My Day-trip Cycling in the Lot-et-Garonne

August 2007 - Steve Hamilton

Gibeau is surrounded by beautiful, gently rolling countryside, including miles of vineyards and fields of robust sunflowers the size of corn in Kansas. It is a cyclist’s paradise, offering a great variety of daytrips filled with wonderful discoveries and beautiful resting spots.

I began my daytrip renting a comfortable hybrid bicycle from the MBK store in nearby Duras. I purchased a local map and traced out a meandering ride on mostly back roads from Gibeau in a loop, with plenty of time for relaxing and taking in the scenery.

My first stop led me up a small side road to Monteton. Upon entering the Ninth Century Romanesque church there, I was treated to the morning sun’s rays filtering through the delicate stained glass windows. A lookout next to the church provided a stunning panoramic view of the entire valley.

I cycled on to Allemans-du-Dropt. A brief rain shower had me ducking into another local church, where I discovered its delicate 15th Century frescos. The medieval farmers and villagers who worshipped here would have recognized the figures on these walls to be people much like themselves. The once vibrant crimson, gold and white had softened to saffron, ochre and ivory. I sat in the stillness for several minutes, then headed out of town, crossing the lazy Dropt over a wonderful old bridge.

By the time I reached the bastide town of Eymet, I was ready for a break with a café au lait and a fresh pain au chocolat. I sat outside the café on one side of the square and took in its central fountain and the delightfully easy pace of late morning.

I headed leisurely back to Gibeau, just in time to hop into the pool for a refreshing dip. Then came a simple lunch – a fresh bâtard, pâtè, vibrant, sweet tomatoes and rose champagne – all purchased that morning at the farmer’s market in Duras. After it all, a well-deserved nap.

You can head in any direction on a bicycle from the house for a delightful outing and not get lost, thanks to the meticulous signage at virtually every highway and road crossing in this part of France. The possibilities are endless and the memories are forever.

Gibeau. An authentic country home for vacation rental in Southwest France. Inquire about availability