Lyon marks the confluence of the rivers Saone and Rhône. It is a gorgeous city and one I thoroughly intend to return to and explore properly without the time constraints I had on this occasion. On leaving Lyon I transfered my river allegiance to the Rhône, saying goodbye to the Saone.
Leaving Lyon in itself was a challenge as I found myself cycling round and round industrial estates which had been built since last time my map was updated. It was almost quite depressing; that wasn't the experience I'd come for. But eventually I found my way out of the city and headed south slightly away from the river. I rejoined the river at Vienne. What a place that is. It's simply stunning;
Vienne was the capital city of the Allobroges tribe before transformed into a Roman colony in AD 47 by Julius Caesar himself. Many of the Roman buildings still exist and are being preserved and looked after as true historical sites of interest.
Oh, and it has a little church.....
Cycling along by the Rhône for the first part was highly pleasurable. It's a wide, powerful river, surrounded at that point by stunning scenery;
The sun was shining and it was a real joy to be out on the road.
Being a Sunday in France of course everywhere was closed, so I'd already committed to surviving the ride on snack bars until I reached my destination. Not so much of a problem, but shortly after lunchtime the riding got hard. The tarmac disappeared, the rain clouds loomed into view and hills started to sprout for every angle. Passing along the river bank, reminded that the Rhône is a functional river, not just for the gin palaces and kayaks of the Saone, pouring with rain and some tough terrain. Not much fun and I have no snaps to share on this bit. Needless to say that Google maps was being treated to a rare selection of the finest working class Anglo Saxon vocabulary.....
Once I'd managed to find a road again there were three steep climbs, two smaller ones followed by a huge effort, but I'm proud to say I rode them all. No pushing involved. I may have been over taken by a few snails on that last one, but I made it. The reward for that was a five miles long very fast downhill which was particularly exhilarating.
After that, things began to brighten up again, weather wise and scenery wise;
Passing through some of the vineyards which make the Rhône banks so famous was great, although by now I was starting to struggle for water. I was saved by a fruit farm whose shop was open and attended by a very helpful young (ish) lady.....
Feeling refreshed and satisfied I pressed on, the world looking a much better place indeed. I reached my chosen campsite at around 5.30pm and set up for the night after a total of 64 miles covered. There's not a lot here, so I left the bike and tent under the watchful eyes of the Germans nearby and headed into town for a quick steak. Cooked Bleu of course....
It is quite pretty round here but the sun was fading as I wandered into town.
After a quick and uninspiring meal I headed back to the campsite, stopping off to buy a bottle of what this region is famous for - Crozes Hermitage.
Wine opening and plastic cups provided by the vendor - all good with me!
So tomorrow it's on to Montelimar - looks a trick ride of 60 miles with a few bumpy bits, but the challenge awaits the following day. A huge peak to tackle before Nimes.