A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: MKaye

CAHOR BORDEAUX and beyond : 23 to 28th JULY

Wine and relaxation !

As our journey continues we have been meandering our way North through France.
And of course this journey would not be complete without a stop at Bordeaux - famous for wine.

We stopped at Bordeaux for a few days and soaked up the atmosphere (more about the wine later!!)

Wandering through the city we came across the stunning St. Andre Cathedral, we have seen a lot of cathedrals so far and this one of the best.
It took 800years to build - that alone is an amazing statistic.

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Restoration is painstakingly slow - done by hand with a small brush.
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Then we came across the Sea Horse Fountain adorning the Girondins monument.

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The centre is dominated by The Grand Hotel and surrounds, all beautifully restored.
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There is always some form of "Street Art" - this was rather impressive.
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And when in Bordeaux of course you have to do a Winery Tour.
First stop was Chateau Maucaillou at Medoc.
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Where the vines are planted in very rocky river soil, we have never seen that before.
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Followed by the Baudan Winery - small boutique winery - very good wines.
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Quote of the day from our Tour Guide -
"Look at the grapes - growing quietly"
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L'Entrecote : an iconic Restaurant in the heart of Bordeaux.
We had wandered past here a few times and seen very long line-ups.
So of course that has to be the best restaurant so we joined the queue one evening just to see what all the fuss was about.
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Once inside we were presented with the menu - even with our very limited French we worked out there was no choice - one dish only !!
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Lettuce & Walnut Salad - very fresh and delicious with a light lemony dressing
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Followed by Steak cooked how you prefer, with one sauce only, their speciality and unlimited French fries.
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Later we discovered it was established in 1966 and has been serving the same iconic dish with their very own secret recipe sauce since.
And their own wine at a reasonable price (local of course)
Dessert was an option - mind bogglingly huge - we couldn't even think about it.

And yes we did sample some very good local wines at other Restaurants.

Posted by MKaye 08:14 Archived in France Comments (0)

CAHOR (FRANCE) JULY 22nd

Chateau to Chauterred !!

So now we have come down a little bit in the world. After a very luxurious night at the Chateau in Meyruis we had to cut the accommodation budget - here is tonights Chaterred lodgings
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(nice isn't it - I am sure we will get used to it eventually )

And now for the Bridge of Cahor - The Pont Valentre
It's a 14th Century fortified Valentre bridge crossing the Lot river.
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La Fontaine des Chartreux-
Two millennia ago, the Fontaine des Chartreux was used in the worship of Divona, the namesake of Gallo-Roma Cahors.
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Followed by a walk around the city:
Donkey cart tourist transport
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Wine making the old fashioned way-
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And that's it for the day - after enduring ridiculous heat yesterday it rained for the rest of the day.

Foot note : we actually have better accommodation, a very nice room overlooking the Lot River.

Posted by MKaye 07:16 Archived in France Comments (0)

ORANGE-MEYRUIS-CAHOR : (FRANCE) JULY 20 & 21st

Vineyards, Vultures & an amazing Bridge !

We started the morning with a very pretty ride through vineyards and sweeping bends, and then through the Corniche des Cevennes
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Occasionally stopping for a break and a photo of an old bridge
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Our accommodation for the night was the lovely Chateau d'Ayres, a former Monastery and now a B & B set in very tranquil grounds.
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(note that tourist in the blue shirt photo-bombed : again!!!)

Dinner was delicious, local specialities enjoyed on the terrace, and a bottle of very good local wine.
I think we could get used to this lifestyle !!

Next morning Nougat made his appearance - looking for breakfast.
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Then we departed for Cahor through the Terraces de Jonte.
The little villages perched on cliff edges are always fascinating. Why do they build is such precarious positions ? And how do they last this long?

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It was a fantastic ride through the Gorge.
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Warned by our previous hosts at the Chateau we were on the look out for the Colony of Griffon Vultures. They are an endangered species which were re-introduced to this area in 2001 to try and save them.
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And my patient "Vulture" waiting for me to finish taking photos - once again !
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Cliff-top Castle, amazing how they survive the elements for centuries -
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The trip would not be complete without a ride over the Millau Bridge completed in 2004 at a cost of 400 million Euros.
Consistently ranked one of Engineering's greatest achievements of all time, this Cable Stayed bridge is 2460m long with 7 Piers.
The highest Pier is 343m - higher than the Eiffel Tower.
It is a Toll road and cost 4.70 Euros = money well spent.
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We arrived at Cahor very hot and bothered after riding in temperatures up to 38 degrees.

Posted by MKaye 06:35 Archived in France Comments (0)

GORGE to ORANGE (FRANCE) JULY 17, 18 & 19th

And now for some Culture !

It is still very hot here in the south of France so we are going to Orange where we have air-conditioned accommodation and a pool : Bliss !!

The ride through included some very pretty roads with acres of Lavender and Sun Flowers :-

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and some Japanese tourists wandering amongst the Lavender !!
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The Sun Flowers were gorgeous -
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Saturday we walked into Orange for a Cultural Tour of the City -
1st stop was the Roman Theatre built in the 1st Century and used continuously through the ages.
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Most of the steps have been replaced over the years, however these have the wear marks of the Romans
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Across the road at the Museum we were amazed to find artifacts saved from the Theatre - hard to believe this stuff is centuries old and we are able to take photos and touch if we wish (not that we did!)
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"Gladiator"
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Sphinx (some men would like a wife built this way !!)
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And the most amazing thing of all - Land Registry records carved in stone from the 1st Century -
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I like this guy Philibertus - is he Phil or Bert ??
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Paintings from 17th to 20th Century
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Guitar from 1673 !
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Outside we found a small street party going on with the Flying Nun present, not controlling her students very well.
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Gives a whole new meaning to the expression "airing your dirty laundry in public"
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The party continued with Pipers in the street
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Posted by MKaye 04:36 Archived in France Comments (0)

BARCELONETTE to GORGE De VERDON : JULY 14,15,16th

Route des Grandes Alpes

Leaving Barcelonette we condinued on the Route des Grandes Alpes - a great ride through magnificent canyons.
Through the Col de la Cayolle (2326m) to Guillaumes,
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then through the gorges de Daluis to Castellane.
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The road included some pretty impressive "guard rails"
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The road included 17 tunnels one after another weaving along the cliff edge - stunning !
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The Rock Art was also impressive -

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Twin Waterfalls -
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We stopped at Petit Point overlooking the Gorge de Verdon for a very nice salad lunch, and to watch the steady stream of cars and motorbikes.
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We arrived at Hotel Grand Canyon de Verdon ready for a relaxing couple of days.
Sunset over the Gorge was beautiful.
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Next day we went for a ride around the Canyon.
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Our Hotel from the otherside of the Canyon
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When we stopped at the Café overlooking the Canyon we were approached by a guy asking if he could take a photo of our numberplates (again !!)
Most people don't ask - it was nice to have a chat with him. It seems he has a very good friend who was originally from Sydney and wanted to show our Plates to prove he had actually seen 2 Australian Bikes in France. I gave him an Aussie sticker to put on his bike - he was thrilled.
(I nicknamed him Skippy)
Skippy on his KTM -
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We continued on to the little village of Trigance which has a Castle/Fortress towering over it. We endeavoured to walk to the top but as the temperature was in the high 30's we soon gave up.
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They have an amazing security system in this town - window securely "barred"
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And please give us a call on arrival -
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Back at the Hotel for refreshments - and the view is still stunning :
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Posted by MKaye 04:02 Archived in France Comments (0)

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