Fresh cherries for breakfast on the farm this morning.
We had an early start at around 8am but the heat was already building up and we were sweating by 9am.
Kris took us on a route across the farmlands to avoid the highway – this was lovely while it was through rolling wheat fields, with mountains in the distance.
Once we reached Allex (small town with very narrow streets and stone buildings) we took an unintended route which took us up hill climbs again (I pushed much of the way – too hot). The road eventually deteriorated until it was so bad (rocky) we had to push our bikes. After a few hundred meters we came across a very smart house with amazing views. The road was marginally better on the other side. This road meandered on and on – shocking road, lovely houses, awesome views. Even though we were a bit off track in retrospect this was the best part of our ride.
Coming down off this hill was also interesting – the steepest road we have experienced in Europe – even worse than Horokiwi!
The rest of the route was not as much fun, as we were on the road most of the time – not such good bike tracks in this part of France.
We stopped at Montelimar to buy a bike part and also some nougat (and pastries). This is evidently the nougat capital of the world – a fact which is evident by every shop selling it. We bought ours from a nougat factory shop. We also drove through the old city (entering at city gates).
We crossed to the other side of the river at Viviers/ Donzere and marvelled at the old ruins on the top of the hills and cliffs next to the Rhone. Also some very nice cable suspension bridges. At Pierrelatte we found the tourist office closed till 2.30pm (from 12.30 – we find it curious how many businesses just close for large chunks of the day here), so we crossed the river again and went on to Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux, by which time their tourist office was open. In all we had done about 75km – it was frankly too hot to carry on so I was glad our accommodation was close.
Our accommodation is in the old medieval city of St-Paul, bed and breakfast on the top floor of a narrow house. The outer houses are built into the wall and there are several gates. The old city is like a rabbit warren of narrow streets. We wondered around for quite a while looking for our accommodation until the owner came running after us – she was expecting two New Zealander’s on bikes so we must have been quite conspicuous. The house looks very plain from the outside but has a lovely dining, kitchen area out back leading onto a patio area and swimming pool. Our room is big and has an adjoining kitchenette.
Once we had cleaned up we went for a walk around the old city and found a shop to buy supper. Ended up with far to much food – bread, cheeses, olives, salami, strawberries, tomatoes – and red wine – yum.
- The Cathedral Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Paul in the old city – an ancient Roman Catholic cathedral, rebuilt in the 12th century by the Templars – it is beautifully plain inside – ancient stone walls. See http://www.art-roman.net/stpaultrois/stpaultrois.htm
- Walking around the city after 9pm when it was starting to cool down a little – stopping at a outdoor restaurant for a beer.
Note – We have now traveled over 1500km over 20 days. Our daily average is 78km.