Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 7 Argens-Minervois to Portiragnes

Monday 20th Day 7 Argens-Minervois to Portiragnes Plage (THE MEDITERRANEAN!)

The weather was really kind for our last day. A bright sunny but slightly chilly morning as we left the little village of Argens-Minervois got warmer and warmer as we made our way along good paths. It was a holiday in France and almost everything was closed including, rather strangely, the touristy things like restaurants and cafe stops. Some of the canals more interesting features were passed including spillways, aquaducts, bridges and even a tunnel. The tunnel was particular interesting. It was 175 metres long, 6 metres wide and 8 metres tall and dug through solid rock in the 1670s. According to our Guide book it was dug through the rock in 8 days!

The tunnel

Mary found us a lunch stop in Capestang and we were soon on our way towards Beziers. We knew we had arrived in Beziers when we came across a canal lock staircase just like Neptune's staircase in Fort William. We shot down hill only to be greeted with steep climb up the other side for our rendezvous with the statue of Pierre-Paul Riquet, the builder of the Canal du Midi.

Statue of Pierre-Paul Riquet

Next we headed for the sea at Portiragnes Plages, a few kilometres east of Beziers. Mary paddled in the cold Med. while we had a rather disgusting but well earned ice cream.

A 46 mile (74 kilometre) day ended with us basking in lovely warm sunshine and a temperature above 20 degrees for the first time.

The closing chapter will follow soon.

David, Peter and Mary