Biking to Work in the South of France | Lunel
While working at Discover France a handful of summers ago, I had the opportunity to work in our French office based in Lunel. One of the weeks I spent in Lunel, Lunel had its local fête or festival, La Pescalune. Because La Pescalune involves black bulls and white horses running through the streets multiple times a day, I decided to bike to work for the duration of the festival to avoid any risk of having a car parked along the festival route.
From the Hotel
The cars sped along the curving road as I cautiously merged into the bike lane, careful not to fall in front of the tiny French cars (or occasional lumbering trucks). My route continued straight, and as I rode I passed a ‘secret’ garden hidden behind 12 foot walls. Through the high iron gates of the entrance, I would catch a fleeting glimpse of a walkway lined with huge sycamore trees leading to the doorway of an old manor as I cycled past. The green ceramic roof of a greenhouse peeked above the walls from the inside.
I would pass a pharmacy in an old limestone brick building with modern gray lettering and new windows and think, “If I ever have to use a pharmacie while I am here, that is where I will go because it is the cutest.”
Lunel Viel would end and I would come upon my first roundabout. A horse farm arrived on my right and a large industrial building on my left, the center of the rondpoint filled with lavender. If I was lucky and no smoking diesel car passed me, I could smell the lavender as I rode on, the Provençal scent floating me a bon courage through the wind. Next, I rode past vineyards. There were no grapes on the vines in July but, seeing as I didn't come from a wine growing area, merely seeing the rows of grapevines seemed special to me. To add to it, great trees lined the road, making for the most picturesque portion of my route.
Finally, I would pass through the last roundabout of my route and arrive en ville. I had to take a few precarious turns along a very thin, fenced-in sidewalk which forced me to be much more confident in my biking skills as the days went on, but I never fell and would continue to pass the bike shop and then arrive at Impasse Alphonse Menard. Although the first two days I mistook the little road of our office for a driveway (it is nestled between two buildings on an already small, apartment lined street), I soon recognized that this little route led me to work. Two windows and an antique gray door, first floor of a two story building, bikes locked up out front; oui, je suis arrivee.
“Bonjour!” Misk. Misk. Misk. Three kisses to say hello (left, right, left in southern France). “Ça va?” And so my days in France began!
Edited from the original version first posted on Discover France's blog here.