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France - Day 10 : The end of the journey south

We left early to cycle from the Ventoux to Marseille, the last part of our journey South. We had planned to cycle straight through Marseille before trying to find a campsite 20 km further South in Cassis. I had already noticed a big mountain between Bedoin and the Mediterranean sea on the map. When we reached it, we saw two people cycling with a Bob, a kind of trailer for bikes. We didn't know how high the mountain was before starting. It took us over an hour to get to the top. It was nice to add another col to our list.

col de murs

Col de Murs was not an easy one

col de murs

At the top were a bunch of Swedish or Danish people, all with bikes of uncommon brands.

We passed the town Apt, after which another climb started. Halfway up, we ate in the shade and drank most of our water. We would reach the next village around noon when all stores would be closed. That meant we wouldn't have water until one or two o'clock. After our break, we quickly reached the end of the climb.

col du pointu

Col du pointu, the second col of the day

col du pointu

Descends make your hair stand up, as you can see here 

The route we followed during the rest of the day was very nice. We cycled through forests with yellow rocks and pine, exactly like you would expect in the Mediterranean. It was very sunny, but not super warm. Fortunately we found a tap to refill our water bottles.

Just after Cadernet was another fruit stand. We had yet again drank all our water and were very thirsty. The shed had a soda machine from which Bram got a can of apple juice. I also wanted something to drink so threw in a coin, which the machine didn't register. The lady behind the counter saw, but didn't do anything. When some French people came in she ran up the help them. Bram and I stayed near the soda machine to make our case. Eventually she came to help. I explained what had happened but she didn't believe us. Then she threw in a coin and it also didn't come out. Instead of giving us a drink or our money back she just went back behind the counter. We bought two apples which were 1.46, so I asked if she could deduct the Euro I lost to the machine. After the lady told us ten times they were 1.46 and I had told her ten times that I would only pay 0.46 she finally gave in and gave me my drink. I didn't really care about the money, I was just extremely thirsty. Then we went on our way again while eating the apples. 

We were on schedule to arrive in Marseille in the evening. We reached a roundabout packed with cars, it had 5 exits and two lanes. Next to it were at least 3 supermarkets and many other stores. I had another look at our route while Bram entered a story to find some dinner, but not before giving me his pocket knife. There was a lot of security and Bram's inability to speak French wouldn't have helped if he needed to explain why he carried a knife into a supermarket. The store was so big it was impossible to quickly buy something, but eventually he succeeded. The rest of the route to Marseille passed over two-lane roads filled with cars, exits, and roundabouts. We entered Marseille via the city Septemes. Then finally we saw the official border of the city.

The border of marseille

The sign indicating the border of Marseille

Cycling to Marseille

It was still light out when we arrived.

After celebrating reaching Marseille, we had to pay attention. Everywhere were cars, traffic signs, and potholes. At some point, we got lost and reached a six-lane road. After a traffic sign, it split into three lanes. We could only pick the middle because of a wall and the massive amount of traffic. Suddenly the road went uphill with concrete walls on either side. There were three signs, maximum speed 30 km/h, forbidden for trucks, and no cyclists allowed. We didn't know what to do, there was no place to turn around or even stop. Because of the noise, we also couldn't talk to each other. We just kept going, not knowing where we would end up. Fortunately, it wasn't a highway. We tried to cycle the maximum speed of 30 km/h and got off at the nearest exit. From there on, we managed to leave Marseille relatively easily. We at a brioche bread with some 'miel' and then continued to Cassis.

The road to Cassis was still a bit hilly, but more gradual. The people there were all waving and taking pictures. I think they had never seen cyclists before.

sunset over marseille

On top of the first hill we had a nice view over Marseille


Closer to Cassis we saw the cliffs there.


The Tour de France had come through here this year

We quickly found a campsite in Casis, but it was full. We continued to the centrum via a very steep descend. There we searched for other campsites, but there were none. Leaving the village took a lot of effort, because the road went up by 15%. We returned to the same campsite as before to ask if they really couldn't find a spot. We hadn't even gotten off our bikes yet before someone asked if we wanted to sleep there, so there was still space after all.


We were assigned a spot that already had two tents on it. In one of them was a guy that seemed to be a hiker. The campsite owner told us the people that owned the other tent had left without paying. I asked if we could take their tent down, so we had room for ours. 'Yes, just throw it in the corner', the guy said, 'but it will be hard to take down'. We indeed struggled as the soil was filled with rocks. The pegs we were trying to take out were completely wrapped around the rocks. The tent was also pitched badly, with ropes tied to twigs and way too few pegs. We considered just cutting the tent apart to make it easier, but decided against it. We found a jeu de boules set, a hamer, two bags and four bottles of water underneath the tent. It seemed strange to just leave those behind. I was happy with the pegs and a hammer, because the pegs belonging to my tent wouldn't be nearly strong enough to drive into the rocky soil.

Before we went to sleep we went to the campsite's restaurant. We ordered two Chimay beers. I said 'they will probably be expensive, like 4 euros a piece'. I was exactly right. They were tasty, though.


There were two big cols in today's route, but they were easy compared to crossing Marseille.

Daily distance 162.57 km

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