Cycling Les Saintes Maries de la Mer

Submitted by mag on Mon, 07/04/2019 – 02:50
On Monday the weather was much cooler. We rode into town looking for the market but it turned out it was Tuesday, not Monday as the Tourist office said so we went to Intermarche and back for breakfast and then headed out for our ride. We planned on about a 40 km loop ride – the only ride recommended by the tourism office that did not require fat tires – with a ferry across the Petite Rhone near the beginning. The crushing weight of the heat combined with the overwhelming crowds was lifted and it was a beautiful day to be out riding.

We were finally able to fully appreciate the unique charm of the area and had a pleasant ride to the Bac du Savauge ferry. The tourism office said the ferry runs “often, all day until 8 pm” so we did not anticipate a problem… but when we arrived at the ferry it turned out it actually runs only on the half-hour and not between 12 and 1:30…. of course we arrived a few minutes after 12!

There was no shade or place to wait so our only option was to reverse the direction of the ride and take a shorter option. The ride, marked as a trail was actually along a fairly busy roadway – with fairly long stretches of no shoulder and a drop-off.

The traffic was not heavy but as always it seems whenever there was a large bus bearing down on us from behind, there was another big one coming in the opposite direction. After awhile to get off the main road, Jim/Google took us off on a “shortcut” which wound up being a rough sandy double track through farmers’ fields and then through rice paddies. Eventually we got to the bridge across the Petite Rhone… the only bridge in the area and very narrow and a lot of traffic… but once across we had a lovely ride on a quiet road along the west bank of the Petite Rhone back to the ferry. Waiting for the ferry we met a friendly German couple who offered to take our photo.

We had a late lunch & rest, and headed downtown around 7:30. The town was delightful in the evening without the heat and crowds and we strolled around before selecting the perfect restaurant at La Place de Jeanne under a spreading linden tree. Jim had gambas et choriso and I had aubergine au parmesan et pesto…. both were excellent and so was the regional Chardonnay! So was the apricot sorbet afterward! Feeling much more at home, and even a little welcome, here now than yesterday!

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