planning a trip through france to spain

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by tommyvdv, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Hi Matey,

    The lowdown on free camping in Spain is on my blog. OK, it's complicated but that's not my fault - the message is simple really, Be sensible and you won't get a bust'!

    Regs

    Simon
    #21
  2. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    Hi there red,
    I've placed the following markers: http://goo.gl/maps/YjMFn
    The color coding is a bit off… blue markers are places we could visit, eat at, stay at
    green are points we'll probably use to make our route
    red are things we should see, for instance, gorge du tarn is a red spot
    As you can see, we need a lot more red spots :)

    I should get some more for the northern part of france and spain.
    Not sure we're going to make it all the way across the pyrenees to Urrugne. And i'm not really sure we want to stay on the northern side. From what i've heard, the weather should be better on the southern side.

    If you know any interesting POI's on our route (which is roughly depicted here: http://goo.gl/maps/Zv3J2) feel free to let me know. I'm trying to get as many sights and great roads incorporated into our trip. That way we can easily make choices when we're on the road.

    Thanks for the insights about camping in spain @thespanishbiker!
    #22
  3. Andysr6

    Andysr6 Adventurer

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    Hi, how about a nice big loop; head directy south to Lake Geneva and pick up the Route de Grande Alpes (some of the best roads in Europe IMO), head west to Lac de Sainte Croix (great are for camping), further west to the eastern start of the Pyrenees(not the most exciting roads) then follow the Pyrenees, take the suggest route home.
    #23
  4. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    Trying to follow your train of thought here.
    http://goo.gl/maps/7PtYy

    Something like this?
    #24
  5. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    The track to north of Beziers is okay but after Mazamet I don't get it. From there passed Toulouse to Bayonne is flat and not very interesting. I'd take a left at Mazamet to Carcassonne and then head for the mountains. Personally, I'd give the whole area around the France-Spain border a miss, too built-up. San Sebastian has a nice central area of restored buildings but is it worth the ride? Not for me. If you like the ride in the mountains to the Atlantic, and you WILL :D, there is no sin in doubling back along the same roads, or hit the N260 on the Spanish side. Just sayin'.
    #25
  6. Stray Dog

    Stray Dog Been here awhile

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    If you get down my way, Angouleme16 France
    Your more that welcome to use my garden for an overnight.
    Although June I may be away myself, but my garden will still be there...:nod

    Drop me a PM closer to the date if ya need to

    Dog
    #26
  7. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    Your opinion is appreciated.
    My biggest problem is my ignorance. I can't seem to figure out which places are worth visiting on the spanish side of the pyrenees. If i had a lot of places to pick from, setting up a route is simply a matter of connecting the dots :)

    Same goes for france actually.
    I should probably get a michelin map of these areas
    #27
  8. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    oh and. that's very generous. I'll let you know soon enough if we're planning to take you up on your offer.
    #28
  9. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    Hi Simon,

    I finally found some time to check out your link, there's lots of good information on your side, thanks! The Catalan HISS rally also sounds interesting, too bad I don't have time in May.

    Pip
    #29
  10. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    The Michelin ZOOM Espagne series are excellent for the Pyrenees as they cover both sides of the frontier.

    At 1:150 000 the scale is good enough to find most tracks - especially the legal ones - and give you a very good idea of the terrain and land use, e.g. forest, etc. and they also show natural parks, nature reserves, etc. - unlike national parks* these aren't necessarily closed to vehicles, if anything the opposite as authorised trails are clearly marked so you can't go wrong by accident.

    One anomaly is that there are no camp sites marked on the French side - but that's not a problem as there are so many! In Spain it's a different matter entirely and the Michelin maps are great - probably better than Google although there's no definitive list that I know of :(

    The maps you want for the whole Pyrenees are: Nºs 144, 145 and 146

    Regs

    Simon
    * I'm only talking about Spain here
    #30
  11. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Hi Pip,

    Thanks for your kind words - it's always good to know that folks appreciate the site.

    That's too bad about the Catalonia HISS - have you thought about the Aragon at the end of September? The location is absolutely stunning and a big change from the Pyrenees!

    Regs

    Simon
    #31
  12. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    I only crossed through the area on a bike trip in 2004, so I haven't really seen it. (my avatar is from that trip) But the Catalonia area is somehow more tempting to me. Anyway, September is usually also very busy here, too. We'll see.
    #32
  13. The Spanish Biker

    The Spanish Biker The Invaluable Guide

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    Ha ha - I didn't notice the Bull in the background! These 'Osbourne' bulls are getting pretty rare nowadays, although at one time they were almost a national symbol - for those that don't know the bull is a the trademark of the Osbourne sherry brand. After a law controlling roadside billbpoards and advertising most of them are just rotting away although I think one or two examples are preserved as a sort of heritage thing. My favourite is on the N2 in the Los Monegros desert - if you've got a coup,e of hours to spare take a look at Jamón Jamón, the archetypical film of the transition period - it's not only a brilliant film and was the debut of both Javier bardem and Peneolpe Cruz - whatever happened to them :) - but it's also very, very sexy - so I guess an 'Adults only' warning is required!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPKpXoYm_bI

    Back to Aragon - too many people ride through the region not realising that in those distant, apparently featureless hills there is some of the most spectacular landscape Spain, or even Europe, has to offer - hence the Aragon HISS!

    Regs

    Simon
    #33
  14. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    Yes. As a rough, very rough, rule, and being on a bike find the green areas on the map. Often represents elevation, which usually means trees and water. Also, unless you need to get from A to B as quickly as poss, avoid the 'A' 'autoroutes. The remaining 'N' roads are what autoroutes were before the autoroutes. Many 'N' routes were re-named as 'D' when the responsibility for Michelintheir upkeep was transferred to the departments and many are in good nick and relatively fast. Check the legend on the map and you'll see the difference between the symbols for different levels of 'D'. Michelin's website is viamichelin.com. The colors will show up there. The roads highlighted in green are the best scenery.
    #34
  15. duibhceK

    duibhceK duibhce Kaelann

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    check out the link in my signature. It's a report on our trip from Belgium to the Pyrenees and back. Might give you a couple of ideas.
    I probably still have the GPS tracks lying around, send me a pm if you're interested.
    #35
  16. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    Thanks!
    I'll give you a poke for the tracks, i could use some inspiration for some parts.
    From the looks of it you've visited some stuff along the road. But i'll read the report first before i start asking :)
    #36
  17. MikeTheMechanic

    MikeTheMechanic Tsiki?

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    #37
  18. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    #38
  19. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    I think i've got or main itinerary figured out.
    The red and green being the route we'll follow. The blue tracks are additional but i really hope we've time to complete those as well. Red stops at andorra. The plan is to freestyle through andorra and get back to our red line.

    Main:
    [​IMG]

    The first two additions "gorges d'ardeche" and "cascade du ray pic":
    [​IMG]

    • viaduc des fades
    • besse-et-saint-anastaise
    • salers
    • puy mary
    • chateau de pesteils
    • murrat
    • roffiac
    • andelat
    • saint-flour
    • viaduc de garabit
    • pont charlemagne
    • pont d'arc
    • gorges de l'ardeche
    • burzet
    • cascade du ray pic
    • saint bonnet le froid
    • chateau de lavoute-polignac

    I'm guessing we'll spot "puy de dome" from a distance. I'm going over the route again to make sure we don't miss out on any wonderful roads. Any input is more than welcome

    Third "cathar castles / citadels" and "massive de canigoux"
    [​IMG]

    • Carcassonne
    • Château de Pieusse
    • rennes-le-chateau
    • chateau d'arques
    • chateau de durfort
    • chateau de termes
    • chateau d'aguilar
    • MAYBE mas llensou
    • MAYBE oppidum d'opoul et canigou
    • chateau de peyrepertuse
    • chateau de quéribus
    • chateau de puilaurens
    • molitg les bains OR villefranche-de-conflent OR Eus
    • MAYBE elne

    Fourth "san juan de la pena":
    [​IMG]

    • san juan de la pena

    looks nice, but also looks touristy and it doesn't look like there are a lot of roads around here. Anyone have any information on viewpoints looking out over this site?

    Fifth "bardenas reales":
    [​IMG]

    • yet to find what the most important spots are here and how to get there

    I have found some information stating that the main roads are accessible and open to light traffic. Some info on where we can and can't ride would be nice. I wouldn't like to be subjected to a cavity search on the side of the road :D

    Sixth "cirque de gavarnie":
    [​IMG]

    • cirque de gavarnie

    This also looks quite inaccessible. I've found trails leading up and into this POI but can't know for sure if we'll be allowed to ride that far.

    I'm posting this because i hope it'll reveal anything that we'd otherwise miss or pass without ever knowing it.
    Thanks for any and all info!

    T
    #39
  20. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    So I've done some recon for you ...
    :lol3

    When entering the park coming from Tudela, you'll pass a tourist office where they hand out maps of the area and give tips on where to go and where not to. If you don't go in, you will still find a map signpost with the road layout a few hundred meters further. But (in the rain season) you may end up in spots like this:

    [​IMG]
    I learned later that they had been marking that part as impassable on their handouts ...

    Most of the roads inside the park actually look like the one below, except for the one heading out of the park to the north which is slightly rougher.

    [​IMG]

    Being a natural reserve, most tracks are off limit for bikes, often even for hikers. They put enough signs to ensure you won't get lost.
    #40