Agde - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

November 22, 2018

Agde

We’re sorry to leave Montpellier, and we’re sorry to be leaving our fine apartment we stayed in here.  We won’t really miss the staircase and ridiculously teensy elevator though.  You’ll recall on our first day we took the bikes up in it one at a time, after folding them so they would barely fit.  We took them down the same way yesterday when we left for the day ride, since they were still collapsed anyway.  It’s a nuisance though, so when we returned we carried them upstairs 5 five flights, roughly a hundred stairs to our floor, then down a narrow, corkscrew side stairway another half floor to the door of our apartment.

Not the easiest, but surprisingly not that bad either.  Among other things to be thankful of this Thanksgiving is that my knees are continuing to improve.  I’m quite sure I could not have done this lift at the beginning of the tour.

This morning, we carried them down again.  Not loaded though, of course.  While Rachael carried her bike down I loaded all of the luggage into the elevator and shipped it downstairs.  She didn’t arrive in time though - a minute later, the door opened and an elderly woman with a cane stepped out with an irritated look on her face, with half of the tiny floor space still filled with our luggage.

It’s a long way to the bottom, especially if you’re toting your bike. I tried but failed to get a shot with Rachael in it turning one of the corners, but she’s down there in the shadows somewhere.
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To help us remember the great fun we had here.
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Wow! It’s a beautiful day here, and another five degrees warmer. The coats will come off soon.
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We have a very easy ride in store for us, mostly along the shore.  Here’s a preview:

The day begins with what must be the most enjoyable ride out of Montpellier - a seven mile cruise down the channelized Lez River (yes, this is the same Lez we followed upstream to Pic Saint-Loup yesterday) to the sea, almost entirely on a dedicated bike path.  Scenic, relaxed, totally enjoyable.

Going with the flow, we leave old Montpellier
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Looking back toward the city along the Lez
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Some wall art along the levee
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Fishing on the Lez
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As we neared the sea we regularly encountered horses, many of them the White Camargue horses.
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Still following the lazy Lez to the sea.
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Finally, seven miles from the city we cross the Lez on a narrow pedestrian bridge. We’re looking north here from the bridge, back toward the city. I believe the high ground in the distance is Pic Saint-Loup.
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As I said, a very narrow bridge. A bit awkward when you encounter riders crossing in the opposite direction.
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Once across the Lez, we follow our old friend Eurovelo 8 the rest of the way to Agde.  Eurovelo 8 is still poorly developed or completely undeveloped for much of its length, but here it’s exellent: well signed, easy to follow, for the most part separated from motor vehicles, and very scenic.  There are unfortunately no hills at all, but you can’t have everything. 

These must be some of the best miles on Eurovelo 8.
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Looking east across Etang de Vic, one of the string of large lagoons that lines the coast here.
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Looking east along the Canal du Rhône a Sète. It continues on in this direction across the Camargue, eventually reaching the Rhône at Beaucaire.
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Looking east toward Sète along the Canal du Rhône a Sète. This section is a sea canal, crossing the heart of a large lagoon. It looks so dramatic and exposed, protected only by those low berms.
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At Etang d’Engril, we come upon a sight I hoped we’d encounter: flamingos!  They’re on the lagoon in large rafts, and we bike past them for about two miles, stopping often to stare and listen to their unique sound drifting across the water.  There are perhaps a thousand birds, the largest concentration we’ve seen other than at the bird sanctuary in the Camargue.

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We stop for lunch at a bar cafe in Frontignan, enjoying a chance to warm up for a bit from the fair but cool day.  I go inside first and secure a table, announcing to the waitress that there are two persons.  To my chagrin, she returns a minute later bearing two beers!  The same thing that happened last week near Pont du Gard.  This time I just accept them both - they’re small anyway - but I really would rather this doesn’t happen again so I try to learn what happened by asking the waitress.  After some confusion, she says that she heard ‘du pressions’ (two draft beers), not du persons.  So close!

French lesson for the day: we are du persons, staring at du pressions. Enunciate clearly.
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Jacquie GaudetDeux, not du! Different pronunciations, I think, but I'll leave that comment so someone whose French is better than mine.
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2 weeks ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Jacquie GaudetOf course, there was the time in Germany I tried to order a 200 ml glass of wine (instead of the other option, 100 ml), and ended up with two of them. At least it was with dinner.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetOh, I missed that. Thank the spell checker for it, I actually know better. In my defense, that’s the part of the statement she understood.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetNow that’s funny; and reminds me of a worse time in Spain long ago, when I found myself staring at two complete bottles of wine. Mon du!
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2 weeks ago

It’s only another two miles to Sète, and then another two miles through the small city until we’re back at the coast again.  We were just in Sète last autumn and it’s starting to get late in the day, so we don’t really stop to look around.  

The final twelve miles to Agde are almost hypnotizing as we bike along the long, narrow spit separating the sea from the huge Etang de Thau.  We’re on a separate bikepath again, threading between dunes on the sea side and the road and rail line on the other.  For six miles the route is ribbon straight, before finally bending away from the sea as we near Agde.

Agde itself confuses us a bit when we arrive, and it takes us awhile to find our hotel.  We’re slowed down enough that we arrive just a bit later than usual, at 4:40.

Bikepath predator
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A Sète scene
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The way looks like this for six straight miles.
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Away from the sea the path becomes more contoured and interesting.
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And sandy. We have to watch our way so we don’t spin out in a sand drift, and occasionally dismount and walk through.
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In Agde, a city known for its water jousting events. Probably not in November though.
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For our Thanksgiving dinner, we walk out along the riverfront checking out restaurants.  We only find one open near us, but it’s a good one.  Like most places lately, it’s very quiet - only one other party arrives during our meal.  Rachael has salmon with almonds and honey and walks out in ecstasy, viewing it as her finest meal of the tour.  Happy Thanksgiving!

No turkey, but we’re in the ballpark: the sides include puréed squash and scalloped potatoes.
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My seventh and final entry for this year’s Vinouring event. Rachael is so happy - she’s tired of being embarrassed by me rearranging the table to get that perfect shot.
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Suzanne GibsonPerfect last shot!
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3 weeks ago
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Ride stats today: 47 miles, 600’

Today's ride: 47 miles (76 km)
Total: 2,754 miles (4,432 km)

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david alstonScott,

More French lesson: Just say "Nous sommes deux." You'll sound like a Frenchman and avoid the word that is easy to confuse. On the other hand there is nothing wrong with "deux pressions," maybe it is a mistake that you make subconsciously on purpose.

David
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo david alstonMerci! I knew there was a better way, after experiencing two defeats.
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3 weeks ago