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Die in France....

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  • narbsnarbs Posts: 639
    Brian, is there good riding between you and Nyons? Just started a thread about rides near Avignon but could easily drive as far north from our base to Nyons if you would recommend it.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    narbs wrote:
    Brian, is there good riding between you and Nyons? Just started a thread about rides near Avignon but could easily drive as far north from our base to Nyons if you would recommend it.
    Yes, absolutely - Drôme Provençale is really lovely - more arid than Die, but really varied. I've ridden as far as Rosans and Remuzat, and the area north of there as far as the D93 and west to Dieulefit and Saou (good brewery alert: Marcus Bière!) and east to Serres is full of lovely roads and villages, and all really quiet. No massive hills, but some decent climbs as well as valley roads. Probably more varied than the immediate surrounds of Ventoux.

    The only road I'd avoid is the N7, but apart from that, take your pick.
  • BeltaineBeltaine Posts: 166
    A great thread this, and photo's too !
    ....I don't know why; It's a perfectly cromulent word....
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Beltaine wrote:
    A great thread this, and photo's too !
    Thanks. There's a pile more photos on the blog (see signature) that illustrate individual rides, and I've now updated the list of gps routes for the more major rides I've done, here: http://unanglaisendiois.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html
  • narbsnarbs Posts: 639
    Yes, absolutely - Drôme Provençale is really lovely - more arid than Die, but really varied. I've ridden as far as Rosans and Remuzat, and the area north of there as far as the D93 and west to Dieulefit and Saou (good brewery alert: Marcus Bière!) and east to Serres is full of lovely roads and villages, and all really quiet. No massive hills, but some decent climbs as well as valley roads. Probably more varied than the immediate surrounds of Ventoux.

    The only road I'd avoid is the N7, but apart from that, take your pick.

    Thanks, that's great to know.

    Will do a bit of planning!
  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    Beltaine wrote:
    A great thread this, and photo's too !

    It is indeed and the blog is fantastic too. It's actually inspired me and a group of friends to head out that way, staying in Crest. I've already mapped out the routes we'll hopefully be doing, the most difficult part has been narrowing the final choices down as there looks to be so many superb routes to choose from. Really spoilt for choice by the looks of it.
    As some of our group are not the strongest of climbers I've tried to map a couple of rides that won't be too taxing for them, for the bigger climbs I'm afraid they'll just have to drive the van and meet us all at the top!
    Have you any recommendations for a less challenging route Brian? Is it to the south west of Crest that it's more rolling country side? Appreciate any tips and once again thanks for the blog, I've really enjoyed it.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Crest is a good place to stay, as you're not totally surrounded - once you get further up the Drôme valley, you've got fewer non-climbing options. You can go south via Saou to some very flat plains, either way along the Drôme, skirt north round the Vercors plateau (avoid the D538 though: there are good scenic - if poorly signposted - roads either side), maybe go up to the plateau via Col des Limouches. Plenty of options for a week. BTW, if you're into history, do read Paddy Ashdown's The Cruel Victory before you go. And, BTW, the place is pronounced 'Cray', not 'Crest', if you want to sound like you know where you're going! I hope you have a great time!

    Oh, another BTW - if you head up the road from Mirabel-et-Blacons to Leoncel, pick a day when you haven't got a strong northerly - that really is a slog-and-a-half into a headwind (which is fairly frequent). And Bee's Café in Mirabel-et-Blacons does a very nice coffee.
  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    Thanks for the suggestions, and for letting me know it's 'Cray' not Crest. That might have been a problem if we were to get lost and needed to ask a stranger the way! One more thing Brian if you don't mind, would you recommend any restaurants in the area? Not necessarily just in Crest, maybe Die or elsewhere. Thanks again. I'm really looking forward to cycling around the region.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Thanks for the suggestions, and for letting me know it's 'Cray' not Crest. That might have been a problem if we were to get lost and needed to ask a stranger the way! One more thing Brian if you don't mind, would you recommend any restaurants in the area? Not necessarily just in Crest, maybe Die or elsewhere. Thanks again. I'm really looking forward to cycling around the region.
    Re restaurants ... ha, not particularly, as one of the joys for me is buying all the local stuff and cooking it at home. The twice-weekly market at Die (Wednesdays and Saturdays) is fabulous for foodies, and cheap for in-season food. If I do eat out in France, I prefer to take a punt on a menu or plat du jour where there are lots of other people eating. So I'm afraid there won't be a restaurant review page on the blog!

    BTW, if you're driving down the autoroute from Calais, the tolls are about 75 euros each way (10 cents a kilometre).

    BTW(2) - how far do you plan to cycle in a day? I'll happily suggest two or three ideas for routes, if you'd like.
  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    No worries Brian, I'll let you know if I find any worth recommending! It's the least I can do. :wink: We will be driving down from Calais so it's good to know the cost of the tolls. Do you use a toll tag?

    Distance wise I'd say anywhere between 80 to 120k. Although I will probably look to do one shorter route for an easy day if people are feeling a bit fatigued. I have checked out all your routes and gleaned plenty of ideas from them.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    No worries Brian, I'll let you know if I find any worth recommending! It's the least I can do. :wink: We will be driving down from Calais so it's good to know the cost of the tolls. Do you use a toll tag?
    No, I just stick a credit card in the slot. If you can time your passage through Lyon outside of peak times, no need to go on the long bypass to the east - head for Lyon Centre until you see the sign for Marseille on the A7, then follow Marseille and the A7 to Junction 15 at Valence, and exit there and follow the signs for Gap on the D111. Easy peasy.

    Will have a think about a couple of routes for you, or rough ideas anyway.
  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    That would be great, much appreciated Brian.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Hmm, haven't managed a very flat one, but this 85-miler would do for both Cornerblock and narbs, I think. http://ridewithgps.com/routes/6787462, though some of the route down to Nyons I haven't ridden. Starting in either Crest or Nyons you could cut across to make it shorter - narbs, there's a lovely road from Puy-St-Martin to Saou, and Cornerblock, here's a shorter alternative cutting out Nyons http://ridewithgps.com/routes/6787489 - again, not all roads I know, but I can't see any of them being unpleasant. There is a bit of a drag near the end after Puy-St-Martin, but that's pretty unavoidable.

    Oh, another cut-though would be the road from Bourdeaux to Dieulefit - a sharpish pull up from Bourdeaux, but a lovely descent back down to Dieulefit.
  • narbsnarbs Posts: 639
    Hmm, haven't managed a very flat one, but this 85-miler would do for both Cornerblock and narbs, I think. http://ridewithgps.com/routes/6787462, though some of the route down to Nyons I haven't ridden. Starting in either Crest or Nyons you could cut across to make it shorter - narbs, there's a lovely road from Puy-St-Martin to Saou, and Cornerblock, here's a shorter alternative cutting out Nyons http://ridewithgps.com/routes/6787489 - again, not all roads I know, but I can't see any of them being unpleasant. There is a bit of a drag near the end after Puy-St-Martin, but that's pretty unavoidable.

    Oh, another cut-though would be the road from Bourdeaux to Dieulefit - a sharpish pull up from Bourdeaux, but a lovely descent back down to Dieulefit.

    Thanks so much Brian, that's really helpful. Am I right in guessing the road from Puy-St-Martin just follows the D136?
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    narbs wrote:
    Thanks so much Brian, that's really helpful. Am I right in guessing the road from Puy-St-Martin just follows the D136?
    Yes. They've now built a bypass for Saou, but it's worth going through the village if you want to fill up on water, or visit a café or the brewery.

    Incidentally, you can assume that all village water fountains have drinkable water - the ones that aren't are obviously just decorative, or have "eau non potable" written by them. But the vast majority are OK.
  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    Thanks for mapping those routes Brian. They're quite similar to one I was thinking of, but possibly coming back to Crest via Marsanne and Mirmande. Is the D57 ok or best avoided?
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    The D57 will be fine - all pretty quiet up in that corner. I just remembered that the water fountains up in that corner all said "eau non potable", and I ran out on a hot day round there. Marsanne's look like they should be for drinking, but aren't. A pretty spot though.

    BTW, the best cycling map for the area is the IGN Top100 157 http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/ign-top-100 ... ap-p217482 - though not sure if this quite reaches Nyons.
  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    Beltaine wrote:
    A great thread this, and photo's too !
    It is indeed and the blog is fantastic too. It's actually inspired me and a group of friends to head out that way, staying in Crest.....
    If you are staying more than 3-4 days at Crest, I’d suggest crossing over the Rhone and riding at least one day in the Ardeche, which is also good cycling country.

    For example: Drive through Livron to La Voulte or Le Pouzin, park, and then do a circuit La V or Le P – Privas – (Col de) Mezilhac - Le Cheylard - Eyrieux valley - Les Ollieres - La V or Le P. That would be probably 110-120 km. Mezilhac is the highest point on the tour.
    If that distance is too great or the climbing too much for some, there are several roads running cross-country between the Privas – Mezilhac stretch and Eyrieux valley stretch which don’t go quite as high and shorten the overall distance, e.g. through Albon or St. Pierreville.
    Crest is a good place to stay...

    Oh, another BTW - if you head up the road from Mirabel-et-Blacons to Leoncel, pick a day when you haven't got a strong northerly - that really is a slog-and-a-half into a headwind (which is fairly frequent).
    I can substantiate that about the wind.
    Also, when the wind from the north is blowing hard over the Vercors plateau, it will be blowing equally hard north-to-south in the Drome valley, and on any other N-S routes with a good length of relatively straight road, even the lower part of the Col de Rousset, and probably the road coming from the direct south into Crest – a point to remember when thinking about the last leg of any long tour.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    knedlicky certainly knows his routes round the area ... I've still got at least a couple to do of his! And I don't know the Archeche at all... so will be very interested to know if you do this one ... you'll be one up on me.

    The wind does bizarre things along the Drôme valley - I still haven't worked it out, as you can have block headwinds at 90 degrees or more (I've had a headwind to Crest, turned right to Leoncel, and still had a headwind!) The roads either side of the D93 (one from Pontaix to Espenel, and the other from near Saillans to Piégros-le-Clastre) are much less of a slog when there is a wind, and more interesting anyway. Though the D93 is a dream with a tailwind.
  • brucey72brucey72 Posts: 1,086
    Great thread and some fantastic photos which bring back some wonderful cycling memories.
    I camped in Pont en Royans with my Dad last year. He doesn't cycle but has a keen interest in WW2 history and loves his food and wine so it was ideal. Being a builder he was absolutely fascinated by how they maintain the houses which overlook the gorges.
    Unfortunately, our stay was shortened due to some unseasonably wet and cold weather so we headed south to Bedoin but are returning for the last 2 weeks of July.
    I am currently recovering from cancer and a friend brought me this months copy of 'Cyclist' into hospital for me to read and it has a pretty good article on the Vercors. I'm just hoping it doesn't get too popular as I always regarded it as 'my' hidden gem.
  • jazgilljazgill Posts: 98
    My son and I are heading down that way in the Summer; staying at Velo Vercors for four nights. Really looking forward to it now, especially after reading the article in 'Cyclist'
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Glad it pressed the right buttons for you, brucey72. The one thing about Vercors is that whilst it is absolutely sublime on a good day, it does tend to carry its own (wet) microclimate. In fact I only went up there once in five weeks last Summer - the average rainfall is much lower at Die (south of the plateau) - Lente has half as much again as Die, and is one of the reasons it's such good summer pasture for animals - cooler and greener.

    If you can read a bit of French, there's a really interesting old article on the contrasting climate between Vercors and Diois areas here, and from which this table of rainfall is taken:

    vercorsrain.jpg

    Yes, a couple of friends have alerted me to the Vercors article in Cyclist magazine - I must take a look.

    I hope you recover quickly and can get back over to enjoy the area soon.
    jazgill wrote:
    My son and I are heading down that way in the Summer; staying at Velo Vercors for four nights. Really looking forward to it now, especially after reading the article in 'Cyclist'
    Maybe I'll see your group around - I'm there from 21 July till 1 September - I hope you have a wonderful time anyway!
  • jazgilljazgill Posts: 98
    Glad it pressed the right buttons for you, brucey72. The one thing about Vercors is that whilst it is absolutely sublime on a good day, it does tend to carry its own (wet) microclimate. In fact I only went up there once in five weeks last Summer - the average rainfall is much lower at Die (south of the plateau) - Lente has half as much again as Die, and is one of the reasons it's such good summer pasture for animals - cooler and greener.

    If you can read a bit of French, there's a really interesting old article on the contrasting climate between Vercors and Diois areas here, and from which this table of rainfall is taken:

    vercorsrain.jpg

    Yes, a couple of friends have alerted me to the Vercors article in Cyclist magazine - I must take a look.

    I hope you recover quickly and can get back over to enjoy the area soon.
    jazgill wrote:
    My son and I are heading down that way in the Summer; staying at Velo Vercors for four nights. Really looking forward to it now, especially after reading the article in 'Cyclist'
    Maybe I'll see your group around - I'm there from 21 July till 1 September - I hope you have a wonderful time anyway!

    Many thanks; We're there over the August bank holiday.
  • brucey72brucey72 Posts: 1,086
    I really need to buy the OS map which covers the whole area. I made do with my map which was for another area and these roads we're pushed into the lower corner where the key and scale items were covering a large section. Do you know which OS map is needed?

    Ironically, I still managed to include most of the roads and ascents mentioned in 'cyclist'. I am doing a French course for the last 10 weeks as well as an iTunes course. I do speak French as much as I can but got slightly out of my depth when invited to Pont en Royans town food fete last summer. The locals did not seem at all bothered and welcomed me and my dad with open arms (and wine and beer). It wasn't long before we had all eaten and drank so much we understood each other perfectly haha. I'll be there about 23 July as long as my next stage of treatment goes well
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Brucey72, re map, IGN Top100 map no.157 is the one that you need - enough detail for cycling, and covers the whole of Vercors. Re the speaking French - I'll admit that my French doesn't often keep up with the speed of locals' delivery, but they don't ever look down their noses at you: they just want to communicate. Although all school children learn English, most of them hardly ever use it regularly, so it's easier to do whatever you can in French. Wine certainly makes words flow more easily, even if they aren't always the right ones! If you're there from the 23rd and fancy meeting over a coffee at somewhere like La-Chapelle-en-Vercors, drop me Pm, or post on here. Best of luck to you.
  • brucey72brucey72 Posts: 1,086
    Thanks for the advice on the map - I will get one ordered. You are right about French people in that area too. I got the impression that as long as you made an effort to speak French they would make an effort to speak English and a happy compromise was usually met.

    It would be really nice to meet up so will PM you nearer the time.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    brucey72 wrote:
    Thanks for the advice on the map - I will get one ordered. You are right about French people in that area too. I got the impression that as long as you made an effort to speak French they would make an effort to speak English and a happy compromise was usually met.

    It would be really nice to meet up so will PM you nearer the time.
    Incidentally, if your Dad hasn't read Paddy Ashdown's The Cruel Victory, he really should - it's an absolutely fantastic book about the Resistance on the Vercors - quite unputdownable. Oh, you should read it too - I'm not really a history buff, but reading it in the shadow of the place made it even more moving.
  • brucey72brucey72 Posts: 1,086
    What good timing!! My Dad's birthday is on 18th and I didn't have a clue what to buy him. All sorted now, thanks briantrumpet he will definitely enjoy that book (I will too, once he is finished).
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 5,132
    Get over to the Col de Menée on a clear day, if you can. I've been over it a few times now, but this week was the first time I've seen the top of Mont Aiguille not shrouded in cloud. Simply breathtaking, even when you've got used to the area.

    DSC02813.20150331blog.jpg

    Left click on the photo to see it full size - you'll see what I mean.
  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    Great photo!
    All your visits to Die and only now the first time you’ve seen Mont Aiguille not shrouded in cloud - wait till you see it, without cloud, coming from the North!
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