Day 26, 16 6 2013, Le Grau-du-Rei to Agde

The Lonely Planet described the area where we stayed last night as “a collection of traditional Mediterranean fishing villages”.

What we found was a 40Km long strip of tourism development, about five city blocks deep in four-storey apartment blocks, hotels, restaurants, cafes and other retail.

Unfortunately, as we left our excellent Cap Mediterranean apartment we had a slight issue with the hotel.  They had sold us a 5E token that would not work for the washing machine, the machines no longer use the tokens.  When I tried to return it the manager said he did not have the authority to do that.  While this sort of thing is stunningly trivial, it irritates beyond all understanding.  At home I would challenge such stupidity, but my French is not up to that. The number of tourism enterprises that antognise their clients with trivial additional charges continues to amaze me.

There were hundreds of thousands of people in this area this weekend.

In some ways the area is a pleasant surprise, this is an area for ordinary people, not the glitterati, and yet there are areas of excellent design including the architecture, access and landscaping.  It is a far cry from the ghastly Belgian developments of homogeneous four-storey apartment blocks close to the busy road that separates them from the North Sea.

We rode slowly through the complex of footpaths and bikepaths along the waterfront for around 20Km.

The quality of the bikepaths is excellent and somewhat surprising after the last few days.  We have left Provence and are now in Languedoc, which might explain some of the difference.

At one point we found we were on a really excellent new bikepath on the way to Montpellier. However, we did not want to go to Montpellier.

We spent a lot of time with our Michelin road atlas trying to figure out what to do.  TomTom wasn’t much use as it doesn’t have most of the bikepaths.  Thankfully we met a number of helpful people.

The problem is that this part of the country is full of lakes and canals, and if you make a mistake you can’t easily correct it.

The towns and villages are centred on the water and canals, and they are very attractive.

We did see a large number of flamingos in the lakes, something I didn’t expect to see in France.

Towards the end of the day we were dumped into the oncoming lane of a major road.  There was no warning, and we were not the only ones confused.

For all that, it was a good day.  There was a lovely cool sea breeze that favoured us and interesting things to see, albeit mostly man-made.

We got in a bit late into Agde due to the navigational issues, and found a hotel using TomTom’s hotel database.  The hotel is OK, very basic two-star, and overpriced.  We have a problem here.  We would like to use Tripadvisor or some such program to find out about accommodation, but the data charges are so enormous, it is cheaper to pay the occasional premium price.

107Km for the day, some of them unnecessary.

This will be posted a day late as the wifi at our overpriced hotel doesn’t work either

Roz says

Have to mention top dinner on the promenade, anise apretif, moules (mussels) and fresh fish.


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