South west of France… (what else!)

cycling route in France
Velodyssee
Some news (and not so news) about France and its south west region.

1. An article published in USA Today on the 4th of September 2013 describes France as the best country to tour by bike:
“Inspired by the Tour de France but keen to leave the punishing inclines to the professionals? Some of the most relaxed routes lie just outside Bordeaux, along the banks of the Dordogne River, through the wineries in Lot and around the sleepy medieval village of Cahors.”
No doubt the relaxing routes around Bordeaux in the article are the ones of the Medoc region north of the city where one can blend the pleasures of biking with the more region specific activity of world famous wine chateaux visiting. Probably due to the required limited size, the article does not mention two other outstanding bike routes in France (in the south west part).

  • The Canal du Midi banks bike path – an exceptionally picturesque route that will take you from Toulouse all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, crossing not only cities like Toulouse (as mentioned before), the UNESCO’s listed Carcassonne and the historic Beziers but also the small ancient villages of Lauragais part of Midi-Pyrenees and the Languedoc region.
  • Another big omission is the Vélodyssée – the cycling route that covers the whole French Atlantic coast all the way from its Spanish border at Saint Jean de Luz – in the very south west corner of the country – to the town of Roscoff in the north western region of Brittany.

The whole article can be read at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2013/09/04/europe-travel-transportation-tips/2760271/

tree house in dordogne
Tree house in Dordogne

2. The Australia’s Herald Sun – the September 8, 2013 edition – bestowed the title of the “Best tree house hotel in the world” to the Dordogne’s “Chateaux dans les Arbres” (the hotel occupies the 3rd place on the Trip Advisor’s list of “The 10th most extraordinary hotels perched in trees”). The Dordogne’s tree houses are luxury cabins (the price starts at €300/cabin) modeled after 3 of region’s outstanding castles: Monbaziac, Hautefort and Milandes.
The houses are built in the trees on the ancient domain of Puybéton – near the little town of Nojals-et-Clottes – by the domain’s owner Rémi Becherel a 28 years old carpenter. From their height the guests can admire the beautiful panorama of Perigord* up to a distance of 50km as the eagle flies.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/travel/world/the-best-five-treehouse-hotels-in-the-world/story-fni0biiz-1226713099492
*Perigord is the ancient name of the region that is now the department of Dordogne.

3. A “new” way of skiing was invented near Arcachon (the town is located 70 km west of Bordeaux) not now, but some 75 years ago: the skiing on pine needles, down the sandy dune of the Atlantic coastland. The 250 m long and 60 m high track was initially used by skiers for training. After a 30 years period that started in the 70s during which time the trail was abandoned it is now rehabilitated by an association of “die hard” skiers from the region.
More information at: http://www.skiaiguillesdepins.com/

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