paca vers Avrilly en routes sinueuses
Picturesque route from the Ardeche basin into the Auvergne in mid France. A combination of mountain passes and tight switchbacks, best suited to GS riders only inasmuch that the road surfaces are not billiard table smooth. However, the scenery and views are stunning. Many photo opportunities will present themselves!
This is a great stretch of road. Heading south out of Le Puy on the N88 the road climbs out of the town and up onto the plateau. The first 35km or so to Pradelles offers good scenery, fairly straight smooth roads without too much traffic and make a nice warm up for what lies ahead. At Pradelles continue on the N88 towards Mende. The road ebbs and flows, rises and falls and generally gives a good 50km of smooth sweeping corners on an excellent road surface with some fantastic scenery (if youve got time to look). It peaks at 1264m at the Col de la Pierrre Plantee just south of Chateauneuf-du-Randon. The descent from the Col into Mende is briliant; the road starts with long open curves broken by occasional valley corner bends where you need to scrub off some speed and pop your knee down before batting off on the next part of the run down the hill. The further down you get, the better the corners are and once you pick up the valley of the river Lot and the railway line the corners come quicker and sharper. Mende itself was only a passthrough for me - lots of traffic lights and a dirty great one way system. Continuing out still on the N88 the road snakes its way back towards the A75 at Le Monastier Pin Mories. Still following the river Lot this road was busier and less impressive but formed the final leg of an excellent detour avoiding 115km of the A75 from Brioude.
A reasonable route into the Auvergne, coming off the A75 at Brioude and rising up into the hills. A good road surface, mostly straight with sections of dual carriageway at the Brioude end, followed by a few ups and downs then getting more interesting with more corners and better views as the road rises towatds Le Puy. Stay on the N102 to get into the nice town for good selection of food, hotels or just fuel and a coffee. Theres great views of the castle on the way in (photos to follow). From Le Puy theres 4 main routes out, all of which have good stories of their own to tell... Le Puys a good town to use as a base for day rides out.
Follow the N9 from Saint Flour to Loubaresse (its good to get off the A75) with a nice set of hair pin bends around the Viaduc du Garabits (touristy in summer) stop and take in the view or a boat trip. Film attached.
The section between thiers and Ambert sweeps through a long valley, high speed open corners everywhere. The southern section nearing le puy is fast and open but the scenery isnt so good. AS you approach le puy look for the huge statue of christ towering over the village, religious or not its an amazing sight.