St. Paul Trois Chateaux to Orange - Poking Around Europe 6.0 - CycleBlaze

May 20, 2019

St. Paul Trois Chateaux to Orange

Orange? We Weren’t Going to Orange!

Another unexpected day, and I really do mean unexpected. We had a great start to the day. St. Paul Trois Chateaux turned out to be a lovely place once it came to life Monday morning.  We had coffee and croissants in the main square, sitting outside because it was such a lovely day. 

For the first time this tour we went to bed without a hotel reservation for the next night. We decided to sleep on the decision about where to be...there are so many good choices and there was lots of availability. In the morning we decided to put the decision off yet again. This turned out to be a fortuitous thing to do. 

We explored St. Paul Trois Chateux, starting with their ancient cathedral. It really is very special. Keith went in first and I got to enjoy major traffic drama while he was enjoying the cathedral. It was fascinating to watch the Amazon delivery guy attempt to park his truck so he could actually deliver, while everyone else attempted to manoeuvre around him. It was quite a process and when he was finally able to get out of the truck he did his deliveries at a dead run. 

Interior of the cathedral.
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The truffle museum. Closed of course, as it is Monday, so we didn’t need to feel guilty about not going through.
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It is a very pretty place.
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We rolled out of town and we were immediately on quiet D roads. The riding was beautiful. We were warm, the sun was out and I began shedding clothes almost immediately. We rode through field after field of lavender and, with apologies to the Beatles I began singing ‘Lavender fields forever’. Then it was vineyard after vineyard, and olive trees.  

We had a chat with this vintner who grows Chardonnay, Syrah and Viognier if I remember correctly.
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Everything was going our way. That is when Keith’s bike made a very unfortunate noise. We were surrounded by vineyards, on a road that saw one car the entire time we were there, with both bikes  upside down. Keith’s because it had a problem, mine so we could compare derailleurs and figure out what was wrong with his. 

The scene of the crime.
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We were pretty grateful. We were deliciously warm, we knew we could walk out if we had to, and so Keith got to work. We eventually realized he could ride his bike as long as he continuously turned the pedals. Coasting was absolutely out. If the pedals stopped turning the chain dropped and started to tangle in the chain rings. It was like riding a fixie with gears, which isn’t a fixie I know, but you get the idea. We knew at worst all we needed was a town with a train station or a taxi that could carry two people, two bikes and four panniers. The train station seemed more likely.

Very shortly after starting again Keith realized the key was having the pedals turning and he could coast if he stuck both feet out wide like a little kid and let the pedals turn. He became absolutely hilarious to follow. He was managing well enough that we decided to head for Orange by bike, the only city within striking distance where we thought we might find a bike shop open on a Monday in France. 

We love riding through the vineyards. I think I have mentioned this before.
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The stunning castle in Suze.
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We did ask a group of roadies from Belgium in Suze if they had any idea. We hoped there was a mechanic in the group. They tried to help but it was beyond them as well. They were so kind to stop and try. 

A great group of guys and one girl.
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Shortly after this we  stopped to do a wee bit of navigation. Oh my goodness I don’t think I can do justice to what happened next. Just as Keith was turning his bike, straddling it and walking, I looked down and told him to watch out for the large, fresh dog doo. I was a nanosecond too late. Keith’s expletive as he stepped in the mess was the obvious one. Ever so supportively I started to laugh. He was behind me stomping his foot, a woman in a car was getting annoyed with him for not getting out of the way, and I was helplessly leaning against a wall weeping with laughter. I can’t remember the last time I have laughed that hard, and I am laughing now writing about it. Keith looked at me and said with absolutely deadpan humour “I seem to be having a bad day”.  That just set me off again, and him too. So after we both had a good laugh and much shoe cleaning we were on our way. 

Despite his derailleur we had an amazing ride. We didn’t stop often for pictures because we were focused on getting to Orange, but we took in all the beauty around us. At one point I called to Keith that I felt like I was flying.  A tailwind, sunshine, slightly downhill and a flat smooth surface. Bliss. 

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We found a bike shop in Orange and left the bike with the mechanic while we checked into the hotel the mechanic recommended. Bottom line, he doesn’t have the necessary part and it would take two days to order it. He was able to repair things to a rideable degree and we are going to carry on to Bédoin tomorrow and then we will see. It will be a lovely place to wait for a part if we need to. We can always rent Keith a bike for a few days. 

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Perhaps we could mount racks on that one in the upper left corner?
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Excellent service, and incredibly reasonable.
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We have explored Orange and it is an amazing place too. We are delighted  that we ended up here.  Ancient Roman ruins seem to pop up everywhere. 

We walked up to the park above these ruins and ancient wall to look down on the Théâtre Antique. It is the best preserved stone theatre in the West of the Roman Empire according to the Tourist Office.
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Looking down on the ancient theatre. We would love to go to a performance there. There are posters all over town showing the different opera performances.
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They are doing more excavation and preservation.
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We had a great dinner at an Italian restaurant on the main square. It was so lovely and warm we sat on the covered part of the patio...no smokers allowed there. We shared a salad and a tiramisu and Keith had pasta while I had veal. We discussed over dinner that it has been a great day. Fantastic weather, gorgeous scenery, a good outcome and a good laugh. What more can one ask for?

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Here is today’s Relive:

https://www.relive.cc/view/2382764916

Today's ride: 42 km (26 miles)
Total: 1,017 km (632 miles)

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Rachael AndersonSorry to hear about your bicycle troubles. You’re both such great sports!
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2 years ago
Scott AndersonNow this is why you should have a GoPro, Kathleen. We’d love to have a video of Keith biking along with his legs splayed out.
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2 years ago
David MathersBummer about your gears Keith. At least when you are riding up Mt Ventoux you only need one gear and have to keep pedaling. Coming down might be a problem 🤔
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2 years ago