Provence Cycletour 4

Tuesday 31 August 2010 Camp at Serre; climb Col de Festre 1442 metres

It is cloudy again when Jim forces me out of bed at 6.30 (or civil twilight) and very cold. We are packed up by 7 and go back to Corps for breakfast. Setting off at 8, we are very cold for hours, especially on the long descent from Corps. We travel high up on the plateau, about 800metres all the time with some undulation. All this is leading to the Col of the day, the Festre, very easily approached, with a coffee and sandwich stop in one-horse one-café Agnieres Devouluy. An unusually unfriendly bar owner stares nastily as we munch through gigantic sandwiches, as though we are eating his lunch. Very soon after this we are at the col, with wide, golden views, fields of corn, sunflowers with drooped heads showing the pale green undersides, clouds clinging against the white mountain tops of marble. A well is there on the pass, with the col notice above it. Then there is the most fabulous, fastest descent ever, I reckon we are doing aboutt 50 mph, so smooth and wide the road, so long the views, down and down and down we fly, undulating pleasantly, feeling the warmth growing although the strong mistral is ever present billowing us cheerily southwards.

We pass the climbing area at Siggotier, admire the cliffs, the dark blue sky, so cloudless. Serre is a busy N road town which we don’t explore, but instead sit in the first café we see for lunch, boiling in the now hot sun and then cycle to the camp sites – two in the town, the first dunky dry and enclosed in the valley bottom, discouragingly the second is a kilometre uphill, but worth it, spread over 28 hectares of pine forest, up the hill. We can choose our own terrace, with the sun spilling between the pines, and lighting the many varieties of prickly bush with cicadas creeping musically up them. No meals are available, (we are very aware that the season has now ended) but takeaway lasagne is offered, with a bottle of wine, which we consume on a sunny slope close to the tent. When the sun goes behind the hill, we go in the tent and soon fall asleep.

Undulating Terrain on the way to the col de Festre
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Monument at the Col du Festre

The Col du Festre

The Climbing Area at Siggotier

Grasshopper on the Cyclebag

Wise choice of Campsite

lasagne al fresco

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