To Narbonne - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

November 24, 2018

To Narbonne

We woke today to ideal cycling conditions, at least in contrast to yesterday.  A beautiful blue sky, comfortably cool, minimal wind.  Our ride to Narbonne is virtually flat the entire way.  Taking our last two riding days together, we’ve covered almost a hundred miles while climbing only 1000 feet.  Our poor legs will go into shock when they encounter a real hill again.

Our ride begins by angling northwest away from the sea, paralleling and at times following the Canal du Midi.  We’re back on the Eurovelo 8, on another of its better sections.  We could follow it all the way to Béziers and bend west from there to Narbonne, but we decide to cut away from it sooner and turn toward the sea.

The view toward the round lock is quite different today.
Heart 1 Comment 0
The Herault is a chocolate brown this morning, and fast moving. We puzzled over the drama below, with a pair of seagulls attacking mappthese mallards in an eddy.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The view south to the sea along the Herault
Heart 0 Comment 0
Our ride begins along the Canal du Midi, direction Beziers
Heart 1 Comment 0
We’re following Eurovelo 8, or the sea to sea canal route at the moment; take your pick.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Along the Canal du Midi
Heart 2 Comment 0
I’ve been playing tag with this runner for the last several minutes - I’ll pass her, and then she’ll overtake me as I stop for a photo. Might as well include her in the journal.
Heart 2 Comment 0
This gets us excited. To the west we see the snowy Pyrenees grow progressively larger ahead of us. I think this is Canigou, the highest peak in the eastern end of the chain.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Stork! I was just thinking of these, wondering if we’d see one on this tour.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Not on speaking terms
Heart 2 Comment 0
The XIII century church at Portiragnes is built of the same black basalt used in Agde.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We added an unplanned mile or two by following this shortcut to the river until it became impassable and we turned back.
Heart 0 Comment 0

At Serignan, we’re back on familiar territory - I immediately recognized its distinctive new pedestrian bridge across the Orb.  We passed this way our eastbound ride from Gruissan to Pezenas last autumn.  We’ll follow a very similar if not identical route today between here and Gruissan, but in the reverse direction.

Speaking of the Orb, what’s the story with all of these short, one syllable River names in southern France: the Orb, the Lez, the Vis, the Tet, the Ter?  Since this is one of the oldest settled parts of France, I offer two compelling theories.  Maybe, since they got to take the first place names, they snapped up all the easy ones.  Or, more likely, they were still so primitive that they hadn’t mastered multi syllable words yet.  What’s your explanation?

The last half of the day was as lazy, easy and scenic as the first half.  We encountered only one hill significant enough that we had to shift down to our lowest gear.  Mercifully short, but quite annoying -  it lifted us about forty feet in a short two blocks as we entered a village, and then immediately dropped again.

Crossing the Orb over the new pedestrian bridge at Serignan
Heart 0 Comment 0
We stopped in at a boulangerie in Serignan to pick up our lunch for the day. It’s really an attractive small town - nice ambience, excellent bike paths.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Lunch break on the Aude. Not the most scenic, but one of us couldn’t go on any further without a refueling.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Mike AylingNo kickstands, no clickstands?

Mike
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Mike AylingNope. When you’re as old as I am, every ounce matters!
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Looking across the saline flats near Narbonne-Place. There are about 50 great egrets wading and fishing in the distance.
Heart 0 Comment 0
It is a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, but it’s still very quiet at Narbonne-Plage
Heart 0 Comment 0
Looking back across the lagoon at Gruissan and it’s ruined fortress
Heart 1 Comment 0
From Gruissan we followed the marked bike route inland to Narbonne. It’s wet enough today; I imagine at times it’s impassable without hip waders.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Jen GrumbySince you're not carrying a click stand, maybe you could carry some hip waders ... Think of the wade & carry opportunities!
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyYou’re just a font of brilliant concepts, Jen. We’ll have to bring you along next time as the designated idea person. You can carry the hip waders.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Beautiful country, beautiful day
Heart 1 Comment 0
The vinyards start as soon as there’s any contour to the land at all.
Heart 2 Comment 0

We both felt a thrill upon seeing Narbonne again.  We only spent a morning here last year, but immediately fell in love with it.  We vowed to return someday and stay over, and it was one of the few fixed points on our itinerary.  We’ll be here for three nights, long enough for a proper visit.  We’re arriving about a week ahead of schedule though - I had imagined spending my birthday here when we first started planning this trip, but that’s still a week off now.  Looking back now, I wish we had dragged our feet more in the Italian Riviera and taken a few more day rides up into the coastal hills.

Our first view of Narbonne
Heart 1 Comment 0

 

We’re a bit early, so we mark time a bit by taking the slow route into town.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The yellow vests are out in force this weekend, protesting increased gasoline taxes and the Macron government.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 47 miles (76 km)
Total: 2,801 miles (4,508 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 5
Comment on this entry Comment 0