Day 4 - Castelsarrasin to Agen: With a detour to one of the "beaux villages de France" - Limoux to Bordeaux Tandem Canal Cruise - Sept 2016 - CycleBlaze

September 9, 2016

Day 4 - Castelsarrasin to Agen: With a detour to one of the "beaux villages de France"

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A lovely breakfast in a lovely room started the day. We had a conversation with the delightful lady who runs the hotel. She explained a bit of the history. She takes such pride in the hotel - it was heartwarming to see. We wish her success.

As we cycled along toward Moissac, the canal pathway got busier. We saw several other groups of cyclists, and many walkers and runners. Finally we arrived at the famous point where the canal crosses over the Tarn river on a bridge.

The canal going over the river Tarn
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The portion of Moissac that we saw was very nice. Lots of cyclists and walkers were around. It was too early to take a break so we forged onward. It was going to be a hot day but for the moment everything was still and quiet.

The Pont Napoleon in Moissac
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As we travelled out of Moissac, we saw a lot of walkers. Each one was walking separately, spaced about 100m apart. We wondered whether they were pilgrims - on the Compostela walk maybe?

France has a designation of "Beaux Villages" that is given to a small number of villages in the country. We had noticed that one of them was just off our path today. So at a convenient bridge, we exited the canal path and took off on small rural roads for Auvillar, the village in question.

Unbeknownst to us, getting to Auvillar required a bit of climbing. It sits on a bluff over the Garonne river. We got up the hill just fine, though. And were rewarded with a gorgeous little village.

La Garonne and its plain from Auvillar
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Narrow streets in Auvillar
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We had coffee in Auvillar, then sailed back down the hill and across the floodplain of the Garonne to Valence for lunch. We found a great little pizza place just off the main square and gorged ourselves.

After lunch, things were heating up. The bike path was less shaded here, so we were suffering a bit. Luckily on the way into Agen, we found a small cafe where we could rehydrate.

Canal-side cafe east of Agen
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Our hotel, Chateau de Jacobins, is bike-friendly and tandem-friendly. We got there about 20 minutes too early, so rested in the shade across the street next to a church. The hotel has a gated courtyard in which we were able to park the bike. A lovely hotel with interesting decorations. And air conditioned rooms! Ah, the luxury!

Safe for the night
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We cleaned up and explored Agen, picking up a walking tour map from the tourist bureau. A nice little town - we will come back and explore further in the future.

The Rue Voltaire was shut down for outside dining, so we sat down outside the restaurant "Boca". Unfortunately there was a bit of rain falling, so they scooped us up and put us inside. We had a FANTASTIC dinner! Highly recommended.

Then to blissful, air-conditioned, sleep.

Today's ride: 64 km (40 miles)
Total: 246 km (153 miles)

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