2015-07-19 Escosse – Capestang

My route today took through Carcassonne and past the world famous Cite de Carcassonne. The magnificent stone wall around the medieval city is over 3 km long and has 52 towers but only 2 entrance gates. The Cite dates from the 13th century but it lay in ruins for hundreds of years until restored by the famous French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc between 1853 and 1879.

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Total today – 145 km. Total so far -1345 km. Longest day’s cycling on the Tour de Travoy so far but it was mostly downhill and the tailwind helped as well.

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Safari style tent at Le Bon Choix campsite. Unlike most campsites in France, there were very few campervans at the Le Bon Choix campsite probably because the site is located on the side of a steep hill. Instead, most people seemed to be staying in huge tents as if they were on safari.

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Tiger cage for the Muller circus. In the city of Pamiers, the Cirque Muller was in town for the week-end. The circus features lions, tigers and the biggest hippo in Europe, which weighs over 3 ton.

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Lots of vineyards today. There are 96 departements in France and today, I went through 3 of them. I started off in Ariege in the Midi-Pyrenees, then crossed into the Aude in Languedoc-Rousillion before finishing up in Herault also in Languedoc-Rousillion.

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Canal du Midi. Near Bram, I crossed over the Canal du Midi. This 240 km long canal between Toulouse and the Med took 12,000 workers 15 years to build in the 17th Century.The aim of the canal was to connect the Med to the Atlantic and reduce revenue going to the King of Spain from boats going through Gibralter. The canal budget was 6 million livres but ended up costing 18 million livres or about €400 million. Workers were paid 10 livres per month, the equivalent of €250 today and got Sunday’s off. Conditions were much better than other projects in France with workers getting sick pay, holiday pay and rainy days off.

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Ryanair plane at Carcassonne airport. I went past Carcassonne airport just as the flight from London Stanstead was landing. Carcassonne is very small airport with an average of only 5 flights a day, all of them Ryanair flights.

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Bryton bicycle computer. After 148 km, the furthest of any day on the Tour de Travoy, I eventually make it to the campsite at Capestang. The time on my computer is Irish time, so the actual time in France was 08.37 in the evening.

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Municipal campsite in Capestang. For the first time on the Tour de Travoy, I stayed at a campsite where there were a lot of British vehicles. Capestang is only 10 km from the Med and only 5 km from the “La Catalene” motorway to Spain, so it is an ideal stopover venue for anyone travelling further south.

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