Cycle the Region
With Leigh and Merry Foster
Argelès sur Mer to Laroque des Albères
|Total length : 11km|
Difficulty : easyMaking the most of some of the beautiful weather we had recently, we decided to get our bikes out again. We enjoy cycling in the UK, but France is SO much prettier and has better tracks
We travelled a very small part of the long-distance EuroVelo 8 (EV8) cycle route, an extremely ambitious project being built to connect Athens to Cadiz in Spain! You can see the route as it exists now (parallel to the D618 Argelès sur Mer to Le Boulou road), and what else is planned, on OpenCycleMap.
Some of the dotted ‘planned’ route between Argelès and Sorède has recently been finished, so we decided to check it out. It is for cyclists and also walkers, if you prefer, and is very well marked with road signs and arrows, but so far only a few signposts tell you where you’re going. Note there are lots of river crossings, so probably not one for a rainy day!
We started our ride in Collioure but, while stunningly beautiful, that’s not part of the EV8. We joined the actual track in Argelès near the railway station. Take the road towards Sorède under the railway bridge. Turn right in front of the cemetery and then almost immediately left again onto the Chemin du Roua.
This takes you through the housing estate on the edge of Argelès, towards the river Massane and the Argelès bypass. Go under the road bridge and double back on yourself. Immediately after that, stay on the Chemin du Roua where it turns right towards the picturesque 4-star Auberge du Roua.
Follow the road around the Auberge and continue for about 300 metres where the path crosses the Massane to your right. This is a beautiful spot to stop and just enjoy the peace of the countryside or cool your feet in the river under shady trees listening to the singing crickets and cicadas.
Shortly after this the path meets the D2 main road from Sorède to Argelès. Turn left here and cross the road, where you turn right into the Chemin d’Oliu, leading northwest again through the olive groves, vines and shady trees.
The path zigzags around a few scattered villas and continues west, another 1-1/2 km towards Vinya Vell on the outskirts of St André. There you cross another narrow road, Chemin de la Pave, and after 400 metres the path criss-crosses over the small stream “El Milossa” on a series of new bridges and passages à gué (pronounced “gay” and not “gooay”, as Kate corrected us).
On the far side of the stream you pass a few more isolated villas, before meandering west again for about 1 km where you reach the Chemin de St André. Turn left here and follow the road markings through the new houses, then turn right towards the ford across the rivière de Sorède. Continue past the Sorède sports hall until you reach the D11 road from Sorède to Palau del Vidre.
Cross the road and continue following the path westwards about 1km across the vineyards.
There are many right-angle bends so it’s not a high speed route! After crossing the tiny Chemin de la petite Gabarre, you reach the larger Rue de Gabarre where, for now, the new path and direction markings end.
Turn left towards Sorède village centre, and if you want to continue on to Laroque des Albères, turn right off the road after about 200 metres, by the farmer’s water pump, and take the road intriguingly known by Google Maps as Riba d’Ases. This will eventually be added as part of the EV8 again if OpenCycleMap is to be believed.
After the passage à gué you come to the D50 Avenue des Baléares. Turn left here, departing from the future EV8, and climb the gentle hill to the charming village of Laroque des Albères where you will find several very good places to rehydrate – always important after a bike ride!
To return to Argelès, you can ride down to the existing EV8 which is also easy, but not quite so pretty. In any case, happy cycling!