24th September 2016
Through the Cevennes and the Ardeche to Orange
From Pont Montvert is 85 miles to Orange, so 3 short days. We didn’t hurry to get up, bought bread at the tiny boulangerie at 8 and then cheese and fruit in the little market which had sprung up along the river.
Then on up the dwindling Tarn the valley becoming gentler and very quiet as we reached the top at Col de la Croix de Berthel, 1088 metres.
Then a lovely descent into the Cevennes and then contoured along the top of a steep valley before dropping down to the Cèze river where we spent the night at the Camping Municipal at Bessège. The campsite is on the river and we spent the afternoon on the beach with lots of local people, children canoeing and swimming, people fishing, chatting sunbathing and just enjoying the lovely place. Quick swim in the clear water before supper.
Bessège is a long town strung along the valley. A good market in the morning where we foraged for lunch, then pedalled first along a moderately busy road to St Ambroix but then along a quiet lane to Barjac and over the top through Organic en Avens to St Martin en Ardeche. Vineyards and forests. They are just starting the vendanges and the cooperatives are starting to weigh in trailers full of grapes, the variety chalked on the side. In Orgnac stopped to look at the museum of prehistory. So many sites here in the Ardêche area.
Posh private campsite at St Martin, went out for a nice salad in a restaurant overlooking the river and watched the sunset. Good starry sky.
23rd was our last cycling day. Visited Aiguèze, the little medieval village perched on the ridge above St Martin and then headed for Orange, down to the Rhóne and the flat flood plain into the town
Lovely night in hotel in Orange: sheets on a real bed. What luxury. Now on the bike bus home: no sheets or beds but a whole busload of cyclists full of sun and fresh air.