Sarlat-la-Canéda – 10 days – 102 metres above sea level

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At the end of the day, we reached the riverside of the Lot and pitched up the tents at the “Farm of the 3 young wild boars” (La Ferme des 3 Marcassins). We have been welcomed briefly by the father of the family. He was sorry to leave quickly but he needed to go the next village, Port d’Agres, where he was a member of the team organising the “Aligot Party”, a Fresh specificity made of mashed potatoes and cheese. He invited us to join. We shared a table with his daughter and enjoyed the delicious Aligot. 

The aim of the next day was to reach the “Périgord Noir” (a French region in the South of France). We enjoyed our lunch break in Rocamadour, a beautiful perched village, with the local specialities (smoked ham and goat cheese).

We finished this day in Dôme, another medieval village perched above the Dordogne river. We met my Mum at the end of her day of work. After these many months on the road, we enjoyed, all together, a surprising but delicious tomato ice cream.

We started the next morning by going to the famous market in Sarlat for finding the finest produce for our lunch picnic. The city is a real book of history, on this 15th August, it was buzzing in the streets. We managed to go between everyone to reach the cheese vendor, just behind the huge ancient gates of the church refurbished as a covered market.

We put a table cloth on the grass, next to the Dordogne river, nearby the Turnac village, under the impressive Castle of Montfort. The scenery was breathtaking and the lunch was full of the delicious specialities from the area. On the river, there were many canoes enjoying the quiet river.

We enjoyed a last beer along the Dordogne, next to the Vitrac village, before to go back on the road towards North. Under the warm colours of these last sun rays, we pitched up the tent on a wild field, near the village of Aubas.

We continued our trip towards the East of the Auvergne region (located in the centre of France). We wanted to pass by Dafy, our partner for our motorcycle outfits, to meet the team in Clermont-Ferrand.

On the secondary roads, we discovered villages and castles with a beautiful architecture and names that we didn’t know until this day. We crossed Condat-sur-Vézère and its medieval commandery. Then, we arrived in Egletons, a little village where we stopped for a break to buy the Equipe newspaper (horse races news), to drink a glass of Pastis (French aniseed alcohol) in the OTB while gambling on a horse at the race in Mont-Saint-Michel (a seaside city in the North of France) at 1:30pm – all of this was a true symbol for us.

Finally we arrived at a cheese factory specialised in Saint-Nectaire (one of our favourite French cheeses) with a beautiful view over the valleys of the region (Puy-de-Dôme). A storm was coming. We enjoyed some cheese shopping, watched the milking session and asked to stay for the night. They offered us to pitch up the tent in the shed where the machines were parked. In the morning, we had a quick shower with our water tank put on the top of a wooden pole marking the cows field.

After a detour by the roads in the mountains in a deep and freezing fog, we parked in front of the Dafy head office supporting our trip. We were welcomed with a great hot coffee by the team following our adventures. Clément and Justine showed us the offices and the warehouse. We met all their colleagues who followed us during our adventure. It was great to see where all our mortorcycle outfits were coming from and to give our feedback on our outfits which well-supported a tough year of trip. We lunched all together at “Le Daf”, their restaurant recently opened, and enjoyed a delicious meal before to go back on the road.

After this break, we continued and reached Guéret. We enjoyed a chill beer with Marie’s uncle before to meet Mariette and Didier, friends of the family. We dined together and enjoyed the local speciality, a surprising but delicious “pâté de patates” (a pie stuffed with potatoes and cream). The following day, we arrived in Charente, a region on the West coast of France. We did a break in Angoulême, at the “Vin d’Orge”, the favourite pub of Emilie, Marie and Julien during their years as students. A break bringing back some good memories. At the end of the day, it was at Aurel and Margot’s place in Saint Porchaire that we stopped for the day. We enjoyed with our friends a diner in their garden.

As we were closed by La Rochelle, we lunched at Régis’ place, Julien’s godfather, before to continue our road towards North in direction of Saint-Mesmin. After a few kilometres, Brigitte and Louis-Marie, Julien’s parents, met us on the road. Gilles, our friend during our trip in Asia, met us on the road in Pouzauges.

We shared a nice chill beer all together before to meet Nicolle, Julien’s grandmother, and we dined at her place. Upon our arrival, we were invited for the traditional “garden tour”, before to enjoy her homemade “épine“, the traditional alcohol from the area, and a delicious diner.

The next morning, we took the direction of the Castle of Saint-Mesmin. There, we did a a photoshoot before the beginning of our trip, one year earlier. Therefore, we wanted to do a new photoshoot for celebrating our return. On the way, our engine light switched on. After the photos, we went to Louis-Marie’s workshop for plugging the computer.  It showed us there was a lack of electricity in the injectors. We cleaned the connectors to reach easily Britany. By looking the welding done for repairing a crack of the sidecar frame, Louis-Marie offered us to remove it and to do a new stronger one before our departure. This operation would have taken less than an hour if I did not spot a messing bolt on the final drive. After checking it, we discovered a bigger issue. One lug nut was broken inside and was impossible to be extracted. We had to drill it. The repairs took more time than expected. We stopped it, for going to Marie’s grandparents place, to dine and spend the night there. Upon our arrival, her grandmother gave us an unbelievable book she did during our trip. It illustrates our trip, day by day with documented researches, comments and photos. After spending a great time, the night was too short.

The alarm rang at 6 am for resuming the repairs started the previous day. Once everything was up and running and we did a coffee break, we took the direction of Brittany. During the first kilometres, the engine light went on again but we took the decision to keep going.

In Ruffiac, on the side of the road, we recognised some well-known faces. Guillaume, Emilie’s brother, were waiting for us on the side of the road with Sacha and Théa, his children. On a nearby wooden picnic table, some nice and cold beers were waiting for us… 

Emilie’s father, Bernard, was waiting for us at a roundabout near the entrance of Ploërmel. With his motorcycle, he escorted us through the last kilometers in direction of Loyat. In front of the house, Alice was waiting for us with a welcoming banner. We reached the house one day earlier than expected. The arrival party was planned for the next day. We spent the last night in the tents pitched in the garden. Early afternoon, our families joined us. On the agenda: games from our regions (Brittany and Vendée) with beers and waffles. Before to take place at the table under the fairylights and trees, with a feeling of an open- air cafe. We drank a Spritz to the 37 909 km (Karadoc’s kilometer reader) made during our trip.

In my head, I had the song from Georges Brassens:

Happy he who like Ulysses
Journeyed far and wide
Happy he who like Ulysses
Has seen hundreds of lands
And has regained again, after
Many years of wandering
The country of his youthful years
On an early Summer morning
When the sun sings within your heart
Then how fine it is to be free
Fine to be free !”

Where to eat?  

“Le Daf”
13-15 Rue Denis Papin, 63170 Aubière 

With its atmosphere of an old garage,  it’s a great place for all the lovers of local beers and burgers.

“Le Chalet” Restaurant
Pont de Vitrac, 24250 Domme

A small open-air cafe with nothing fancy but with all the local specialities on the menu, all of this with a beautiful scenery along the Dordogne river.

Where to stop for ab break

(La ferme “Les trois marcassins” (The farm of the 3 young wild boards)
Fraux, 12300 St Parthem

A small family farm with good local produce, all of them made from wild boars of course.

Cagnes-sur-Mer – 5 days – 2 metres above sea level

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The Mediterranean! It was along its coast that we arrived by our last border and enjoyed the symbol of its meaning. We proudly took a photo in front of the sign of “France” and the sign of “Menton city”, without realising what was going on.

We did our first kilometres on one of the most emblematic road of the country: the South of the National 7, the famous road of the holidays. After crossing the city, famous for its delicious lemons, we reached the perched village of Eze. Julien’s uncle, Patrick, was waiting for us to enjoy a break with coffee, melon, ham and eggs from the garden.

We avoided Nice by taking the highway. The trafic was heavy. Between the cars, we didn’t see each other. Both sidecars took a different exit and we finally met on the promenade along the beach of Cagnes-sur-Mer, with an unusual empty trafic.

One hundred of metres further, René and Marie-Thé, Julien’s great-uncle and great-aunt, were warmly welcoming us for a few days off. We lunched on the terrace under a parasol with the fan on.

Mid-afternoon, two journalists from the local newspaper, named Nice-Matin, interviewed us to take some photos on the seaside. Questions and replies last two hours. For the first time it was difficult to summarize one year of trip in only one favourite place and the best story while we had thousands of memories. We dived in the swimming pool before to dine at the Carlos’ restaurant, a Portuguese chef specialised in grilled meat.

The following day was dedicated to the discovery of Nice, the capital of the French Riviera. We went along the Bay of Angels and using the promenade of Paillon, very animated during these hot days. Many children were playing with the water while their parents were having fun watching them.

We continued our walk in the historic area of the city. We loved the colourful streets, the delicious smell of the Mediterranean cuisine, the authenticity and the friendly atmosphere. 

We finished the day at Sebastien’s place, Marie’s cousin, on the heights of Nice.

We enjoyed a new day of break to discover the heights of Cagnes. This medieval village was on the seaside and isolated in the meantime as it was perched on a hill protected by its old castle. The narrow streets were lovely with the nice atmosphere from the South with breathtaking viewpoints over the Mediterranean and the Mercantour. There were signs on the walls about the worldwide competition of “square balls” in the next few days.

When we were back, René explained us this game as similar rules to bocce but the square shape allows to play in the narrow and steep streets of the Alps villages. Each year, from the 80’s, the streets (with a slope between 10 and 18%) were welcoming this unusual event. 

This Mediterranean break gave us the opportunity to enjoy again workout. The promenade along the beach was only for pedestrian. With its asphalt, it was perfect for a run. The gentle curve was passing by the famous racetrack, the luxury Marina of Villeneuve-Louvet before to reach the Cap d’Antibes.

The afternoon was dedicated to visit the town of Grasse, the origin of the luxury perfume houses. Located on the first hills of the Alpes-Maritimes. Its narrow streets are the archetype of the Provençal architecture. They had a delicious smell of fine fragrances. They naturally attracted us to the Fragonard Factory, a well-known house. We took a guided tour through the museum with the explanation of the process of making perfume and the different evolutions across the centuries. The tour finished by the shop were we could not resist to buy some of them.

The next morning was the day of our departure. After enjoying some croissants for the breakfast, we left René and Marie-thé to the road towards West. After a day driving on the asphalt, we passed the city of Marseille and we stopped for the night at Fare-les-Oliviers, nearby the Berre lake. We pitched the tent on the property of the soap family factory, “la Perle de Provence“. Fred, the soap maker welcomed us. We discussed with him several minutes about his passion about soap and his favorite bikes, the Ducati.

After this night in the middle of the olive tree field, we took the road in direction of North East, crossing Nîmes, then Alès and the Cevennes. An area that we were unable to place on a map, such as the Lozère and Aveyron, the next counties on our way.

Where to do a break?

The soap family factory “Perle de Provence”
D10 Le Vieux Mas, 13680 Lançon-Provence

A family with a big heart and the passion for the things well done. No secret, only good and nice products. You will also have the possibility to camp under fantastic olive trees, if you have the time.