Auxerre to Agen; any route advice or opinion?

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max
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Joined: 28 Aug 2008, 8:46pm

Auxerre to Agen; any route advice or opinion?

Postby max » 23 Jun 2010, 6:50pm

Hello,

last year I got off the European Bike bus at Beaune and followed a most enjoyable route via the Massif Central (Ambert, Le Puy), over the Pyrennees to Barcelona (http://www.x-alt.com/blog/showevent.php?eventid=25). This year, I thought I'd try a more westerly route and perhaps a less hilly one. I always have a bit of a love/hate relationship with mountains, I love the views but don't like the pain. So, I've going to Auxerre on the 3rd, again with the Bike Bus and getting collected 3 weeks later from Agen.

I've plotted various partial routes, one going westish towards Poitiers and then south down from Chauvigny following the Vienne, which a document on the CTC routes site says is pretty. What worries me about this route is that I've read that the Solange and Berry, the area west of Auxerre around Bourges and Chateauroux is flat and dismal. Certainly the views I've managed to get of the area using Google Street view suggest long straight roads. Perhaps I've gone too far in avoiding hills.

Then I've also thought about following the Canal du Nivernais south and going towards Le Puy though perhaps heading west either at Vic-le-Compte or Allegre. Would this be more intesting but without too much climbing if I head west before getting deep into the Massif?

So, if you've travelled any of these areas and have an opinion I'd love to hear it. If you're interested, or even want to give detailed micro advice, I've put the current draughts of the two options on Bikely. The Westerly one is in several parts titled: Auxerre to Agen Part n and the more southerly version, again in parts, is Auxerre to Agen (South) Part n. You can see them here: http://www.bikely.com/listpaths/by/RobD

By the way not all the parts link up in those routes, they are works in progress...

Regards and thanks, Rob

aquilegia
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Joined: 6 Sep 2008, 9:15pm

Re: Auxerre to Agen; any route advice or opinion?

Postby aquilegia » 26 Jun 2010, 11:08pm

For the latter part of your route, I would urge you to follow either the Dordogne and/or the Lot/Célé rivers as much as you can. Both valleys are gorgeous, flat, and it's easy to find small roads with little traffic. Figeac westward to Cahors is wonderful.

I've crossed the Massif Central east to west a couple of times beginning in Lyon and Auvergne is great for riding with very fine scenery and generally little traffic. I once biked northward passing through Brive and Limoges to the Loire valley, and Auvergne is far nicer.

I haven't biked around Bourges, and although I recently biked to Auxerre, I approached it from the southeast. From Auxerre you could quickly join the Loire and then bike south going upriver along the Loire. (The Loire actually flows northward before turning westward.) There is a small Loire gorge almost directly west of Lyon and it's a scenic area. However from there you'll have to go westward and tackle some hills. With 3 weeks, you certainly can take your time.

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max
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Re: Auxerre to Agen; any route advice or opinion?

Postby max » 28 Jun 2010, 6:02pm

Thanks for that. I know the Cele valley, cycled down it last year from Figeac just to Brengue and thought it worth a revisit. It's a beautiful and very quiet area.

Going south from Auxerre I'd thought of cutting off before Le Puy to go south west to take in Figeac and go along the Cele again, but 'some hills' seems a bit of an understatement - wouldn't that be mainly mountainous? I think I need to try and find a valley approach if there is one, I'd originally thought of leaving the Loire at Vic-le-Compte.

I guess the other possibility might be to go to Agen via the flatter westerly approach I was first thinking of, outlined in those map links I gave in my first post, and then head up towards Figeac, an easier approach and perhaps with more chance to explore since I'd be coming back the same way.

Rob