To Arcambal - You lead me away from home, just to save you from touring alone - CycleBlaze

April 29, 2022

To Arcambal

We had an early start today with an 08:30 train to  Cahors, a small town  about 6 hours south of Paris.   The weather in Paris this morning was overcast and a bit cool as we took turns manuvering our now fully loaded  bikes into the one bike one person elevator and out to the street. The Mercure is not at all flashy and has minimal boutiqueness to it, but it was comfortable and satisified our purpose. We found that the ability to keep our bikes close by and prepare them in our room at the beginning of our travel to be a real bonus. We also enjoyed the  La Fayette area.

We retraced our riding route from yesterday along the Saint-Martin canal. It was much quieter at 07:30 with few cyclists out yet. We were moving quickly as we passed a large market just setting up for the day. We were disappointed to miss the market as they are always a treat to explore. We made it to Austerlitz station in record time and proceeded to put the bikes into their travel bags.  A necessary step as Scott could not remember if he added bikes to the tickets or even if bikes were permitted on this train.  To avoid any chance of an issue we folded them and stored them in their bags. We do know that folding bikes in travel cases are permitted on all trains at no additional cost.

Taking a train always creates some anxiety and we have been foiled in the past trying to negotiate train stations. But the  boarding process today went relatively smoothly after a false start where we  loaded the bags into the wrong car -  before discovering we were in car 5 and not car 8 as noted on our tickets. The train to Cahors is an Intercités route and very popular and our train was completely sold out, as was the earlier departure.  We are glad that we bought our tickets before leaving home. That is something we often hesitate to do as it limits flexibility should changes to our travel plans be required.  Masks are still mandatory on all trains, but for many wearing then correctly is less important.

We find it fun to ride the train and splurging for 1st class  is very worth it. After eight short stops and almost six hours later we arrived in Cahors. We travelled through here in 2018 and thought a quick tour to the historic center and the Valentré Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site,  were in order before leaving the medieval city. Our final destination was just a short eight kms east along the Lot River. We had chosen the small village of Arcambel to spend the night  for no particular reason other than we wanted to ride a distance and move beyond Cahors before heading south. 

A boat tour on the Lot River admiring the Valentre Bridge from a different perspective than ours.. Around Cahors, the Lot is a substantial river.
Heart 5 Comment 0
The Valentré Bridge, a majestic medieval bridge built in the 14th century (from 1308 to 1378), is one of the most remarkable bridges in southern France,
Heart 6 Comment 0
Crossing the Lot.
Heart 2 Comment 0
From the road on route to Arcambal you can see this castle. It is the Château du Bousquet, a privately owned castle dating back to the 11th century.
Heart 7 Comment 0

Arcambal turned out to be a great choice. As we entered the village we recognized that we had passed through here on route to the tourist mecca Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, reported as   one of the most beautiful villages in France. Arcambal is a typical small French village with a church that holds services twice a month and a boulangerie  offering wood oven baking that is open twice a week.  Unfortunately the bakery was not open on Friday!  

We stopped at the local restaurant and had an afternoon refreshment in the sun. Although we could not see our Chambre d'Hôtes,  we knew it was close by, after all, it is a village of less than 1000 people. In fact it is the only place to stay in Arcambal. So, one church, one restaurant, one baker and one place to sleep and each was certainly of the finest quality. 

Stopped for a beer and came back for dinner. Kind of had to as it is the only establishment in Arcambal. It was a great place!
Heart 6 Comment 0
The Church of Saint-Antoine d'Arcambal built in the 16th century but several renovations in later years.
Heart 5 Comment 0

After some discussion with our restaurant host, we thought they may only serve until 7 pm. But, arriving early we discovered that they open for dinner at 7pm. This makes sense as dinner is often served later in Europe compared with North American standards. The extra time provided an opportunity for a stroll up a steep hill to the center of the village. Our cycling route tomorrow will have us ride up  the same short, steep hill. Best get it out of the way early!

Our bike storage at Chambre d'Hôtes les 3 Cochons d'Olté.
Heart 5 Comment 0
The view from our room. Arcambal is very rural and located in between two key tourist centers - Cahors and Saint-Cirq-Lapopie.
Heart 4 Comment 0

Returning to the very well reviewed restaurant - Les Aromates - we were provided with a chalkboard menu. Our French is quite poor but it was fun deciphering the hand written menu to the best we could figure out in English. Our dinner was  delicious. We both laughed at our complete mangling of the dessert translation. We thought it might be some fresh cheese and turned out to be strawberries baked in fresh cream. Unbelievably delicious!. Sorry for the lack of photos. I will have to get more into the practice of taking the foody pics but for now you will just have to take our word that it looked as good as it tasted.

Our dinner menu.
Heart 4 Comment 0

After dessert it was just a short walk home and the end of a great day one with many more to come!

Today's ride: 11 km (7 miles)
Total: 11 km (7 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 11
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Suzanne GibsonWhat a beautiful start!
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonLooks like a great place to stay. We’ll keep it in mind when we come back through in the fall.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago