Albret, a bikeable nugget territory


The truth is that Emma, ​​Julie and Clare rarely get a chance to ride a bike in the summer…

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The bicycles disappeared at the same time as the canal

And so we went around for about forty kilometers. At the beginning, the route runs along the side canal, which is full of cyclists, even at 9:30 am. The boaters, who sometimes resembled a Belgian family, struggled to get through the first lock, shortly after boarding a rented barge at the port of Buzet. “The boat is approaching the crossroads, learning is complicated,” says skier Françoise, seasonal at Voies Navigables de France, who happened to be on the lock to fix a temporary technical problem.

The first lock to be accessed prompted a Belgian family of Flemish origin ... Françoise, from VNF, to monitor and advise.


The first lock to be accessed prompted a Belgian family of Flemish origin … Françoise, from VNF, to monitor and advise.

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“How hot it is to go through a lock! Éric, a hiker, with Christine, his wife, came from Yvelines to follow the side canal towards Agen. “This bike ride was a first for me, as I come from this department. The barge got out of bad posture. In about fifteen minutes, she’ll get through the lock. Éric said: “Honestly, renting a barge, very little, we are too dependent on the canal, not enough free time, I am afraid of boredom”.

The pair continued on the road, like most two-wheelers hikers. To explore Albret, after 7 km you have to deviate from the most frequent axis that runs along the canal. Direction Feugarolles, in a wood-sprung landscape, fields of harvested wheat, corn, soybeans, vines. On these roads, hikers have disappeared along with the canal. Loneliness appears, not boredom. The colors are wonderful. Near a horse farm, the “tactical” of the electrified fence punctured the path. The grass had invaded the arena, the heat releasing the horses of the exercise driving them crazy.

The 40 km detour rises above the Baïse valley.


The 40 km detour rises above the Baïse valley.

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Nérac, a jewel marked by history

The road rises near Espiens. We appreciate the electrical support while the thermometer is close to 30°. After the efforts, comfort goes to the battery, which a long way allows you to rest almost until you reach Nérac, a town cut across by Baïse and bordered by Gélise. The city reached its peak on the 16the century when the local lords, the lords of Albret, became king of Navarre from 1484. From this period and those that followed derive the beauty of a place marked by history is displayed. of its monuments, the Château Henri IV or of Nérac, in the Louis XII style, the old bridge, built in the sixteenth centurye century, the so-called Sully house … On all the streets, sometimes narrow and steep, which a bicycle could easily swallow, on each side of Baïse, a succession of houses half-timbered houses, in stone or ruins, testify to the history of this place.

Barbaste's factory, from the Romanesque bridge testifies to the historical weight of this Albret corner.


Barbaste’s factory, from the Romanesque bridge is a witness to the historical weight of this Albret corner.

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Five kilometers away, after a moderate effort, history offers hikers a new rendezvous at Barbaste, where Gélise, pierced by dams, crosses a Roman-style bridge under foot a spectacular plant. We reluctantly let it continue its effort by climbing to the heights of the Baïse valley, towards Lavardac, then Vianne, a fortified bastide that still exhibits stone doors that do not stop local industry glassware, fell under the impact of globalization. in the late 1990s.

Near 2 p.m., the sun was fading, but a randomly adjusted sprinkler turned a stretch of road into a life-saving mist. There’s still five kilometers of country road to complete the loop and head back to the side canal, to the starting point where you’ll meet the hikers again. By the way, the Buzet deserves a few more pedal strokes too.

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