Planning the trip was easy - starting with AutoRoute 2007,
France is fully covered by it,
Leaving home on the bike (some call it motorcycle or motorbike.
I call it MY BIKE) for a long trip is always so exciting. I am
going over and over in my head what to take with me and the
route I am going to go.
Getting up @ 6am, so very excited, filled petrol the night before
and packed my stuff, so just an easy ride to Dover.
Driving via Paris. As legend and experience says ‘it is always busy
there’ - don't know what would I do without 'Jane', my trusted
We don't know how to eat Cuscus;
Went for an evening meal. Happily, found Moroccan restaurant. They
did not speak much English but offered to cook some vegetarian
cuscus. When the dish was put on the table we were disappointed that
it was a bowl of plain cuscus sitting on another bowl of what we
thought was hot water. We almost ate all cuscus before discovering
that the bowl of water was in fact a bowl of delicious vegetarian
Motorway driving to
Ibis Montauban - No pictures from there or the way on the motorway
Via Albi, Caster
and Mazamet to Bouilhonnac where we stay
Entering Mid Pyrenees,
very nice road, start of mountains, ruins, castles, churches and
history, history and history… Stopped in small village
for lunch – our staple from now
on: bread, cheese and fruit. Lovely houses, ruins of some castle and
Later on from the road we
see, high up in the mountains first famous Cathar Castle Lastours.
To the market place in
Mirepoix - some pictures but do we remember it?
We take the trip to Mirepoix that holds big local market on Mondays.
It is big – fruit, veg, bread, heaps of cheese and garlic. Also
other stuff like jewellery, clothes etc. Lovely houses surround the
square. We don’t spent much time there as…let’s not talk about this.
The town looks really lovely with wood-beamed, painted houses with
their upper storeys overhanging the walkways and open cafes below.
Looks like you can spend nice few hours there sipping drinks in
cafes and watching world pass by but we didn’t….
The weather is great; not hot but sunny, October the perfect month
to visit these parts.
This is incredible and a bit too ambitious day. It is easy to forget
that 50 km in mountains is not the same as 50 km on flat roads. We
have big plans to ride through the mountains, gorges and see high up
abbeys but we have to abandon the abbeys as time gets short and we
would need another day to do it. But, what a landscape! First, the
gorge – high rocks on both sides of the road and a river floating
Then the fortified village of
nice to walk about, especially that October does not see so many
tourist; some shops and cafes don’t even bother to open. Really well
restored, the whole town is surrounded by fortifications with lovely
streets. Apparently it belonged to both French and Spanish in its
time and has changed very little since rebuild in 17th
century. Above it there is Fort Liberia but did not have energy to
climb up, instead sipped coffee and coke in the square.
We ride back through the mountains. Nobody on the road but us; up
and up, feels there is no down, behind each bend of the road there
is another one and still going up.
Tried to be less
ambitious and actually make time to go to the castle. But first
lovely road to the medieval village of Lagrasse. The road is
scenic, through the mountains, by the river but I guess after
what we have seen the day before does not made such breath
taking impression. This medieval village is on the bank of the
river, you cross over beautiful, stoned bridge into cobbled,
narrow streets. There is an Abbey on the other side. We walk
about and I like it very much.
Then two Cathar
castles – Termes and Viellerouge Termenes. We skipped the first
one but the second one was a bit disappointing, compared to
others. This is not so much a castel as a cathar for. Only
slightly raises above the village and not easy to see at first.
Very well preserved, 14th century. It’s raining a
All day Carcassonne and the Midlevel Cite
On the way back