Manosque to Castellane ~ A Super Sunday of Cycling through the Gorges du Verdon in Provence

July 8th – 10th 2017 (Days 61 – 63) This week’s photo shows the Lac de Sainte Croix near the Gorges du Verdon. The Verdon river flows into the Lac de Sainte Croix before flowing west and eventually into the Durance river near Cadarache. Before entering the Lac de Sainte Croix, the Verdon flows through a canyon, which is called the Gorges de Verdon, and it is as spectacular as the Grand Canyon in the USA. On a normal day, I take about 100 photos but the day I went through the Gorges de Verdon, I took over 300 photos. It was not only a Super Sunday of Cycling but also a Super Sunday of Photos.


Travoy leaving Camping Provence Vallee.


Tyre had come off the rim on one of Travoy’s wheels.. The tube on the right had a slow puncture so every morning, I would pump up the tube. But this morning, when I pumped up the tube, it forced the tyre out of the rim. The beading in the tyre was all twisted and soon realised I would have to get a new tyre.


Branch of Intersport in Manosque.  I first called into the New Cycles bike shop in Manosque but they didn’t have any 12″ tyres in stock. But the owner suggested I try Intersport and thankfully, they had 2 12″ tyres for sale. I was so relived I bought them both so as to have a spare if the tyre ever went on Travoy again.


New tyre fitted to Travoy. It took about half an hour to fit the new tyre and replace the slow puncture tube with a new one I had bought in Carcassonne about a week earlier.


The old tyre went into the bin. The old tyre was damaged beyond repair so the sensible thing was to dump it.


Total distance cycled Saturday July 8th from Manosque to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie – 55 km (includes 800 m of climbing). Total distance cycled so far on 2017 Tour de Travoy – 3,895 km. Another hot and hilly day which made 55 km feel more like 155 km.


Crossing the Durance river on the outskirts of Manosque.


Japanese bride getting her hair done up at the side of the road.


Huge field of lavender.


Japanese cyclist getting his photo taken in a lavender field.


Taking a selfie in a lavender field.


Japanese bride having her photo taken in a lavender field. This was probably the same bride I had photographed earlier having her hair done at the side of the road.


Another Japanese tourist having her photo taken in a lavender field.


Meandering road near Valensole.


Old style advert for a television set.


Loading a batch into the mixer. Near Riez, I came across a building site with about a half dozen brickies working away.  Obviously, that many brickies need a lot of mortar and this poor lad was going flat out in the 30 degree plus heat trying to keep them supplied.


More tourists in a lavender field near Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.


The spectacular village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. The village looks almost biblical the way it is perched up against a huge rock.


Total distance cycled Sunday July 9th from Moustiers-Sainte_Marie to Castellane – 45 km (includes 1,200 m of climbing). Total distance cycled so far on 2017 Tour de Travoy – 3,940 km. Much more climbing than the previous day but because it was a lot cooler, it felt much easier.


Travoy leaving Camping Manaysse in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.


Sign at exit to Camping Manaysse.


View of the village of Moustiers-Sainte -Marie as you exit the campsite.


Lac de Sainte Croix near the Gorges du Verdon.


Lots of tourists at the Gorges du Verdon.


The Gorges du Verdon is like the Grand Canyon in the USA.


Balcony road alongside the Gorges du Verdon.


Some kayaks and pedalos in the Gorges du Verdon.


View of the Gorges du Verdon looking to the west.


Hairpin on the climb near up to the Col d’Ayen.


Travoy at the Col d’Ayen.


Some motorbikes outside a cafe in La Pulad sur Verdon. The Gorges du Verdon is popular with bikers and there were hundreds of them on the road today.


Sign for a falconry near Rougon.


Balcony road alongside the Verdon river.


Narrow gorge on the road to Castellane.


Advert for Aboard Rafting in Castellane


Chapelle Notre Dame du Roc atop a massive rock above Castellane.


Camping Les Lavandes in Castellane.


The campsite cafe was showing the Tour de France. By the time I had my tent set up, I only got to see the last 5 km of that day’s stage to Chambery. But it was quite a finish as Romain Bardet was caught by Chris Froome and 3 other cyclists only 2 km from Chambery and the stage was then won by Rigoberto Uran in a photo finish with Warren Barguil. It was the best stage of this year’s Tour de France by far and the only bit I got to see live on TV. I could not have picked a better 10 minutes to watch live and in hindsight, it certainly was the key stage during the whole Tour de France. Ritchie Porte, Geraint Thomas and Robert Gesink all crashed out of the Tour on this stage and Dan Martin could have got the Yellow Jersey had he not also crashed. It was the only stage in the whole race that Chris Froome looked in trouble and perhaps if the others in the group had not co-operated in helping him chase down Bardet, he may not have won his fourth Tour de France title. But getting to see the finish in Chambery certainly was a spectacular way to end what had also been a spectacular day on the Tour de Travoy.


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