Cycle in France, Aveyron!
Lucky me…I’ve been invited, kind of last minute because someone had to drop out, on a cycling trip in France with Discover France, a very well respected firm that’s been around for 20+ years. They are testing out a new tour in the Aveyron region in my adopted homeland. Actually its quite funny that I actually know the little-known area quite well, as my sister has had a home there for over 20 years. Its a region that is finally being discovered by non-French tourists because it’s unspoiled and has a huge number of Plus Beaux Villages de France (most beautiful villages in France). But to cycle in France, in the Aveyron is completely new to me.
I’ll be flying over via Air France and luckily we’ll be hitting other areas in the region that I’ve not seen and some I’m happy to go back to. We start in Toulouse which is a stunning red bricked city that feels both Spanish and French at the same time, many of its buildings date back 1000 years or more. The street signs are in both Occitane and Française. However we won’t stay long as almost immediately we’ll depart to begin biking on the deliciously flat Canal de Garonne to Montauban.
The next day we’ll be going to St. Antonin de Noble
which looks stunning and a place I’ve not heard of and then ending up in Najac which I visited so long ago that I can’t really remember it.
The last day we’ll visit Cordes-sur-Ciel a stunning medieval town which I’ve been to many times but we’ll be visiting the sugar and chocolate factory which I’ve never done and I will be tasting a LOT despite the strict diet I’ve been on. I figure I will have burned a few calories by that point riding over 115 kilometers during the previous days, don’t you think?
My husband had to hide his laughter when I told him I was joining this trip. He’s seen me flip over a bike in the hills of North Vietnam and wipe out in much less rigorous circumstances – so he’s imploring me to bring padding for all possible affected areas. I am not what you’d call terribly athletic but heck if cycling in France can help me get in shape, I’m in.
My worries are: blisters, exhaustion, aches, pains, wipe-outs and embarrassing myself amongst my fellow bikers. I’m joining a cute couple who are foodies from the South called Kevin and Amanda and a real adventure dude from Brooklyn called Erik from the Global Trip. And Tiphaine from ATout France, the French Tourism Bureau will be with us and she is lovely and trim, being French and all. They’ve assured me there is a van, and my bike has an electric component to it that I can flick on for a little assistance when a hill is approaching. Wish me luck.
I am very excited however to sit down to some delicious Aveyronaise meals after a day’s worth of exercising. Guilt-free-French food devouring….this sounds tremendous. And the food in the Aveyron is sublime; steak with roquefort sauce, foie gras and more foie gras, fresh grown vegetables from the region and the best of all, aligot.
If you’ve not hear of aligot you need to find out about this delicious wonder, its basically whipped mashed potatoes stirred together with tomme cheese from the region and a little garlic. This is food of the gods.
Follow along via instagram, twitter and facebook from Monday June 22 to Friday June 26th, 2015 using the hashtag #CycleinFrance to see what we discover along the way and please pray for me that I come back alive and perhaps a little more svelte!