’d have been fine with another day or two here, but it helps knowing that we have another three night apartment stay waiting for us at the end of the day.

Our route begins by heading to the nearest bridge across the Hérault, just two or three miles northeast of town.  This is the one I crossed on the sidewalk two days ago because the traffic was so bad, and I’m assuming we’ll take the sidewalk again today.  I warn Rachael about this when we start out so she’ll be mentally prepared, and on the ride there I’m wondering why the region hasn’t done something to improve this crossing for bicyclists yet.  It’s just a matter of time, since they’re obviously serious about encouraging recreational cycling here.

So I feel quite sheepish when we get to the bridge and as I steer us to the sidewalk Rachael suggests that we take this empty parallel bridge right next to it?  Yes, that’s just the ticket.  I hadn’t seen this approaching from the east, standing on the opposite side of the highway.

Yes, this is much better. Good spotting, Rocky! Good job, France!
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The Hérault, from the pedestrian bridge. This is much more like it - you can relax, take your time, and enjoy the view.
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Some rides have more about them to be said.  This is one of the others.  The day has some real highs - especially the thousands of starlings mesmerizing us as they soured above us during our lunch spot - but for the most part it’s a pretty uneventful day that doesn’t tax us too much and leaves us feeling fairly fresh when we bike into Sète several hours later.

Climbing away from the Hérault.
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Climbing into Montagnac.
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climbing east of Montagnac.
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The view back across the Hérault. The high point is Pic du Vissou, crowning the ridge we circled on our way to Mourèze yesterday.
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Climbing to Saint-Pons-du-Mauchiens. Even though it’s up, our low point of the day came here as we dropped steeply down a poor road that quickly degraded and then ended in a pasture. Nothing to be done but push the bikes steeply back up to the village, past the annoying tapper again that harassed us on the way down.
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The seaward view from the high point of the ride, before the fast drop to Villeveyrac.
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The drop to Villeveyrac. We’re stopped here so I can take a photo of the S-curve ahead, and to wait for Rachael to backtrack to the point she wants to start the video from.
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In case you miss watching the video of this descent.
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A visually arresting wind farm, because the turbines are all arrested - completely stopped, looking just as they do in this still image.
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Video sound track: Another Day In Paradise-Classic Dream Orchestra

In Loupian, stopped for lunch and mesmerized by the aerial show. Hey Rocky - thanks for the great salami and cheese sandwich!
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North of Sète we joined the excellent bike path that skirts the north side of the lagoon and followed it for the next ten miles, all the way to Sète.
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At Bouzigues, looking across the Étang de Thau, the largest of the string of lagoons that parallel the coast here. It is considered the second largest lake in France. Opposite is Mount Saint-Clair, with Sète curving around and behind it’s left shoulder. But what are those grids in the lagoon?
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The grids are elevated platforms for cultivating oysters suspended from them in sacks. The photo was scraped from an article about the oyster industry in Bouzigues.
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Suzanne GibsonOh, I hadn't read further when I made my comment. Yes, oyster beds.
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3 weeks ago
Two for Susan.
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It’s wonderful having the zoomer back! These are on the far side of the lagoon and would look like nothing with the other camera. With this one I can see the odd way they seem to be plowing up the ground with the upper side of their beaks, with their mouths open. I wonder how this works? Sorry the video is so jerky.
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We arrived in Sète around three, excited to check out or new digs but disappointed once we see them.  The space is tiny!  One squarish room with a small attached bathroom.  It’s reasonably well furnished, with a fridge, induction burner, microwave, and washer; and there’s a covered deck that works well for stacking the bikes.  But it’s very cramped, and we’ll get claustrophobia if we’re housebound hiding out from the rain for the next two days.  We were so spoiled by our spacious quarters in Pézenas.

Sète is a large, busy place - a real city, and probably the largest place we’ve stayed since Angouleme.  It has a wealth of restaurants in easy walking distance to choose from, but we decide on Thai in honor of a good Thai-loving friend whose birthday is today.  Happy birthday, Thai-guy!

Oh, and one last note before we leave you for the day: Sète is pronounced with two syllables, almost equally weighted - sort of the way a Bostonian might pronounce setter.  Its original spelling was Cette, in case that helps you remember.

In Sète.
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I was intrigued by the shadow cast by that tree on the opposite building, until Rachael noted that it’s strangely static, not changing position as we walked along.
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Not so spacious.
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Amber StarfireHow do you embed your RidewithGPS route?
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3 weeks ago
Amber StarfireTo Amber StarfireNever mind - I figured it out. I just couldn't do it with the iPhone app. Must have a computer.
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3 weeks ago

Ride stats today: 31 miles, 1,700’; for the tour: 1,470 miles, 87,900’

Today's ride: 31 miles (50 km)
Total: 1,469 miles (2,364 km)

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Amber StarfireIt may have been an uneventful day, but wonderful photos and videos!
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3 weeks ago
Kathleen ClassenI am doing some catch up after a much more difficult run in with Covid than I anticipated. Your day looked amazing from this side of the pond.
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3 weeks ago
Janice BranhamFascinating to watch the birds.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Janice BranhamThey put on a fantastic show, alright. The longer and more closely you watch, the better it gets.
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3 weeks ago