I still craved a ride northwest of my homebase of Lauzun, but I found the huge ridge climb west of Eymet daunting.
The next Sunday, Ian and Sue were back from their holiday and game to cycle with me as far as Eymet. Okay, I told myself, this would be the day.
I would cycle with them westwards to the village of Eymet, leave them at the
Carrefour Market, climb up to the village of Rouquette, explore the plateau, check out Lac de l’Essourou, and then drop back down into Eymet to follow the Dropt river east and back into Lauzun village…
I took the climb out of Eymet slow and easy, and it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. The view of the Eymet valley from Rouquette was lovely, but I really enjoyed pedaling past immaculatedly-preserved stone barns on the plateau. They always had shutters, and the shutters were painted beautiful pastel tones of lilac, blue, and green
Cycling north and approaching the village of St-Eulalie-d’Eymet, I noticed that I was on the easternmost section of the Circuit Vignes et Vergers en Duraquois, a 102-km cycling route ( http://www.routeyou.com/fr-fr/route/view/61628/itineraire-a-velo/circuit-vignes-et-vergers-en-duraquois)
After a drop and then climb out of Le Gangoulege river, Lake Essourou appeared. Google Maps told me a road, D25E crossed it, so I gave it a try.
Lac de l’Essourou is circled by a walking trail, but bicycles aren’t permitted. Instead, I thought I’d try accessing the lake a different way. I crossed the lake, passed through St-Sulpice-d’Eymet, and entered another plateau.
Following a hunch, I turned onto a gravel road marked “Le Pauvert.” It did indeed lead to a group of fishers on the lake. Their poles were long and simple, and they told me they were fishing for “Gardons,” a small silver fish.
I loved the peacefulness of the plateau, but it was time to turn back. I enjoyed a long downhill past the settlement of Cogulot and entered Eymet from the west. A bridge was still decorated for Christmas.
At Eymet, I could have followed this tiny lane along the Dropt River, but being a Sunday, I decided to ride the “roadies’ route” on D25.
D25 was flat and fast, and my turn-off to cross the Dropt river came up quickly.
In the village of Serres-et-Montguyard, I slowed down to admire a pair of braces that stabilize hundred-year-old buildings.
Nearby, I also admired the way the clay roof tiles were cemented down, and the winter reds of the paint and vines.
Returning into Lauzun, I couldn’t help but once again stop and admire my favourite grove of trees. They seem mystical and peaceful to me, like a scene in a fairy tale.