I was thinking of an area of the Correze to take my Dutch friend on a cycling tour to show case how varied this lovely cycling region of France can be. Most cyclists are unaware of what the region has to offer for those looking for a road biking holiday in France. After much deliberation i decided a Monedieres fietstocht (a Bike tour of the Monedieres) in the Monedieres National Park would be perfect to show my friend that the Correze is not just Argentat and the Dordogne gorges,
The forecast was for clear blue skies ( max 11c ) albeit with a stiff cool northerly wind, so pretty much perfect for an end of winter ride around this wild and beautiful part of France. To make the day more relaxing we decided to drive to Correze village which is about 20 minutes from our base. The plan was to make a loop including Cheumiel , Treignac and the Suc au May (908m).
After a steep warm up climb out of the village we had a bracing ride up to Cheumeil against the biting wind, with the hope being that the very rustic and traditionally French cafe beside the church was open for a warm up cafe. We were in luck, it was Monday and often lots of cafes and restaurants are closed, but we even sat outside out of the wind in the warm sun contemplating the climb up to the Col de Lestards (856m).
After a few photos at the top and enjoying the view over the hills and mountains in the distance we set off on the very fast and thrilling 10km decent to Treignac and lunch. I called ahead and luckily my favourite cafe was open, but unfortunately plat du jour was tete de veau ( not always the best choice !!) but the chef was very happy to cook us Limousin steak and Frites, followed by a homemade tart and cafe. Fuelled and warmed up we were ready for more climbing up to the Suc au May (908m).
A 7 km climb with a max gradient of about 8% was enough keep us warm as the temperature started to fall later in the afternoon. Again, after a few more photos and taking in the wonderful views we put on our gillets to provide a little bit of wind protection against the cold ( 4c at the top !!) on our 2nd long fast decent of the day back down through St Augustin and to Correze.
At the end of our Monedieres Fiestocht (just got to get in my Dutch) we were ready for a coffee with the cake Sam made for us. Unfortunately, this time the cafe was closed !!, well it was Monday in France.
It was very pleasurable day and a very good showcase of what differing terrain the Correze has to offer for anyone choosing it as a French cycling holiday or tour destination,