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

May 9, 2022

To Vaison la Romaine

In St Martin d'Ardèche we stayed in a small Chambre D'Hôte  that was just a short walk to the town`s main square. Incredibly, for such a short distance from town, the property had a real farm feel. There were chickens in the yard, farm equipment across the way in a shed and a sign that indicated that our hosts grow almonds, make wine and produce olive oil. Needless to say we had the best breakfast on our ride to date! Fresh eggs, homemade  yogurt, almonds, homemade jams and fruit salad amongst the bread, croissants and pastries. All fresh and very delicious.  Our host explained that the yogurt had very little sugar but to us it seemed like almost pure cream. Oh, so good on the fresh fruit! We were ready for our ride today to Vaison la Romaine. We were looking forward to revisiting this wonderful old town as we also stayed there in 2018.

The evening sky at St Martin d'Ardèche.
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We left our accomodation, À l'ombre des Amandiers  (In the shade of almond trees),  just before  10 am  under sunny blue skies and the temperature was warm enough that we did not need our jackets. We made our way to the town's one lane suspension bridge that crosses the  d'Ardèche river and waited for the light to change to take our turn. Built in 1905 it is real treat to see and ride. We then turned east and rode about 10 KMs to Pont-Saint-Esprit where we crossed the  Rhône river. 

The bridge crossing at St Martin d'Ardèche was built in 1905.
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View of the main street where we arrived in St Martin d'Ardèche.
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Between the wires of the bridge looking at the d'Ardèche River.
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Leaving town.
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Looking back at Pont-Saint-Esprit from the bridge.
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The Pont-Saint-Esprit bridge has these neat little seating areas part way across where people could sit and watch the Rhone go by.
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The next 10 KMs beyond Pont-Saint-Esprit were not that much fun to ride as we made our way along busier roads with cars focused on getting to the main A7 freeway. But once we passed that junction we were again on small country backroads amongst kilometres and kilometres of vineyards. This is definitely wine country.

One of the better stretches of road but there were not many until we got beyond the A7.
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Vineyards as far as you can see.
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Some beautiful bright red poppy fields, too!
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Chateau de Suze-la-Rousse. Since 1978, the site has been housing the Wine University, an internationally-known school which offers a wide range of training courses in the vine and wine trades.
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Our coffee stop was in the pretty town of Bouchet where it was so warm by noon we wanted to take a table in the shade. Unfortunately, this was the lunch hour and these tables were already prepared for the soon to arrive lunch crowd. We understandably needed to move to a table without place settings .... in the sun. It was actually quite pleasant and by the time we left the outside tables were full.

In Bouchet.
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The remainder of the ride was through green gentle slopes and more vineyards. Arriving at Vaison le Romaine we located our accommodation  across the bridge and in the old part of town. We have a great suite with a kitchenette and balcony at Thé Chez toi. Perfect for two nights. As we have gained a day by combining a couple of rides together, we will stay here  to get organized, do laundry and have some R&R. Our bodies are saying a day off the bikes would be good!

Our first glimpse of Mount Ventoux in the background.
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Starting to reach the hills as we ride toward Villedieu and Vaison le Romaine.
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This section of the road was fun to ride. It is warm and we are finally just wearing t-shirts.
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Looking back down into and across the valley at the farms and vineyards.
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Final check. We are almost home. A short push of the bikes up the steep ramp and we find our hosts Daan and Emilie of Thé chez Toi waiting with a welcome beer. It does not get any better!
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Today's ride: 56 km (35 miles)
Total: 482 km (299 miles)

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