Day 0 - Limoux to Vienne by car - Roaming the ViaRhona Tandem Tour - September 2021 - CycleBlaze

September 17, 2021

Day 0 - Limoux to Vienne by car

Another tour begins!

The goal today was to leave by 10AM but we didn’t quite manage it.  We checked off everything on our patented bike tour checklist, and I got the bike into the car last night.  So all we had to do was buckle up the panniers, eat breakfast, and lock down the house.  But somehow it took 2 and a half hours.  We are just not fast in the morning.

We got away at 10:40 in the end.  At least within the 10AM hour!  The route was pretty familiar.  Down to Carcassonne, onto the autoroute, and then eastward along the A9.   We stopped for a lunch break east of Nîmes, then finished off the drive, arriving around 3:00PM in Viennes.

I had reserved a place in the car park (Parking de la Gare) starting at 4:00PM, so we checked in to our hotel (Grand Hotel de la Poste) and then went back to the car to exit the car park and then re-enter using our reservation code.

Finally free of the car, we spent the afternoon poking around Vienne.  There’s a lot of layers to this town, starting with the Roman layer, continuing through medieval right up to the current day.  The current day layer seems to be mostly cars.  

This is one of the most car-centric cities I’ve ever been to in France.  It’s a shame because there are some really nice sights and streets to visit.    We dodged speeding vehicles and coughed through the fumes to see the Temple of Augustus and Livia, the Archeological Gardens of Cybele, and the Antique Theatre.  Unfortunately, by the time we got to the cathedral, it was closed.

It looks a lot like the Maison Carré in Nîmes, but this is the Temple of Augustus and Livia in Vienne.
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It was time for hydration. But how great is it to do it in the shadow of such antiquity?
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The Archeological Garden of Cybele.
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The Roman theatre in Vienne. There’s a jazz festival put on every year here. Rich is trying to scope out what it would be like to play for 11,000 people.
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Some of the interesting layers of Vienne, including the most modern. I hate cars…
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I didn’t stop in to worship.
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Undeterred, we walked out onto the pedestrian/bike bridge over the Rhône and watched a riverboat squirm under the bridge.  They actually had to take down all the railings and chairs on the top of the boat to be able to fit under the bridge!  Then back to the hotel to rest a bit and plan dinner.

Rhone with riverboat. That’s the Tour de Valois over on the other side. A vestige of the 15th century wall along the river.
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Robin picked a great place, La Scarpetta, for dinner.  We ate outdoors and had a great Italian dinner as the occasional car whizzed past.  

At this point, we’re back in the hotel.  The adventure should start tomorrow!

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