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September 30th 2019
Published: September 30th 2019
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Sunday 29th September 33 miles

Before leaving Sault it was straight to the Vidal supermarket for lunch provisions and a few extras. Paul confessed he hadn't slept very well for worrying about if we would get food on the next three nights with Sunday and Monday often being difficult and last Tuesday being very difficult. Let's face it Friday and Saturday hadn't given us many options in Sault.

On the plus side Forcalquier was quite big and touristy so that should be ok and we were in hotels for the next three nights which had restaurants but it depended what nights they were open.

The route was basically on the D959 all day. All though it was not busy a road every so often motor bikers would pass us on their Sunday run. The first ten miles or so were uphill but of a gentle gradient and then slightly undulating for about five miles. We passed through some wooded areas but mainly huge lavender fields. Obviously, the lavender wasn't in bloom now so we didn't see the purple colour or smell it's distinct aroma. The lavender is planted in very neat rows with gaps between each row.

Just before Banon we started to descend rapidly with a tight switch back and then down into Banon.

The centre of Banon was cordoned off and there were hundreds of cyclists every where, of all ages, from tiny tots to adults. There was obviously some event on. Most of the bikes seemed to be mountain bikes and we had passed many tracks off into the mountains.

Lunch was in Banon as we were about half way and there wasn't anywhere else of any size until Forcalquier.

Banon is only a small village but it is home to 'Le Bleuet' the seventh largest bookshop in France,. Thanks to the Internet it sells 1600 books a day. Pretty amazing for a small village in the mountains.

From Banon there was a downhill trend for many miles mainly through forests with large rocky cliffs at the side.

The last four miles were upwards but not too steep and as we climbed we could see down into the reservoir which was very low on water. Then it was round the final switchback and Forcalquier was in view on top of a conical hill with its octagonal chapel perched right on top. So it was up into the centre and straight to a restaurant for an ice cream and orange juice. We asked a young waitress if they were open on Sunday evening and she said she didn't know as it was only her second day working there. She went to ask and came back to say that it was open from seven o'clock till half past eight. She said that she had spent a year living in New Zealand and that is where she had learnt how to speak English. Great news, we had food on a Sunday evening. In the main square there was a car boot sale in progress, which seems to be a popular Sunday past time. We had an hour sat on a bench in the shade while we waited for the hotel to open. We both have crossword/ puzzle books with us.

The hotel was very nice. It was a bit of a long winded trip round to the back of the hotel with the bikes but at least they were locked up safely for the night.

Later we went back to the same restaurant and enjoyed a very nice meal sat outside.


Tot: 1.418s; Tpl: 0.037s; cc: 11; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0267s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb