Monday, 2 February 2015

Col de Panisser

Crossing the Pyrenees with a strong pair of knees without the aid of special Pyrenean boots...

We was very concerned about our crossing from France to Spain and ummed and aarghed and finally decided to follow the ancient route through the Col de Panisser which the Romans made into a road all them years ago. Now it is part of the Pyrenexus cycle route which joins France and Spain in the Pyrenees.
There was little arguments at a lot of these junctions.... "This is where we've been!" " This is where we're going!" "Are you sure?"  ....

So this cycle route we found is part of the Eurovelo 8. We met it somewhere between Maureillas and Argeles sur Mer. It basically follows the D618. We went through Le Boulou to Maureillas and followed the signs.

It's a beautiful ride through the woods and we didn't really notice a climb. It goes gently and steadily up. There is a couple of steep climbs in a village with some stray horses cheering you on, couple of hundred metres or so. And then it's kind of flat along the top and really beautiful all the way up to the ancient Roman Fort, some ruins and lovely views into Spain and France.

We had been forwarned about the Spanish side of the cycle route, that it was rough and steep and not really completed with some bridges missing and rough surfaces. And so it was, here is the border between France and Spain, where the perfect, new cycle path ends and the dirt track starts.

We took one look around the corner and knew it wasn't suitable for us, a well steep track with pot holes and gravel and then two 4x4 came blatting round the corner on a jolly.

So we took the road to Le Perthus.

Downhill! Quite steep, so we were glad we were going down and that we were on a tarmaced road.

In Le Perthus we took the road. It was full of people busy shopping for cheap beer, fags and clothes. What lovely thing to do on a Sunday....

We took the D900, which has a fine hard shoulder. The lorries aren't allowed to drive on Sundays in France so the traffic wasn't too bad. All the lorries were parked up in La Jonquera, waiting for Sunday to end. Here there are 5000 parking spaces for lorries and the whole place was full of truck drivers, sitting on the pavements, smoking, drinking, waiting for Monday.

In la Jonqeira we followed the route through the 'city centre', to get off the main road and then at the end of the long village that it is, we crossed over the main road to Agullana we wiggled our way round the back roads, through the pretty country side to Pont de Molins where we took the main road again into Figueres.
The landscape was a bit weird, due to the fire that raged through the whole region of Figueres a few yers ago.

Here's a map of the route we took on Bike Map. We hope it works, sometimes it does for us and sometimes it doesn't. It's recently been improved, so it doesn't work as well any longer.

Route 2,853,591 - powered by

To go back into France we might look for another route, because we don't fancy that 17% climb up to the Fort and we're curious explorers.

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