Route 3 – La Bastide to Arcachon


From the Cevennes to the Atlantic, via Robert Louis Stevenson’s donkey trail, the Tarn Gorges, the Lot and Sauternes.  About 710km.  May 2011

By train up into the wilds of the Massif Central, as far as the highest stop on the Cévenol line, La Bastide Puylaurent; on our bikes from there over the Mont Lozère, down the Tarn as far as Albi, up to the Lot, across to Sauternes and finally in great heat to the bay of Arcachon.

Reaching the start took us ages – via a ferry from Dover and an overnight stay in Calais – but an early start from St Pancras could see you in La Bastide for supper (such as it might be).  Once we got going, and over the hills, we loved this ride for its scenic and sightseeing variety: a glove factory, a Roquefort tasting, prehistoric cave paintings, Château d’Yquem, a bird reserve and a swim at the foot of the mighty Dune du Pilat, Europe’s biggest sandhill.  Our hotel selection was good too: La Lozerette in Cocures, Le Sombral in St Cirq Lapopie and Le Resinier in Le Barp would be in our top ten.

View From the Cevennes to the Atlantic in a larger map







Ferries (Dover/Calais): P&O



Canelle, Mousse-Cafe and friends on the Montagne du Goulet. It was a big hill for them too.


A pause at 1300m

 Good off-piste grazing

 an important watershed

Le Pont de Montvert

Morally superior bread. Florac

Ispagnac: a place of worship

not recommended, unless the bottle is plastic

St Chely de Tarn

Chateau de la Caze

Causse, Millau

Domaine de St Esteve, Millau. Good view of viaduct

Causse, Millau



Beaulieu en Rouergue

a swim in the Lot: slimy, but still good

St Cirq Lapopie

Prayssac: déesse ex machina

Near Duras

On the Canal du Midi


Arcachon, front de mer

Le Teich bird reserve. Spot the godwit