Pyrenees July 2011: Carcassonne to St-Jean-du-Gard

Carcassonne to St-Jean-du-Gard – 202 miles

Carcassonne to St-Jean-du-Gard – 118 miles to Millau and a further 72 miles for Kyle’s group and 77 miles for Phil’s group onto St Jean du Gard

The overall plan after Arreau had been to work our way East so we could see both the Millau Bridge and Mont Ventoux. This had lead to us booking the Hotel La Corniche des Cevennes in St Jean du Gard for the night.

Leaving the hotel we rode towards Mazamet on the D118 and then took the N112 to bypass Castres so we could ride East on the D622 through Brassac, Lacaune and then on the D52 through Belmont Sur Rance to Saint Affrique where we picked up the D992 for the run in to Millau passing under the bridge – the highest in the world – which carries the A75 peage.

The roads were good, some with heavy traffic but once we got past Castres things settled down and we made good progress.

The whole area around Millau is crossed with deep gorges and this makes for some nice scenery to go with the roads. We stopped near the Bridge – which is every bit as spectacular as they say – to take photos. If you want to see how the bridge was built then watch the “Megastructures” programme on YouTube. It’s a fascinating feat of design and engineering. After photos we headed into Millau for some lunch. At this point we got split into two groups, Andy and Phil comprising one group, with the rest in the other.

After lunch the two groups each made their way to St Jean du Gard by different routes. Kyle’s group went by the planned route of the D809 to Compeyre where they picked up the D996 – the route of the Gorge du Tarn – to Meyruels and then Vebron where they cut across to the D9/D260 which took them down past Le Pompidou and over the Col L’Exil and Col Saint Pierre to St Jean.

Phil and Andy took a wrong turn exiting Millau and ended up on the D991 – the Canyon de la Dourbie – to Nant and then St Jean du Bruel where they took the D341 over the Col de Pierre Plante and Col de Rhodes through Dourbies and onto the Pic de L’Aigoual via the Col de la Serreyrede. They then cut across to Saint Andre de Valborgne and Peyrolles to St Jean. The views were spectacular on this route which was slow and twisty but still nice to ride.

The Corniche des Cevennes proved to be a good find as a hotel and we decided not to go into town but instead to have a few beers and then eat in the hotel. It was a another very convivial evening.

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