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Inspiring Life & Travel in France

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Inspiring Life & Travel in France

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Uzès France: Off the Beaten Track, Part Two

Biking Around Uzès

Traveling abroad solo means you can stop whenever, wherever you like. Sightseeing while riding a bicycle makes it even easier.

I wonder if I made any progress on the backroads journey to San Quentin la Poterie and Uzès. The scenery is fantastic. Everything around is a subject for a picture. When I’d stop my bike to take a photo, I’d have to remind myself to turn around and look back, too.

Like life, some things appear to be better when we look “back” than “through”.

Before starting my day’s bike riding adventure, I stopped by the Wednesday Market in the main square, Place aux Herbes. I picked up vegetables and other items to prepare meals for myself for the rest of the week. On Saturday I’ll shop “fresh” again. My daily stash was more strawberries, cherries, cheeses, vegetables, and locally made mustard, beer, and Madeline cookies.

Off to San Quentin la Poterie
Getting started on the bike trail to “la Poterie” was not difficult. On Tuesday, I had ridden past the entrance on my way back from the bike rental shop. However, “started” is the operative word above. The path that seemed so clear at the “start” soon dumped me onto a four-way intersection. None of the intersecting roads looked like a bike path. Fortunately, two men were standing in a driveway who could give me directions. Of course, neither of them could speak a word of English. Nevertheless, using my map and the universal language –hand waving– they gave me enough information to go on my way.

And oh! What a view!

Another advantage of traveling by bike is that you can take off onto side roads you would miss by car. Who could resist checking out this road with no gates no signs? Not me. Just look what awaited me!

A hidden path… And just a few feet farther…

Then, braving it down a well-maintained, tree-lined road, I rode slowly, hoping no one would come after me with dogs or a gun. Soon, in the distance, I could hear chattering voices. Instead of turning around and hightailing it back to the main road, I approached the voices. I would excuse my invasion by saying, “I’m lost.”

By this time, I was pushing it beside me off the bike. Taking a few steps ahead, I saw a small stone house to the right of the roadway. The chattering was coming from three or four people sitting around a table on the patio. I could also see a second stone building and the entrance to a large, stately mansion surrounded by a stone wall.

Apparently, the people sitting around the table enjoying their lunch were house and groundskeepers for the estate. They, indeed, weren’t guards. They were so heavily engaged in conversation that no one noticed me.

Traveling abroad solo Announcing myself by shouting “bonjour” in my best French, I saw the older woman in the group look my way. She then walked to the road to greet me. As she approached, I held up my iPhone and motioned with my hands that I’d like to take a picture. Seeing that I was neither a threat nor a professional photographer (a photojournalist with an iPhone?), she said “OK” in English.

I then asked if I could take pictures of the big house inside the courtyard. Replying In broken English, she said, “Someone lives there.”

In other words, “no.”

Not to be dismissed so quickly, yet trying to be as polite as possible, I asked if I could take her picture and photograph other sights around the estate. She said, “Oui.” Viola! My persistence paid off!

Pays de la ceramics
Practically “around the bend” from my off-road venture to the French chateau was the famed village of art pottery: San Quentin la Poterie.

San Quentin la Poterie
With a tradition in pottery since the fourteenth century, the village has maintained its reputation for world-class ceramics.

The purpose of my trip here today was to take in the scenery.

And, of course, the food. Salad Nicoise.

Traveling abroad solo

Traveling abroad solo

Day trip from Uzes to the Cevennes

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