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A zig-zag tour across France
By Eva Walters and Al Walters - (contact)

Cucugnan to Perpignan

Wednesday November 3, 2010, 56 km (35 miles) - Total so far: 778 km (483 miles)

WEATHER: SUNNY AND WINDY, SOME STRONG GUSTS

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Getting the bikes ready in Cucugnan.

After breakfast we set off eastward and down the valley (we didn't have to climb the hill again towards Queribus) through Padern, where we discovered an unexpected ruin looming above the tiny village-very picturesque. Al was very pleased. The wind was behind us and we sailed through another bit of a gorge, through dry country with vineyards, mostly downhill with that nice tailwind.

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The little village of Padern with the surprise (for us) ruin.

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Yet another "Cathar fortress", Chateau d'Aguilar near Tuchan. These fortresses were used, but apparently not built by the Cathars. We read that some of them were later re-built by various French kings when the border between France and Spain was still in dispute.

We came to a junction near Tuchan and turned south through Paziols, where we started going uphill. We knew this would be the one section we would have to repeat going in the opposite direction in another week. It was very scenic, rolling country with lots of vineyards and more hunters and their dogs sitting by their little vans with fluorescent orange vests on. On the high points we could see Queribus from yet another direction and Mount Canigou to the southwest covered in snow.

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Looking west we could see Mont Canigou dusted with snow.

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Beyond hilltop vineyards we kept seeing Queribus from different angles.

We arrived in Estagel just before noon and stopped at the Hotel Plein Sud for lunch. A very jovial waiter/proprietor bustled about the tables which were mostly full. We had house-made small pizzas with delicious roasted peppers, pork lomo-thin sliced with tomatoes and more peppers and a ho hum fruit salad. After lunch we cycled around the corner and checked out the location of Demeure Saint Vincent, the B&B where we'd be staying in six days.

We crossed a strange ford-like 'avec risque d'inondation' concrete bridge and then along a tiny road near the small river through very dry country. The pavement deteriorated quite badly, and we had to walk our bikes through gravel for about ½ km (there had been a recent washout), but it saved us 8 km on a very busy road, and was interesting besides.

We came to Cases-de-Pene and turned onto another small road heading southwest which went uphill for about 2 km. We turned downhill and went through Baixas, where there was pink marble dust in the air from the nearby quarry. Before very long we took a small road which took us closer to the outskirts of Perpignan. The road into town had changed since the google-earth photos Al had used for route finding, with more traffic circles and a bike path which took us to the river and across a bridge and right into the main part of town. The Hotel de la Loge, was in a pedestrianized area in a narrow lane with construction going on.

When Eva checked in she couldn't understand a word of what the young man at the desk (one of the sons in the family-run operation) was saying. It wasn't just her, though, because Al couldn't understand him either because of the accent and the mumbling. Once again we were told to leave our bikes in the lobby against the wall. The central part of the hotel was interesting with a large staircase and an interior courtyard. Our room was plain but serviceable.

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Our bikes safely nestled in a corner of the hotel lobby in Perpignan.

We explored the pedestianized downtown and looked for a place to have dinner. We were pleased to find a brasserie near Le Castillet that served food at all hours, so we didn't have to wait until 8:00 for dinner. Eva started with goat cheese salad, Al had stuffed mussels, then we both had a huge slab of roast duck breast with potatoes--too much. Al had pear crumble and Eva had a large dish of profiteroles--way too much--for dessert. Dinner was a bit pricey but we were in the big city.

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Cucugnan to Perpignan


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"A zig-zag tour across France" Copyright © 2011-2014 By Eva Walters and Al Walters - (contact). All rights reserved.
Page was created on July 31, 2011 20:08 PDT, last updated on August 3, 2011 15:29 PDT
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