The story

From Besançon to Bordeaux

It was while browsing the Ducati website that I found this announcement that reignited the fire of adventure deep within me.

An announcement with an evocative name: Ducati 60,000 Km European Tour. I quickly applied, and a few weeks later I was at the Ducati dealership in Besançon, as happy as a clam as I loaded my gear into the saddlebags and finally settled into the saddle of the Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally. I had time to mature my road trip project: I was going to take a grand tour through the south of France, visiting iconic cities, legendary places, and traversing sublime roads. Originally a rider of roadsters, drawn like many other motorcyclists to the adventurous dimension of the trail segment. The change was radical; before mounting it, this powerful Italian behemoth impressed me, even frightening me with its dimensions. Challenge accepted, it was now time to ride the tiger. Much easier than I thought, the Multistrada V4 Rally is a gem of accessibility for any rider who would trust it.
So it was with a smile on my face that I began my descent, first on the national roads of Franche-Comté with its green meadows and fields, then on the highway to save time. The various protections the bike is equipped with make highway stretches less tiring, and the playful nature of the engine helps to alleviate the monotony of the three lanes. After passing Lyon, the landscape gradually changes, I see the first cypresses and olive trees which indicate my arrival in the south.
Once in Avignon, a splendid medieval city with a downtown surrounded by walls, I unpack my bags. Walking and riding around the center and the papal palace.

The next day, before leaving, I follow the Rhône to reach the path along the riverbanks; I’m treated to a breathtaking view of the city, the papal palace, and the Avignon bridge on the other side of the river. Later in the day, I reach Arles under a rainy sky. The motorcycle handles perfectly even in rainy weather. I tour the arenas, a Roman vestige of the city, and stroll through the center.

I had the opportunity to test the motorcycle in off-road mode as I made my way to the Château des Baux de Provence, high up in the Alpilles Regional Natural Park. At the top of the castle’s ruined keep on the cliff side, I had a breathtaking view of Provence; I could even make out the cranes at the port of Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea in the distance.
The next day, I set course for Béziers through the Camargue roads. The scenery of the salt marshes stretched around me as far as the eye could see. I stopped at Aigues-Mortes and Le Grau-du-Roi to see the sea and enjoy some prawns. I set off again, crossing the outskirts of Montpellier to finally arrive in Béziers, where I was to join the home of an old friend. I explored the city, its fortified cathedral, its charming downtown, and the day ended with a stroll along the banks of the Orb.

I left my friend early in the day to reach Carcassonne. I could distinguish on my left the first foothills of the Pyrenees that I would explore later in this adventure. The charming roads were surrounded by wildflowers and poppies, and I passed through beautiful villages with southern architecture. Once in Carcassonne, I was immediately captivated by the beauty of the majestic medieval city with its countless fortified towers. After a short off-road section that I would revisit later in the night, I toured the inner city and its keep.

My wanderings were far from over; after spending the night in Carcassonne, I headed for the Pyrenees through Cathar country. I embarked on an expedition with the idea of visiting all the mythical sites that dot these mountains. The kilometers passed as the bends in the road unfolded, and I experienced genuine driving pleasure on these high-altitude routes. I visited Rennes-le-Château, its church, and its presbytery steeped in mystery. I arrived at the castle of Arques.

Then, I had lunch in Bugarach to finally end the day below the castle of Montségur, the last Cathar stronghold during the Albigensian Crusades.
I couldn’t ride up to it, and only after a long ascent did I enter the ruins of the castle. Legend has it that the Holy Grail was hidden there; I, however, did not find it, but the view of the Pyrenees from the ramparts was magnificent. I resumed my journey to Foix where I spent the night. Before leaving the Pyrenees the next day, I visited the city museum and went to explore the Labouiche cave, which houses the longest navigable underground river in Europe. As I moved away from the mountains, I visited charming villages like Saint-Félix-Lauragais before reaching Toulouse.
It was the first time I visited the so-called “”Pink City,”” which turned out to be very pleasant and beautiful. On my last day, I drove through Aquitaine to reach the Ocean and the Arcachon basin. Thus, I had ridden from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. I resumed the road at dusk to reach Bordeaux.

I returned the motorcycle with which I had forged an exceptional bond during the journey to the Ducati Bordeaux dealership. I was warmly welcomed there, and I parted with the machine that had become my road companion not without a pang in my heart.

I thank once again the Ducati teams for trusting me and allowing me to live this beautiful adventure.

1716.2 km
7 days
Challenges 3/5
The stages

The stages

Find day after day the different stages and especially the GPX tracks that you can download

Day 1

Franois (FR) - Avignon (FR) Estimation : 470 km

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Day 2

Avignon (FR) - Arles (FR) Estimation : 87 km

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Day 3

Arles (FR) - Béziers (FR) Estimation : 177 km

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Day 4

Béziers (FR) - Carcassonne (FR) Estimation : 109 km

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Day 5

Carcassonne (FR) - Foix (FR) Estimation : 205 km

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Day 6

Foix (FR) - Toulouse (FR) Estimation : 140 km

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Day 7

Toulouse (FR) - Pessac (FR) Estimation : 278 km

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