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Fitness
Bicycle Ride

Martel loop via Collonges la Rouge

Bicycle Ride · Midi-Pyrénées
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Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Looking back to Martel
    / Looking back to Martel
    Photo: Angus Smith, Macs Adventure
  • The cemetery outside Martel
    / The cemetery outside Martel
    Photo: Angus Smith
  • Signage at 2.90km and 30.50km
    / Signage at 2.90km and 30.50km
    Photo: Angus Smith, Macs Adventure
  • Typical scene
    / Typical scene
    Photo: Angus Smith, Macs Adventure
  • Chateau Cavagnac
    / Chateau Cavagnac
    Photo: Angus Smith, Macs Adventure
  • Collonges La Rouge
    / Collonges La Rouge
    Photo: Angus Smith, Macs Adventure
  • / Collonges la Rouge
    Photo: Angus Smith, Macs Adventure
  • / Sign at 16.40km
    Photo: Angus Smith, Macs Adventure
  • / Collonges La Rouge from the East
    Photo: Angus Smith, Macs Adventure
  • / Collonges La Rouge from the South
    Photo: Angus Smith, Macs Adventure
0 150 300 450 m km 5 10 15 20 25 30 Medieval Martel Collonges-la-Rouge Cavagnac Castle

A testing route through glorious countryside to the rose red village of Collanges de Rouge and back.

moderate
33.4 km
4:30 h
480 m
475 m

This challenging route sees you heading north out of Martel, past the villages of Les Quatre Routes du Lot, Cavagnac and Saillac before climbing your way up to the red sandstone village of Collonges la Rouge. This remarkable village is officially one of the prettiest in France, and is a delightful place to spend a couple of hours exploring, or to have lunch in one of the many fine restaurants. You will then return by a slightly different route down to the valley floor before making your way back up and over to Martel.

Author’s recommendation

Collonges La Rouge – officially one of the prettiest villages in France -  is easily the highlight of this trip, and you will not be able to resist spending time exploring the many traffic free roads and back streets, and the numerous high end arts and crafts shops that the village is famous for.

outdooractive.com User
Author
Angus Smith
Updated: August 03, 2018

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
314 m
Lowest point
123 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

There are some testing hills on this route, particularly on the return leg and you will need to be reasonably fit to tackle these. Aside from one section, you will be on roads all the way, and while they are mostly quiet backroads, it is essential you take great care and be aware of any oncoming traffic. Locals drivers are used to cyclists however, and tend to be courteous and give you plenty of room.

There is one section quite early in the route (just after the cemetery on the outskirts of Martel) which consists of a rough forest track. You will also use this section on your way back. While it is perfectly safe, it is a rough track and care must be taken, especially when going downhill. This section will be particularly tricky during spells of wet weather.

Collonges la Rouge does get extremely busy with tourists. We therefore recommend that you dismount your bike on entering the village and push, rather than try and cycling between the crowds of easily distracted pedestrians.

Equipment

All normal cycle equipment and outdoor gear is required. In particular cycle gloves, waterproof jacket, a warm layer, bottle of water, and food for the day.  A helmet and padded cycle shorts are highly recommended along with suncream. 

Tips, hints and links

There are a couple of small grocery stores in Martel town centre and a large supermarket on the outskirts of town should you need to stock up for the day with food and water. As mentioned earlier, this is a testing route so plenty of liquids and some snacks are essential.

You can restock in Les Quatre Routes du Lot, where you will find a couple of grocery stores on the main street, and there is a café/restaurant in Saillac about 13km into your route.

You will not be short of eating and drinking options once you reach Collonges la Rouge, where there a numerous cafes and bars to choose from.

There is a pharmacy and a post office just North of the Place de Consul in Martel, about 5 minuntes walk from the Office de Tourisme.

Mobile reception is generally good in the urban areas, but patchy at best in the countryside

 

 

This cycle is included in the following itineraries:

ESGCDSTR

Start

Office de Toursime, Martel (234 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
44.936784, 1.608750
UTM
31T 390227 4976869

Destination

Office de Toursime, Martel

Turn-by-turn directions

As the route starts in the mediaeval town centre with its rabbit warren of streets, the directions are all very close together. I have therefore not included distances until you reach the church on the edge of the town.

 

0.00km – From the Office de Tourisme, Head through the arch and into the Place de Consuls. TURN LEFT and head to the corner where the restaurant Saveurs des Halles is located.

 - At the corner TURN LEFT again, and then Immediately right down the small street named Du Gueslan which runs down the side of the restaurant.

 - At the end of this short street TURN LEFT and head down past the large church at the ned of the road.

 

0.30km -  At the bottom of the slope and next to the church, carefully cross the road and TURN LEFT. Cross the main road and continue through the gap in between the buildings opposite. This is a pedestrian and cycling section only and there is a blue sign indicating so. Head through the barriers and continue to the school. BEAR LEFT at the school.

0.50km – After the school, BEAR LEFT onto the tarmac road. And head up to the cemetery you see ahead.

0.75km – TURN RIGHT immediately after the cemetery and head down the tarmac road. This will lead onto a rough forest trail which can be difficult to cycle on, especially in wet conditions. Please take your time particularly on the occasional downhill sections. For the most part, you will be climbing up on this section however.

2.00km – At of the top of the slope the forest track will come to an end and will join a narrow tarmac road. Here, you should BEAR LEFT onto the tarmac road.

2.90km – At the crossroad, go STRAIGHT ON following the signs to La Roquette. Stay on the tarmac road ignoring all side roads.

4.00km – At the fork, BEAR LEFT following the signs for La Roquette. This is easy to miss as the instinctive thing to do is to keep straight on, so please ensure you follow this direction carefully. You will be heading down hill for the next 2km, and the temptation is to pick up great speed. However, please keep your brakes covered and be aware of oncoming traffic.

6.3kkm – At the small hamlet of Stranquels BEAR RIGHT following the signs to Les Quatre Routes du Lot. Note that there is a road on your sharp right which is not the one you want. Head downhill on the D11.

6.60km – BEAR LEFT at the junction and head downill, ignoring the road to the right to Le Carlat.

8.00km – At the junction just our side the village of Les Quatre Routes du Lot, TURN RIGHT and head into the village. Note that his can be a busy road.

8.20km – Immediately after crossing the railway line TURN LEFT and head around to the right into the car park. There is a no entry sign here, but it only refers to cars. Continue through the car park and up to the main road at the end.

8.60km – When the sign for Cavangac, TURN RIGHT and head along the D32. You have fine views of the Roman Church up on the hill to your left as you cycle along.

10.00km – Here – beside the small house - is where we start our loop up to Collonges la Rouge. You will be arriving back here from the right, but for now you should continue STRAIGHT ON.

12.20km – At the crossroads, go STRAIGHT ON and cross the D87, following the signs for Saillac.

13.00km – In the village of Saillac, continue STRAIGHT ON following the D28 to Brive. There is a lovely café/restaurant opposite and arts and crafts gallery just up ahead which may be worth checking out. At the top of the slope, TURN RIGHT and follow the signs again to Brive.

13.50km – This time ignore the signs to Brive and BEAR RIGHT down the hill following the signs for La Bertine.

14.60km – TURN LEFT at the T-Junction, and then after less than 50m TURN RIGHT down the hill following the sign for La Souteyrie. You will have wonderful views of the village ahead as you head down the slope.

15.10km – Ignore the No Entry sign at the bottom of the slope and head STRAIGHT ON. Again you should see the village in the distance. Follow this road up and into the village.

16.20km – Once you come to the next junction in the village, TURN RIGHT and head up the slope. It can be very busy with tourists here so you may wish to dismount.  In any case, you want to be parking up and go exploring this charming red sandstone village which dates back to the 12th century. When you are ready to head off again, you need to find yourself in the small square beside the church. At the risk of removing all the romance from the situation, you will see the public toilets from there.

16.40km – From the square behind the church, head down the new tarmac road. Do not go as far as the car park, but TURN RIGHT beside the toilets, and follow this new road around to the left. Continue between the red buildings until you reach some wooden bollards where you will see a blue sign with a yellow arrow (see images).

16.50km – At the blue sign, TURN RIGHT and head down the narrow tarmac road away from the village. It’s worth stopping on the way down for some great photo opportunities of the village behind you. Stay on the tarmac road down the hill.

18.10km – At the fork, BEAR RIGHT and follow the signs to La Raze.

18.40km - BEAR RIGHT again at the fork, and head over the small bridge. After the bridge, TURN LEFT following the signs for La Fouillade.

19.30km – At the junction with the main road and next to the small yellow post box, TURN RIGHT onto the main road.

20.50km – When you see the stone cross, TURN RIGHT at the junction and follow the signs Fradrasse. This next section is downhill, and on some lovely smooth tarmac. When smooth tarmac ends, and the track becomes rough you should ready yourself for the next turn.

22.10km – At the junction (soon after the smooth tarmac finishes), TURN RIGHT beside the large house on your right. It would be very easy to continue straight on here.

22.60km - At the next junction with a house at each corner, go STRAIGHT ON. Continue STRAIGHT ON through the next crossroads approximately 300m ahead. This will take you down to the junction you will recognise where you started your loop to Collange de Rouge.

23.40km – At the junction where the loop started, TURN LEFT and head past the village of Cavagnac and into Les Quatre Routes du Lot.

24.90km – On entering the village, TURN LEFT and head down to the main road. Before reaching the main road, TURN RIGHT into the car park, head to the end and TURN LEFT.

25.20km – TURN RIGHT and head over the railway line.

25.40km – TURN LEFT following the signs for Stranquels. You will be climbing steadily over 1.5kms here.

27.00km – At the small village of Stranquels, go STARIGHT ON up the hill following the signs to La Roquette.

29.40km – At the top of the climb, BEAR RIGHT onto the wider tarmac road. The worst of the hills are now behind you.

30.40km – Go STRAIGHT ON at the crossroads, following the small blue sign to Martel.

31.40km – BEAR RIGHT down the first track, following the blue sign. Please take care here as the track is rough and the downhill sections can be difficult to negotiate. This will eventually take you onto a tarmac road and out beside the cemetery.

32.7km – At the cemetery, TURN RIGHT and head back towards the village. After roughly 200m TURN RIGHT and cycle past the school. After the school BEAR RIGHT and head towards the main road again.

33.00km – Carefully cross the main road, and TURN RIGHT up the narrow road beside the church (keeping the church on your left). Continue up the slope until you get to the short street named De Gueslin (!?). TURN RIGHT here, then left into the square at the end.

33.40km - Immediately TURN RIGHT and head along to the Office de Tourisme where you route for today ends.

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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Difficulty
moderate
Distance
33.4 km
Duration
4:30 h
Ascent
480 m
Descent
475 m
Loop Scenic With refreshment stops Cultural/historical value

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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