My best friend in Carcassonne : My bike
Yesterday, the Tour de France arrived in Carcassonne, tumbling from the Montagne Noire, with the colorful colors of its peloton and its legendary caravan. The city had organized things well, we could see them on a rather long journey. It must be said that it is used, the Tour de France regularly goes to Carcassonne, between the south of the Massif Central and the mythical passes of the Pyrenees. Carcassonne and its surroundings are the country of cycling!
Along the Canal du Midi, of course, but also a set of valleys, mountains and small passes that I would like to introduce. Superb shows around the medieval city of Carcassonne, at the price of efforts quite modest, in short.
The Accueil Vélo label is developed in Carcassonne, you can choose an accommodation that knows how to receive the cyclist and his mount. The Municipal Tourist Office of Carcassonne is also labeled, and gives more advice.
The trip that I present here lasted 1h30 to 2 hours for the occasional cyclist that I am. It's an easy record to beat!
To avoid the hot weather of late July, I left around 8:00 am from my hotel Carcassonnais to reach, south of the city, the D42, towards Palaja, 8km. In the village, I followed the road that joins Fajac-en-Val, Col du Poteau, and regular slopes of 5 to 6%. The landscape unfolds as the climb, in these foothills of the Corbières.
I meet a car barely, rolling at a slow pace, and four or five cyclists. The traffic is almost zero, only my breathing is heard in the round.
She did not disturb a young fawn sheltered in the side of the road. The inhabitants of the place are very quiet! The fawn stands motionless, then grazes clover blossoms again. Without touching him, I check that he is not hurt, photograph him, and then leave him to his walk.
At 413 meters above sea level, the Col du Poteau opens on a double landscape, towards the Black Mountain and the plain of Carcassonne, and on the other side on the blue of the Pyrenees. I give up my bike to go up to the lookout. The effort is well paid by a 360 ° panorama.
Tipping in the descent on the south side, the vegetation is slightly drier than the north of the pass, but it remains beautiful, very varied.
Down the valley, in the hamlet of Mas des Cours, I turn right on the D60 towards Villefloure. Still no cars in sight, except the van of a producer of goat cheeses.
The road is winding but not steep; it is the famous "false dish". "The fried egg" as pronounced by the champion Laurent Jalabert in his comments of the Tour de France, with his accent of the Black Mountain.
In Villefloure, turn right on the D60, and the steep path is sharp. The road quickly returns to more bearable slopes. The descent envelops the Domaine de Gourgounet, goes back a little further to reach the Col du Castel and its scents of scrubland.
The efforts are almost complete, in the descent, I see between two pines, at the turn of a few turns, the course of the Bottle of Bottles. In Cazilhac, I return to the D42 and return to the medieval city, enjoying its permanent show.