Day 6 - Port-la-Nouvelle to Puichéric - France's Southwest Corner - Tandem Loop - June 2018 - CycleBlaze

June 9, 2018

Day 6 - Port-la-Nouvelle to Puichéric

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Today was the day for exploring our second major destination - the Canal de la Robine. This canal was built in the 1600s and is interesting because it traverses a bay. The map showed water on both sides of the canal and towpath. It sounded interesting, so off we went to explore.

It turned out that the ride was pretty much like riding beside any canal. The berms on the side of the canal obstructed our view out over the etang. There weren't many birds, either - maybe it was the season?

Through the estuary along the canal
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So it was a pleasant ride with no cars, but not what I would call stunning. After traversing the bay, we hit some civilization - locks, bridges, and roads.

Getting closer to Narbonne
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The bike path was not great all the way along - some sections were very narrow, with high grass and rocks. It was not a really relaxing ride at times!

As we rode, we began to glimpse the cathedral in Narbonne.

Narbonne in sight!
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Once we passed under the autoroute, the towpath was paved and riding became a lot easier. Then we passed under a bridge and voila, we were in downtown Narbonne!

In Narbonne
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We know Narbonne well, so we shopped in the downtown covered market for a picnic lunch. We knew there wouldn't be facilities for us when lunchtime rolled around.

The central market in Narbonne - picnic supplies here!
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We wound our way through town and out through the suburbs. It was a hot day, and as we left the sea behind we also left the breeze. So we were sweating! We rode north, occasionally hooking up with bike paths. There had been some recent rainstorms, and I made the mistake of taking us across some mud that had run over the path. This was the stickiest stuff I've ever seen! It took several minutes to get enough off that we could ride again!

World-class mud!
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After turning west near St Marcel Sur Aude, we stopped in the shade of a hedge for our picnic. It was getting really hot. We continued on through small towns, skirting the canal on small roads. Just when I was running out of gas, we found a small restaurant in Argens-Minervois that was open for drinks. Just what we needed!

Afternoon drink stop
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It was hot!
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Refreshed but still very tired, we motored on to our destination, the "Château de Puicheric". I had picked this as a goal for the day because the town also had a restaurant. Since it was Saturday, we had taken care to reserve in advance for both.

We walked the bike up through the small village and knocked on the door of the castle. "Young Frankenstein" came to my mind as a dog started barking wildly behind the door. But the castle proved to be occupied by a charming couple who are busily refurbishing. It is glorious inside!

Madame carried our bags inside and pointed out where to stash the bike (in the covered entryway). She insisted that we sit outside on the terrace and have some cool drinks to get our temperature back to normal. We then cleaned up and had a lovely dinner at "Chez Modeste" just down the hill in the village.

Our room in the chateau
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The chateau courtyard
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If you have a chance to stay at "Château de Puicheric",We recommend it!

Today's ride: 70 km (43 miles)
Total: 249 km (155 miles)

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