Toulouse to Narbonne – Day 2

I woke up this morning to a howling easterly that was honestly disturbing. I am sure the hotel lady thought I was nuts, just staring out onto the canal, watching the trees bend. It was also freezing cold – 2 or 3 degrees when I started out. But it wasn’t raining, so I didn’t have a real good excuse to not at least give it a try. So, after wolfing down as much baguette as I could I cycled out of Castelnaudary. This is the ‘port’, which is actually part of the Canal du Midi. In better weather, Castelnaudary is a major stop for pleasure craft on their way up/down the canal.

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A few kilometers out of town I ran across the headquarters of the French Foreign Legion. They must have a lot of foreigners there because it took me a good 10 minutes to cycle past the compound!

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The wind was strong, but at least consistent. I made around 15 km an hour in the morning I think, and made it to the incredible (from a distance) walled city of Carcassonne for lunch. Here are a couple of shots of the exterior, just because everything inside is either a crepes restaurant or gift shop.

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While I was drinking my ‘vin chaud’ in Carcassonne it was actually snowing outside. The guy who made my panini thought I was nuts to be going all the way to Narbonne, and I admit to contemplating how easy it would be to just hop on the train down the hill and be home in Montpellier by tea/beer time…but it still wasn’t raining and I own these hi-tech shirts for a reason, right? So, I pushed off into the wind again.

And then it started raining, of course.

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I’ve got the upper body covered when it comes to rain, but I never bought any Gore-tex pants/boot covers since I thought that it hardly ever rains in the south of France. The result was freezing wet legs, and after a while, freezing wet feet. But since I was wet I figured I’d just keep moving and suffer the rest of the afternoon. But it wasn’t all bad. It rained intermittently, and I cycled through some nice wine country. This is Corbieres, a region that produces a dark, earthy wine, with little subtlety, much like the country it is grown in.

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The afternoon was long, but the wind died down a little, so it just remained wet and cold. I slowly made my way towards Narbonne, snapping this photo of…something, in the hills west of the city.

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Around 5:30 pm I got to the hotel, which meant I’d been riding non-stop (except for my 30-min lunch) for about 8 hours – about 7.5 too many!

The next morning I woke up, had breakfast, oiled my chain, and took a look out the front door of the hotel for about half a second before deciding this trip was over. It was raining quite hard (for the south at least) and still freezing, so I hopped on the bike and rode the 500 meters to the train station and a warm, dry TGV all the way home.

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3 thoughts on “Toulouse to Narbonne – Day 2

  1. Hey Gerry,

    So how did you manage the bike, sans sac, onthe TGV?

    Also would you recommend this hotel?

    You may not see this, it’s an aged post, so I will also email.

    I fly Thursday, very psyched, not totally ready.

    Suze

    • I was just about to tell you that I didn’t take the TGV, but upon re-reading the article, it seems I did! I’m assuming I bought a space for it when I got the ticket in Narbonne (10 Euros) – it being very low season, I guess there was no problem getting a space. Or I might have had my bike bag with me (although I doubt it). Good question.

      We’ve shortened our plans for Spain, but will still be there until the 22nd, so probably won’t be able to catch up unfortunately. I’ll be checking your blog to see where you are in the world along the way. The weather has just taken a turn for the cooler here, so you might have excellent cycling weather with a little luck (assuming you like 26 better than 36!). Have a great trip!

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