Ae8 mountain bikeAe8 mountain bike
©Ae8 mountain bike

AE mountain bike and canoe combo

to discover the Tarn Valley and Gorges

If canoeing down the Gorges du Tarn is a classic, mixing an ascent on an electrically-assisted mountain bike (VTT AE) with a canoe trip is a great idea for an outdoor day out. Nature, panoramic views, fresh air, sporting activities… Let’s go!

“I take to the road without asking myself too many questions about the previously insurmountable difference in altitude for me between the bottom of the gorges and the caussenard high plateaus.”

ATV AE, a first for me

Meet at the foot of Mostuéjouls at 9:30am, at the Sun-VTT-Canoë base. Easy handling of the mountain bike with Laurent’s good advice.
Left handle: manage the 3 levels of assistance from the electric motor. Right handle: change bike gears. Downloading the route onto your smartphone… To get started, I chose to stretch my legs on the blue route, the most family-friendly.

Straddling my new faithful steed, I attack my mountain bike ride! Heading for the hilltop village of Liaucous. And the first observation: if you don’t pedal, it doesn’t move. This is a bike, not a solex or a moped!

Despite the first climb, the assisted pedaling is very reassuring! We can do it!

Liaucous, a village full of character

First challenge: explore the magnificent village of Liaucous. And it’s certainly got character! It’s a bit of a challenge to walk along the calades, cobbled lanes laid out in donkey steps. Used to wedge the hooves of mules… and humans, the cobbles are great for wedging mountain bike wheels! It shakes, it shakes!”

This village is truly magnificent with its houses all in limestone, vaulted and in lauzes.

Return to the asphalt to descend via a small secondary road to Le Rozier and the confluence of the Tarn and Jonte.

The Vallée du Tarn is a little paradise for those who want to discover beautiful villages with character: Peyre, classified as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”, Peyreleau, “Petite cité de caractère”, as well as Compeyre and its wine cellars à fleurines, Peyrelade and its medieval castle, Mostuéjouls and Liaucous the 2 twin nuggets…

Sumptuous Gorges de la Jonte

From Le Rozier, we head up the Gorges de la Jonte. Squeeze right to admire 2 levels of panorama: the river below and the high, rectilinear Méjean cliffs above.

There’s rarely much water in the Jonte… and the passage above the “Chaussée du Rozier” calls for a swim (a short path leads down to it from the road).

On this part of the Jonte Gorges, the high cliffs are impressive in their mass and rectilinearity. Their orange color against a sky-blue background adds to the feeling of nature’s paradise… Climbers can be heard chattering away on the many climbing routes, watched over by the vultures that hover here and there.

For climbing enthusiasts, the Gorges du Tarn, de la Jonte and de la Dourbie offer hundreds of climbing sites, many of international renown.
Find out more at www.millau-sports-nature.fr or in the climbing topos on sale at Millau Tourist Office

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Challenge: climb the Causse Méjean by mountain bike

The charming hamlet of Truel, with its stone houses clinging to the low cliffs, marks the start of the climb up the CausseMéjean. The road becomes so narrow it feels like a track! Here, you need to select the higher electric assistance level, but don’t panic, there’s still 1 level left on the mountain bike!”

The succession of panoramas and viewpoints over the wild GorgesdelaJonte makes you (almost) forget the difference in altitude, and the bike’s assistance offers optimal viewing comfort! Each as breathtaking as the next. The vautours are getting bigger and bigger… or maybe it’s because we’re getting closer to them! It’s climbing hard!

Causse Méjean: giant natural pumptrack!

The summit and the Causse Méjean are here! Radical change of scenery: welcome to the Caussenarde pampas! I take the opportunity to make a short stop at St-Pierre des Tripiers, with its magnificent traditional stone houses. Another curiosity: a country elm classified as one of the “Arbres Remarquables de France“. Almost 6m in circumference with a 23m wingspan! It’s said to date back to Sully (XVII°)!

The walk continues by crossing this tip of the Causse Méjean with a succession of up and down false flats, little curves. You’d think you were on a giant’s pumptrack! No real difficulties, but fatigue is not far off… At the same time, my muscles aren’t really honed for pedaling. Not everyone is Marine Cabirou! (our local mountain bike world champion).

Electrically-assisted mountain biking, Rando VTT, Enduro, Randuro, cyclo, gravel… welcome to Millau and the Grands Causses. Find all our routes, all our pros and even à la carte stays!

The Gorges du Tarn on the horizon

Before attacking the descent onto LesVignes, spot the small blue MTB marker n°31 at the roadside. Commit to a few meters off-circuit under the trees. Wow! An exceptional panorama of the Gorges du Tarn awaits you.

You can even start scouting your route by canoe. Les Vignes is just below, well a few hundred meters below, at the foot of the causse. Better to go by road, the walk is a bit high here!

The winding descent is pleasant and bucolic. The views over the enfilade of the Gorges du Tarn are breathtaking.
The only difficulty, you’re happy, you’re smiling… but don’t forget to keep your mouth shut to avoid “biker teeth” syndrome!!!

AE mountain biking experience validated!

The great thing is that electric assistance has opened up opportunities for exploring the Gorges du Tarn and the Grands Causses by bike and mountain bike that I’d never imagined.I’m off and running, not wondering too much about the previously insurmountable height difference between the bottom of the gorges and the Causse highlands.

The comfort of the saddle allows me to make the most of the scenery, the scents of thyme and wild thyme, the birds of prey…

Next time, I’ll try out the red route, which is a little more challenging on the Causse de Sauveterre trails! But for now, it’s canoe time.

From mountain bike to canoe

Laurent is there on the banks of the Tarn with our canoe and picnic. Electric-assist mountain bike swapped for hand-paddled canoe! Eager to get out on the water, the picnic is stored in a watertight canister and loaded onto the canoe! The lunch break awaits a beautiful little pebble beach, isolated in the middle of nature.

I invite you to follow the rest of this adventure ICI.

Descending the Tarn or Dourbie Gorges by canoe is a must-do for the destination. An activity to share with family and friends, adults, children and dog together!

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