After living in France for 12 years now I’m convinced that road engineers here have an extreme aversion to straight lines. Today I did a ride from the village of Ganges, on the edge of both the Cevennes and some deep gorges. At the top of these gorges are limestone plateaux called causses. They are definitely not flat on top, but there’s nothing there that would give a North American road builder any cause for concern before slapping down a flat, straight road system.
Not here. Every curve, dip and sweep are dutifully followed by the wonderful ‘D’ roads of France, making it a delight for the cyclist (and a nightmare for people who get carsick). The final descent back to Ganges today had an insane number of lefts and rights, mostly on what normal people would call a ‘single track’. Blind corners and sheer drop-offs add to to the fun of descending these terrain-hugging roads of France.
Anyhow, that was a good ride. Here are some pictures, with none of the actual causse, sorry.
10 thoughts on “Weaving through the French Countryside”
I didn’t think those roads were ever engineered but just paved over cow paths.
Not those little ones, no. Thank goodness for cows!
Gerry: it is a signature of early civilization when roads follow the terrain!
[Whenever I see a straight road grid it tells me many things;
at a minimum: we are entering car-centric land 🙂
That’s true, but the French even make interestingly winding autoroutes 😉
In my experience the French road engineers hated losing any height if they could avoid it which leads to more corners but less unnecessary undulation.
That’s a good observation. It is definitely true that France has far gentler grades than some other places I’ve been.
I was impressed by how far we could cycle without losing any height.
I take this article back. Just got back from a car trip to the northwest of France and after you pass the Massif Central there are some seriously straight roads. I’m staying down here.