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Any must do roads/must see places in south west France?


Devon

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A gang of us have hired a gite in the Charente Maritime  for a week in early September. I have a few ideas for days out: down the coast to Dune de Pyla and back up through the Bordeaux vinyards, Ille de Re or Ille D'Oleron,  Oradour-Sur-Glane, maybe a night in a hotel to do some of the Pyrenees. It looks like we are spoilt for choice [:D] Are there any roads or places in the region that are worth doing above all others?
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[quote user="Polly"]Dare I say it... make sure all your mates read this first?!
http://www.completefrance.com/cs/forums/1779119/ShowPost.aspx

If you have time, it's a long way, the Millau Bridge is a popular run out

[/quote]

 

I can't open your link Polly. The Millau Bridge and Tarn Gorge are an option if the weather isn't good over the Pyranees.

 

Edit: found link, Thank's for the warning, I drive a bit in France so I am aware of the consequences of speeding. Gone are the days of crossing France at a 100 MPH.

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If you can pick up the August 2009 issue of Moto2 magazine (French) they have detailed maps of all the rear facing speed cameras in France.

If you're heading to Dordogne could I suggest you take the D7 from Angouleme through Claix, Champagne Vigny, Blanzac, Montmoreau, Villebois Lavalette to la Rochebeaucourt rather than the main Periguex route from Angouleme to Brantome.  It may take a bit longer but much more scenic.  But not if it's wet!

Mr Cat

 

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For the Pyrenees, the Pays Basque is stunning, on the west side of the country.

Or go up from Arreau in the Hautes Pyrenees to the Col d'Aspen, then across to the Pic de Midi and over the top. Or vice cersa.

Both routes very exciting for driving.

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That's a good route Patf. 

Equally, if not more, spectacular is the road between Bossòst, Spain and Bagnères de Luchon, France. These are both pretty towns with lively eateries and bars, proximate but remarkably different in style.

The road between them will take your breath away (not recommended if you experience vertigo!)

[img]http://www.francethisway.com/images/bagneres-de-luchon.jpg[/img]

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If you happen to be near Cahors on your ride, I can certainly recommend working the D911 into your route.  I came that way, from Millau - Cahors - Villeneuve-sur-Lot this year, and while it was fun in the Alfa, I really wish I'd been on the bike.

a

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Crumbs you expect to pack a lot into a week and are planning some big commutes if you have hired a gite.

What sort of bikes have you got? What are you looking for fast sweepers, knee down stuff or some off road? There are Brit Bikers in 24 and we go out a few times a year.

If you want a day checking out unknown, interesting and beautiful bits of 24 and around with some crazy activities I can sort you out.

PM me if you want more details.

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[quote user="Dog"]

Crumbs you expect to pack a lot into a week and are planning some big commutes if you have hired a gite.

What sort of bikes have you got? What are you looking for fast sweepers, knee down stuff or some off road? There are Brit Bikers in 24 and we go out a few times a year.

If you want a day checking out unknown, interesting and beautiful bits of 24 and around with some crazy activities I can sort you out.

PM me if you want more details.

[/quote]

We hope to do a couple or three days of 500 mile-ish days at most,  a couple of days nearby:  Ille D'Oleron sort of places and a couple of lazy days doing not much.

Oradour-Sur-Glane is a definate for one of the days. I have just ordered a copy of Das Reich by Max Hastings, recommended reading if you want to understand how the Oradour atrocity occurred apparently. Other than this we have kept our plans open and appreciate the suggestions and ideas so far on this thread. Good biking roads and scenary are the order of the day.

The majority of the m/cs are Bmw 1200GSs (cue Ewan and Charlie wannabe jokes [:D]) A few of us went to Morocco last year: There is  a write up and some pics of our trip on another m/c forum. Hopefully the link is ok to put up here: http://www.ukgser.com/forums/showthread.php?t=162868

Any suggestions for routes in 24 would be appreciated Dog. Local knowledge is always helpful. You have a PM [:D]

 

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LOL  I go along with one of the comments from the link "I'd take the XR".

There is lots of soft off road in 24 and I know a local ford that is interesting.

You'll be glad to know there is a BMW dealer in Perigueux.

Oradour is sorrowful, shocking and sickening. Not sure how left alone its been, if you take a gander in the bits you are not supposed to go to they have certainly cleaned the place up.

Some of the more interesting places to motorcycle to are not in guide books and not easy to find.

I will reply further in a PM.

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If you're in 17 (Charente Maritime) there's no need to travel so far...

We're near St Jean d'Angely in 17 (itself a lovely quiet old town for a relaxing coffee) and there are great roads to the Roman remains at Saintes; the distillery tours at Cognac; Royan and along the Cote Sauvage (particularly after 15 September when the 70kph limit is lifted!); the estuary coast at Meschers, Talmont and Mortagne; the old town at La Rochelle; the maritime history at Rochfort... There isn't enough time to see everything even when you live here!

Our Gite has had visitors via the 'Bikestay' website and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

As a bonus after this weekend (the Rentree) everywhere will be very quiet... enjoy!

Edit: Forgot to add - my favourite is a run starting at about 1200 on a Sunday... lunch is a religion in these parts and I see nothing on the roads until about 1400... !

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Dog said "You'll be glad to know there is a BMW dealer in Perigueux." You won't be glad to find out that he is not very helpful and his whole attitude is not a patch on that of Stand33 in Bordeaux, but I am sure that you won't need a dealer anyway.

I find that most of the roads between Perigueux and the Dordogne river are fantastic, when there are not too many Belgian tourists about.

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[quote user="Beemer1150"]

Edit: Forgot to add - my favourite is a run starting at about 1200 on a Sunday... lunch is a religion in these parts and I see nothing on the roads until about 1400... !

[/quote]

I agree Sunday roads are empty between 1200 and 1400, but by 1430 watch out for the sloshed wandering home from lunch with the family.

Also beware Monday - Saturday the most dangerous times on the roads are 1145 - 1215 and 1345 - 1410 as the French rush home to lunch and then back to the office.

Also watch out for creamy yellow vehicles - they are Post Office vehicles and can do some strange things.

Biggest problem is fuel if you don't have a French credit card - more and more petrol stations are fully automatic and plastic card only - carry cash to pay French card holders to fill you up.

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