October 24, 2013

Maps, Bordeaux to Montpellier. 2013

These interactive Google maps represent daily stages of my route, along with loop rides from a base town. (If I could distinguish loops by a different color, I would.) Titles link to the appropriate posts.

They are drawn with Google Maps because that program permits the user to publish the map directly, as opposed to publishing a link. I found it awkward to use, and will appreciate feedback from anyone more knowledgeable about maps, including about alternatives.

Here are some warnings: when riding I sometimes do not know exactly where I am, occasionally changing my route as I go along, accommodating my preference is to ride on beautiful, tiny roads. Since I am reconstructing my route, these maps will not be 100% accurate, though they are close. The major roads are accurate, the overall route is accurate, but the smallest of small roads may not be accurate, and occasionally I was on a bike path next to a major route, while the map shows the road itself.

The maps absolutely do not, in any fashion, show my routes in or out of cities. That was far too detailed for me to cope with on Google Maps.

Readers can click on the maps to make them larger, or smaller, and can scroll in any direction to get a better look.

View 2013 Stage 1 Bordeaux to Montcaret in a larger map
You'll see immediately that this map does not begin in Bordeaux. That is because I took the local train to St. Emilion, and started from there. I wanted to see St. Emilion, wanted to eat lunch there. The same day, I also wanted to visit the Greco-Roman site in Montcaret. There wasn't time to do those two things and also ride from Bordeaux. 


View Montcaret to Les Eyzies in a larger map
Thanks to Matthew, whose post and map is on Gorging on Gorges, this route is accurate even on the smallest of roads. As I mentioned above, the loop shows my day ride to the abbey in Cadouin.


View Les Eyzies to Sarlat in a larger map
The route was devised to visit St. Amand de Coly, and the loop was well worth it. I had intended to make another stop, to the east of the marked route, at a traditional walnut oil mill. But the day was very hot. Very hot. The thermometer on my bike showed 97F in the shade. Because of the heat, and because I had spent longer than anticipated in St. Amand de Coly,  I rode directly to Sarlat. I am sorry to have missed that mill. 


View Sarlat to Carennac in a larger map
From Sarlat, my route used bike paths until very close to Souillac. They were helpful; some of these roads would have been quite busy, the surface on the paths was fine and on that weekday they were almost unused. I suspected that there another bike route closer to the river, that I missed.

I stayed in Carennac three nights, in order to make longer day loops to sites around the town. But both days were rainy, sometimes hard, sometimes drizzly. So I visited two of the places most important to me, but using short out-and-back routes, represented by the lines here.


View Carennac to Cabrerets in a larger map
The odd detour you see at the top of the map is because on the spur of the moment I decided to use one of the little roads to cut across to the highway. It was lovely, but I missed a turn along the way, and ended up back on the road I had previously turned off. But more importantly on that day, had I known how gorgeous the Célé River gorge is I would in some fashion have planned completely differently. I had a deadline of 1:30 to get to Cabrerets, so rode a direct route. Too bad not to have made the time to have at least ridden the D41 from Figeac to Cabrerets through the Célé River gorge.


View Cabrerets to Belcastel in a larger map
This is clearcut and not confusing until the last bit into Belcastel. I used little roads, mostly unmarked, from La Valette to Belcastel. They were confusing and largely unmarked, though in the end after some back and forth, I found the town without problem. Also, except for indulging my inclinations to ride the tiny roads, and getting to travel through that countryside, I'm not sure I gained anything. It would be more direct to use the D997. At one point I called my hotel for directions. They told me that I needed to go downhill. This was a great hotel, more on that in the hotel list, but I have found that most people don't use route numbers. Cyclists do. So if you aren't sure where someplace is, and there are two departmentale routes involved, being told to use the departementale may not help so much. Being told to go downhill did help.Ignore the little loop near the hotel, it is meaningless except as an indication of my inability to control Google Maps.


View Belcastel to Conques in a larger map
The riding on the marked route is generally pretty uninspired. If I were to ride it again, I'd look for a different route.


View Conques to St. Geniez d' Olt in a larger map
The ride climbed (a little) up above Conques, giving good views of the town, then rode across the Causse du Comtal. The descent on the D135 to the Lot River was steep. Sometimes very steep. It would be hard in the other direction. I'm not positive that the map shows the road I was on during that descent. The D920, which follows the river, was only somewhat busy (probably much more so in the height of the summer season) but there was a good shoulder and it was fine to ride along. The climb back up onto the edge of the Causse de Severac, away from the river wasn't hard.


View St.-Geniez-d'Olt to Ste. Enimie in a larger map
 This one turned into a lovely, unpressured ride, through pretty countryside, where I took many many photos. Since I almost always get off the bike to take an image, I made slow progress. Riding across the Causse de Sauveterre was my major reason for going this route. Also, I wanted to see the interior of the church in Ste. Enimie, with its famous medieval wooden statues.


View Ste. Enimie to Florac in a larger map
If what you want to do is ride from Ste. Enimie to Florac, the route up the Gorge du Tarn is direct, and shorter. If what you want to do is see the Cham de Bondons, use this route. The climb was challenging for me, particularly with my loaded bike. With the advantages of hindsight, I would have stayed in Florac an extra day and made a day loop to the menhirs. If you have never been in the Gorge du Tarn, however, (I visited in 2010) it should not be missed.


View Florac to St. Jean-du-Gard in a larger map
This is a beautiful, beautiful ride. Spectacular sometimes, sometimes gently following the Tarnon, sometimes with dramatic views out over the Cévennes. The map is confused around St. Andre-de-Valborgne, I cannot make it follow my route. The tunnel at Marquairès is short and lit. The ride from St. André-de-Valborgne to St. Jean du Gard is all downhill, frequently along the Gardon, which is sometimes quite gorgeous.


View St. Jean du Gard to Nimes in a larger map
This was a fast ride, partly because I didn't want to be late to dinner, partly because it is all downhill. The landscape and weather changes very quickly upon leaving Anduze. It becomes flat, sunny, and more Mediterranean. Do not try to follow these maps in or out of Nimes, they are not accurate to my route.


View Nimes to Montpellier in a larger map
Again, don't follow my route in or out of Nimes or Montpellier, neither is accurate. Along the way: the ride to Sommières uses a very nice bike path. Somewhere north of Jacou, the road included repeated, tight, pinchpoints. I had stopped at one, quite aware of what a nuisance I must have been to the heavy traffic behind me, when a passing police car stopped to tell me that there was a designated bike path off the roadway on the other side. It was very helpful, as that section of road was not suitable for bikes and cars to share. It was not a great bike path, though.


  1. Great work on the maps, Suze. One tiny piece of advice might be to choose 'custom' when you make them (if you didn't already) and simple extend the map up/down more so the north/south lines fit in. Great little resource for those cycling in the area.

    1. Thanks, Gerry.

      These were made with the older version of maps, since snap-to-roads doesn't exist on the newer version. I looked for "custom" after reading your comment, but don't find it. Also tried saving the maps as smaller versions before publishing this post, so that north-south lines would show when it loads, but that didn't help. For now, they rely on viewers making them smaller, or moving north or south. I'd like a better solution.

  2. Hi Susan,
    For that fiddly route south of Bergerac, see the map for day 2 on my CrazyGuy journal (I'm still way behind in writing up the later stages, I'm afraid - something for the long winter evenings!)
    Best wishes,

  3. Hi Matthew,
    Thanks! That was a big help, I remade the map copying yours, so now think it is accurate. Any outside riding weather left before winter arrives?

  4. The bike's been out just once since I got back, I'm ashamed to say - it's been too windy as much as anything. Anyway, I usually switch to hiking in the winter months as one can cope with a wider range of weather!


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