Last Saturday, Meteo France promised us a sunny morning, with a nasty wet afternoon. Biking in the rain is no fun, so my TWDB and I decided to go for a short ride so we could be back before we got wet.
Avoiding the motorway, we took the old N9 (now 619) to St Paul et Valmalle, then minor roads to Aumelas and Le Pouget which took us through hills and windy roads perfect for the bike. There was a signpost to Dolmens which we were tempted to follow but left for another day. At Clermont l'Hérault we took the road to Mourèze which was the start of our tour around the Lac de Salagou.
It's a fantastic spot for sports of many sorts - water sports in particular, such as windsurfing, but also mountain-biking and walking. The soil is a dramatic red colour from iron oxide deposits and provides a colourful contrast to the much-rained upon recently green vegetation.
We drove through tiny villages - Salasc, Octon, Celles (in the photo) with their old stone dwellings and mini modern communities. We passed a good number of fishermen both on the water and sitting peacefully on the banks. The route is indicated green on the Michelin map, with good reason. The air was clear and warm - quite perfect for the bike.
At Le Puech, we stopped for lunch at the Auberge du Lac sat outside on the terrace and enjoyed a remarkably fine meal at a place we suspected was a tourist trap. How wrong we were! It was all freshly cooked and delicious, washed down with a glass of the local very dry fruity white wine.
From there we took a track above the lake to the barrage - an amazing feat of engineering as they often are - and thence, with black clouds threatening, back to Clermont l'Hérault and the motorway home.
We didn't quite manage to avoid the rain drops, but stayed ahead of the worst of it and arrived dry but slightly washed...
Future plans include a weekend at one of the campsites, with the car and mountain bikes. It's not all up and down - the lakeside track was pretty flat, with fab views for little effort.
We've done the circuit, next time we must stop and explore in more detail.