I’m sure that when I get home people will ask me about the actual route of this journey. If anyone asked specifically I would suggest starting from Montpellier. By all means visit Arles which is beautiful and purists will want to visit the Abbey at St-Gilles-du-Gard, but the countryside between frankly isn’t great.
From Arles the recommended “Embankment Route” takes you along the bank of the Petit Rhone which should be good but actually for most of the time it is hidden by dense woodland so you only get occasional glimpses of the river.
On the other side it is very agricultural and as I have said once you’ve seen one field of rice you’ve seen them all.
There is also a growing problem with bamboo which seems to be spreading through the whole of this part of France. In some places it has migrated right through the embankment which is both a service road and a defensive barrier. The route goes through much of it and it provides a haven for biting insects. I’ll spare you the photo of my legs, it’s not a pretty sight.
After the embankment there is a lot of road walking.
The second day starts and finishes on roads with quite a lot of roads along the way. The bits in between tend to be agricultural tracks a few of which are lovely. I particularly remember a sunken road that provided shade and interest. At least there was no rice as it was all vineyards or orchards.
All very well but unmemorable; I tried last night to visualise parts of it and there are just blanks.
The next day was more of the same except that I can now see some mountains in the far distance which is hopeful. I have no qualms about the bus as it was a bit of an adventure and saved me another day of orchards. And the hinterland of French towns do seem to be desperate wastelands for the most part.
Sorry if this appears gloomy, it’s not meant to be it’s just what I’ve seen. Several people have told me that the best bit starts from Montpellier so we’ll see what Monday brings.
21 September 2013