I’ve had the pleasure of welcoming musician friend Jonathon for the end of my stay here. Here for just three days, he hired a very rideable bike from Vélodrôme for just 54€ for these days, and it’s given me the pleasure (as ever) of thinking where to take someone who is new to the area.
Yesterday’s first ride was up the Roanne Valley and back via Saoû forest. Today was going to be the loop to Mens via the cols de Menée and Grimone, but Grimone is closed for maintenance, so with a clear Vercors, we headed up the Col de Rousset for the loop via Col de la Battaille. A misty start in Die quickly led to blue skies just after the lavender fields of Chamaloc. And then I kicked myself for not having taken my Sony HX50, as the colours of the trees were astounding. So the few pictures that follow were taken on my phone.
And then tomorrow is the day of departure for both of us. I’ll be back at New Year.
… I genuinely do wonder if there’s anywhere in the world more beautiful than where I’m lucky enough to spend chunks of my time.
Yes, I’m well aware that such things are subjective, but when the weather and scenery combine like they often do here, it’s impossible to ignore the beauty in all directions.
My evidence? Well, after an early energetic ride over the cols de Prémol, Tourettes and Carabès, cycling friend Jérôme had to dash back in his car, while I took the slow way back, en vélo, via the back roads between St Roman and Laval d’Aix. And in those few kilometres, I took a few roadside snaps…
Yesterday’s shortish ride was beautiful, under variable skies and watery sunshine, after a very misty start to the day. Today started bright and very cool (just 3.7C), so after a trip to the market to stock up on provisions (and to allow the sun to warm the air somewhat), a decent ride was called for, to see more of the wonderful autumnal colours. Today’s sunshine was utterly different: gone was the watery light, and in its place an intense clarity, which gave even more depth to the autumnal hues all around.
I’ll have to admit that the ride wasn’t quite as I had in my head: I’d got in my mind going over the Col de Prémol to La Charce, then over to Saoû for about a 70-mile ride. But I’d forgotten that to do that ride to Saoû means I have to go over the Col de La Chaudière, and to get there from La Charce would need longer than I had available today. So improvising a route, I turned right in La Motte Chalancon to go back via Chalancon and St-Nazaire-le-Désert, and what a treat that gave me. I’ve only done that road the other way, and it was every bit as enjoyable this way, and perhaps even more so with the lovely late afternoon autumnal light.
All in all, it was a great, albeit accidental route of 75 miles. It’s one I think I’ll be doing again.
Despite just six weeks having passed since my last stay here, the contrast in temperatures and colours is marked. I think this is my coollest autumn here so far (the woodburner was lit immediately on arrival), and the trees are mostly well on their way to winter.
On my first ride of this stay (a standard Luc and Châtillon loop), the summer’s grape-laden vines and walnut-laden trees are now relieved of their fruits, and their leaves falling. The warm sun has turned to a cool and watery version, and the tourist bustle of the summer is but a memory. And a lovely ride it was too. It’s good to be back.
Here I am again – after a very civilised journey yesterday (as usual by bike, plane, train, train and feet), I find Die in distinctly autumnal colours. My maximum/minimum thermometer showed the lowest temperature since scorching August to have been 4.5C, with the result being some stunning colours after the lush greens of the summer.
You’ll get plenty of photos of those colours in due course. For now, just one photo, of an autumnal Glandasse.