Carcassone to Quillan - From Munich to Spain to France - CycleBlaze

May 10, 2024

Carcassone to Quillan

A smooth day

A steady grind of a climb today.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today we are heading south and towards the Pyrenees. Our destination is Quillan, selected primarily for its location as a stopping point after 56 km. We left our B&B  at 10 am and headed in search of tubes, and had success and fun at a Shimano store on the outskirts of town. I also replaced a beddraggled pair of cycling gloves with a new pretty purple pair- to upgrade my look!  The ride out of Carcassone had some traffic so it wasn’t fun, but it was manageable. 

Jill's spiffy new pair of cycling gloves of which she has become unusually enamored.
Heart 1 Comment 1
Rachael AndersonNice gloves! I love the color.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago

The day’s ride was the tale of two halves. The first half was mostly small roads, some random single track through farms and vineyards (sometimes Komoot has a mind of her own) and some stiff but short up and down pitches, mostly going through small villages. We stopped in a tiny village square to have our typical filched-from-breakfast sandwich for lunch. There was an epicerie and small restaurant adjacent to it with Orangina soda advertised in the window, but the proprietor wouldn’t sell Dave one — they were open for lunch but no take away! So French.

Poppie were in bloom everywhere.
Heart 7 Comment 0
Mostly acceptable roads and definitely lovely weather. The Pyrenees loom in the distance.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Every square hectare of land is covered with vineyards.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Sometimes Komoot jerks us around on its selection of roads just to keep us honest. Our tank like KTM bikes negotiate these paths pretty easily.
Heart 1 Comment 1

The second half of the day we were on more of a main road, the D118, up the Aude River, with no shoulder —typically not a thing in France - but with polite drivers. Jill doesn’t find it relaxing to ride on these roads but you don’t really feel like you are taking  your life in your hands as you do in the U.S. It was a 1 to 3 percent grade up the whole 20km.   We arrived in Quillan around 3 pm to the Hotel Chaurmiere, a 3 star place, which for the price (112 euros, w/o breakfast) and the quality of our room, hit our sweet spot.

I loved the look of this gnarly tree.
Heart 3 Comment 0
The ruins of the abbey at d'Alet-les-Bain
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 1
Rich FrasierThat’s our town, Limoux! It’s a shame we’re in Italy at the moment. We would have loved to meet up with you.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago

It’s kind of weird how opinionated we have gotten about what we prefer in a hotel room.  We like a comfortable, not dumpy, bed with nice linens, preferably with a duvet cover rather than a bedspread.  A tub obviously, but I can’t count the absence of a tub against the hotel owner. Tubs are more wasteful of water and despite my efforts we only get one about half the time. (I talk a lot about my fixation for tubs despite not getting them very often.) But there is a lot of little stuff that makes for a good room; a nightstand on both sides of the bed with outlets on each side to plug stuff inro; sufficient shelving, hangars and hooks for clothes; soap/shampoo in the tub as well as shower; two pillows per person, rather than just one; a proprietor that will sell you a beer to take to your room for your after-ride tub and cleanup (FYI: that would be Dave’s need); wooden floors rather than carpet (cleanliness); a heated towel rack; a safe place to store the bikes with no stairs involved and an outlets for charging; a tea kettle in the room; a good breakfast downstairs; air conditioning. As to that last item, I have pretty much given up on looking for air conditioning since I find that often even if the place advertises it has AC, it's often not turned on, or doesn’t work well or is controlled by the owner.  This is important to Dave especially so he carries a small USB rechargeable portable fan that bails him out on a warm night. 

 A small room is fine if it is designed well; we are often surprised at so many little things that could be done that hotel owners don’t do.  It’s one of the reasons we like Ibis;  it’s a pretty basic room but it has everything we like (mostly) and they are particularly nice about bike storage. It's also great when the staff are nice and helpful, but we don’t obsess about that as much as many people do, and we often come away with a positive view of our stay even if the staff were not attentive.  We almost unfailingly feel that we got good value. European’s don’t nickel and dime you in the same way that happens in the US. “L’addition” (the bill) is almost always what we were told and what we expected with few surprises.

The Hotel Chaurmiere in Quillan is a good example of a great hotel for us. It could do with a facelift as the main areas are a little tired, and  when we tried to check in nobody was there and nobody came when we rang the bell repeatedly. (The guy cleaning the steps finally called the owner). But  the room was just right, not tiny, nice linens, outlets on both sides of the bed, a great tub with shampoo and they had just turned the AC on that day. We could park in the garage and there were outlets for e-bike battery charging. The owner sold us a beer and Perrier after we checked in. Life was good. 

We enjoyed a Vietnamese menu in the the dining room that was offered along with the usual French thing and it was a great change of pace to get rice!

Tomorrow we have real climbing into the Pyrenees and Jill is nervous.

Today's ride: 59 km (37 miles)
Total: 441 km (274 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 11
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Jacquie GaudetI carry a little USB charging hub so we can get by with just one outlet. On our bikes, only the Knog Scouts (tracker/alarm devices) and my Di2 need charging every few weeks and our little power bank does the job.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Mark LongI like your room criteria. The only thing I would add is having a queen bed without the annoying seam down the middle. We’re in a hotel in Portugal now with just such a bed but with a gaping crack. Heck, I might as well be in the next room.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago