Day 5 - Grignan to Orange - Roaming the ViaRhona Tandem Tour - September 2021 - CycleBlaze

September 22, 2021

Day 5 - Grignan to Orange

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We started out with another sub-average breakfast at Le Patio.  French coffee is never really great, but the coffee I had wasn’t even up to American standards.  That takes some doing.  

Despite all challenges, we were our the door and ready to roll about 10:15AM.  The wind was still blowing, luckily in our direction.  But it was chilly.  

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We rolled out of Grignan, retracing our route of yesterday for the first 5k.  Robin wanted to get a better shot of the lavender fields…

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But the road was really pretty sweet.  We were up on a ridge, and the road rose and fell as we worked our way back toward the Rhône and the “Plus Beau Village” of La Garde-Adhémar, our first stop for the day.

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Eventually, we could see the village approaching.  

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In true Frasier style, we took some time to explore the town.  It was somewhat marred by too many cars parked in it, but still had lots of interesting corners to explore.

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La Garde-Adhémar sits on a promontory overlooking the Rhône, so the views were great.  We tried not to look at the large nuclear power station downriver….

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The village was really quiet, so we pushed off and dropped down a couple of switchbacks to the valley floor.  On flat ground again, we worked our way across Pierrelatte.  Nothing much to report there, except that they have very nice smelling train underpasses.  Those who traverse pedestrian tunnels in France will recognize that a certain odor was not present in Pierrelatte.  If we could vote for president, the mayor of Pierrelatte would be high on our list of candidates - whatever party he or she is in!

On our way in to Pierrelatte
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In the wind and on super-flat roads, we worked our way to the next point of interest - the village of Bourg Saint-Andeol.  There was a church there that looked interesting, but we got distracted by a lunch possibility first.  We had an unintentional slow food lunch at Chez Nel, just off the bridge.  Nice people, but a bit overwhelmed.   It was a major effort to get out of there in a reasonable amount of time.

Bourg Saint-Andeol from across the river
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Finally able to pay our bill, we walked up the hill to the old church.  It was originally built in the 1100s, but was knocked down by some random duke during some random religious war and rebuilt only in the 1800s.  Still, it was a nice building with a really cool ambience.

Bike-hiking up the hill to the church
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Robin’s been studying colors recently, so this color combo sparked her interest…
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I love the glow of the apse. Sweet colors from the simple stained glass windows.
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And then it was time to hit the road.  Today was a long day for us - almost 70 kilometers.   So we motored along with our helpful tailwind, trying to crank out the mileage (kilometerage?).  We weren’t in sight of the river very much, so most of what we traversed were just country roads. Not a lot of interest to show.   We spent some quality time along the autoroute, too.

Eventually, we saw the chateau of Mornas up above to our left.  After a brief consultation, we decided that riding up there wasn’t something we wanted to do today.  So photos from below will have to suffice.

The chateau at Mornas
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Scott AndersonLooks very nice from below, I think.
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4 weeks ago

Continuing along, we passed along what must be the world’s narrowest road…

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Followed by the world’s narrowest cycling bridge…

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Rachael AndersonThat looks fun!
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4 weeks ago
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…and finally we were in Orange.  We made our way to our hotel (the Hotel Arène) and the lovely lady at the checkin desk helped us stow the tandem in the garage.   We really wanted to visit the Roman Theatre, so we skipped showers, changed clothes, and hustled over to visit the theatre before it closed at 6PM.   It was totally worth it.  What an amazing artifact of Roman history!

It gives me chills!
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We had last been to the theatre 30 years ago, so had pretty much forgotten everything.   It was so great to renew acquaintances with an old friend.

Rich communing
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Visit done, we headed back to the hotel to clean up and rest.  Dinner was simple - a shared pizza and salad at “Le Pigalle” on one of the sweetest squares I can remember in the heart of Orange.

Our room came with a balcony containing a table and two chairs, so we extended the evening with a bottle of cheap red and a chocolate bar.  Life is really sweet sometimes.  Time to sleep!

Today's ride: 67 km (42 miles)
Total: 287 km (178 miles)

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Scott AndersonSounds like a perfect day.
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4 weeks ago