richard cameron


richard cameron

Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur » Nice October 3rd 2021

Moustiers turned out to be a pretty village clinging to the side of a tall limestone cliff. A rushing stream runs right through the middle of the village, dividing it into two parts that are joined by two or three bridges. Above there are two tokens of religious fervour: a chapel perched on a rock perhaps 100 m above the village, and a gold metal star hung from a chain that spans the gap the stream has carved in the cliffside! I climbed up to the chapel, just because I wasn't already tired enough after 66 km of riding. The next day we embarked on the challenge of the Gorges du Verdon. The ride actually started with a long descent from Moustiers to the point where the river emerges from the gorge, to feed a hydro ... read more
Gorges du Verdon
The upper Verdon
Arrivés à Nice!

Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur » Forcalquier September 29th 2021

After crossing the Rhone - and stopping in Chateauneuf du Pape for a delicious lunch accompanied by a glass of the famous red wine - we had a day climbing though another spectacular gorge. I think the authors of the guide we're following have a passion for river gorges! Unlike the gorge of the Ardèche, where we were riding along the edge between the plateau and the valley for most of the time, in the gorge of the Nesque we climbed steadily from the valley bottom (at the upper end of the gorge) to the lip of the gorge, just before the valley broadened out at the downstream end. (Hope that's not too confusing!) At that high point there was a magnificent view across the gorge at a huge, monolithic spur of rock. We ended the ... read more
Summit of the Gorges du Nesque
Lynn zooming downhill

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon September 26th 2021

After Mende we spent two more days wending our way through the quiet, green hills of the Cevennes. Then yesterday we stumbled into Tourist France. The first hint was the flotilla of multi-coloured kayaks floating down the Ardèche river. Then we reached Pont d'Arc, an incredible stone arch carved by the river over millennia. An awesome spectacle - and a destination of bus tours and helicopter charters... We stayed at a chambre d'hotes nearby, and had another brush with meteorological disaster. Minutes after we arrived at the house, the skies opened with a furious deluge. The thunderstorm lasted all night and into the morning. We were starting to wonder how we could avoid getting soaked on the day's ride when the storm ended (after 16 hours!) almost as abruptly as it started. A good thing, too, ... read more
Ardeche Gorge

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Mende September 23rd 2021

Since we left the Perigord, we've been following the Lot river. Some of the time we've been riding right beside the twisting river, through narrow gorges as well as places where the valley widens out and the flat valley bottom is carpeted with farmland. Our route has also taken us up to the plateau above the river valley, with amazing views across the valley or to distant hills. Today we had the most challenging ride so far. We started and ended at towns on the Lot - St Geniez d'Olt and Mende. However, in between we climbed an incredibly steep road to a summit at 1022 metres. Most of the climb happened over 4.3 km with a grade of up to 12%! From the summit we could see some old volcanic mountains. It was an amazing ... read more
The Lot in a more vigorous mood
Lynn at the Col de Goudard

Europe » France » Aquitaine September 19th 2021

We've just spent three days crossing the Périgord. We stayed in Les Eyzies, where we visited the Font de Gaume, a cave with marvellous prehistoric wall paintings. It's the only French cave with multicoloured wall paintings you can still visit. (Lascaux, for example, is out of bounds - but they've built an exact replica of it that you can explore!) We were with a small group and led by a really enthusiastic man. He gave the tour in French, but every once in a while tossed and English word or two at us ("bison", "engraving", "don't touch"). The next day we stopped in Sarlat, a very beautiful town full of buildings glowing with the local golden stone. Also full of tourists - especially since we were there on market day. And what a market! Lots of ... read more
Welcome to Occitanie
Rocamadour in the mist

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Brantome September 15th 2021

We entered the Dordogne department today and noticed a change in the terrain to longer - but usually not steeper - ascents and descents. Lots of forested hillsides. We visited the charming town of Brantome. Its old centre is on an island in a curve of the river Dronne. But the big news is that we finally got our pass sanitaire. It turned out that waiting patiently like a good Canuck was not the right tactic. The impatient Gallic tactic of submitting exactly the same information a second time led to us getting the passes in about 10 minutes. So now we feel like full-fledged tourists and will be hanging out in cafes half the day, and poking into every museum the rest of the time, as well as having huge lunches & dinners in bistrots. ... read more
Hautefort Chateau

Europe » France » Aquitaine September 14th 2021

We left our friend Marie-Laure and her family yesterday morning, to return to the route of France en velo. It was a long day through oak-studded farmland. We landed in a quirky chambre d'hotes run by an English couple, Two French cyclists were also staying there, and it was fun to hear about their approach to touring (i.e. much less planned than ours!) Today we followed the Vienne river south, getting closer to the Perigord (aka Dordogne) area. Definitely more English-speakers here. A Brit in a right-hand-drive car stopped by me today and asked hopefully "Bancomat?" (French for ATM). Désolé, monsieur I replied. We stopped along the way to take a look at a ruined castle that once dominated a slow-flowing stretch of the Vienne. Tonight we're staying in a family-run hotel in Rochechouart. The chateau, ... read more
Chateau of St Germain de Confolens
Limousine cattle
Chateau of Rochechouart

Europe » France » Centre » Chateauroux September 12th 2021

We arrived Friday at the family home of our friend Marie-Laure to stay for a couple of days. A really welcome break after 7 straight days of riding, between 60 and 80 km a day! The first few days we rode through rolling farm country, often passing through villages with old stone houses. We spent a night in Vitré, where the old centre is full of half-timbered mediaeval houses, surmounted by a truly imposing castle. We reached the Loire valley, and rode along the river and its tributaries for a couple of days. Lots of other cyclists on those routes! Two nights ago we stayed in the village where Rene Descartes was born. His childhood home is now a museum, located on rue Descartes in the village of Descartes. Here we've had a good rest, as ... read more
Old houses in Vitre
Vitre's castle
A valiant cyclist

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Pontorson September 4th 2021

The first day on the bikes! The route followed the coast for the first two thirds of the way. Initially there was a series of sandy bays, but when we got into the bay of Mont St Michel, the shoreline became very marshy. There was a heavy mist over the sea, which made the offshore views very other-worldly. We didn't catch sight of the Mont all day. This is area where huge numbers of oysters are harvested. Closer to shore, special salt-resistant sheep are raised. (Seriously!) Once we turned inland, we were riding through rolling on small roads through rolling farm country. It was so reminiscent of the southern English countryside. Pontorson is a small but wealthy town. Our hotel has a creperie on the ground floor, so we ate Breton crepes (in Normandy) for dinner. ... read more
Pontorson's tribute to the salty sheep

Europe » France » Brittany » Saint-Malo September 3rd 2021

We spent the day wandering around St-Malo. On the western side of the town the shoreline is a series of little sandy bays. Mostly locals there and the atmosphere was very relaxed. Then we walked into the Intra-Muros, the old fortified section of town. It's full of very charming 18th Century buildings - and scads of 21st Century tourists! We did find a good bookstore with lots of maps for sale, but we soon headed back to the sleepy neighbourhood of our hotel.... read more
Old house in St-Malo

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