Day 6: Cycle route to Figeac**

This day brings with a strenuous climb, followed by beautiful ridge ride and then an exhilarating descent. This is followed by a an undulating route that is the ancient pilgrim way to the charming city of Figeac**. If you are a strong rider, and do not wish to spend the night in Figeac, you can continue on towards Cahors, spending the night in a small town.

Alternatively, you could eschew the Pilgrim experience and simply ride along the rivers.  From Conques, descend, ride north along the Dourdou on D901, then follow the Lot River on D42. Don’t cross the Lot at Port dÁgres; rather jog right and continue on D627 towards Livinhac-le-Haut. This runs into D72 and then into D21. Before the town at a crosswalk, turn sharply right onto D627 and follow it along the north bank of the Lot, until it intersects with D840. Then follow D840 along the Lot to Capenac, and over a big hill into Figeac*.

From Conques, walk your bike downhill until the road becomes two-way (at the “star” on the road). Now ride directly down the hill, You might decide to turn left where D550 starts to stay on D42 ignoring the do not enter sign and yielding to oncoming traffic. Or you could continue on D550 and double back along the river towhere D42 comes in. Cross the main highway, taking the tiny brick roadway between two building, and cross the narrow, medieval bridge. This is D232. A very steep climb (10 – 15% grades) of 370 meters (1200 feet) ensues. Stay left at km 3, and again at km 5 when you join D606 . At km 5.4 ignore the two small ways on the left.  At the T turn right onto D580 at about km 6.4, (or you may chose to turn left on D580 for 0.5 kilometer to visit Noailhac (gite, rooms), before riding uphill back to the intersection). Now ride for ten kilometers, on a ridge top with stunning long-views, among beautiful pastures. In one kilometer, on the right is a beautiful chapel and on the left a picnic area.

Pilgrims, or perhaps just long-distance hikers, near Noailhac

 (Note: The original pilgrim’s route bears off to the right on D183, but the bridge over the Lot River is no longer standing, and the views on D580 are superior.) 

A descent begins. At an intersection just after the village of Agnac, D580 turns sharply left, while D218 goes off to the right. Do not take D218 and do not follow D580 unless you wish to take a longer route to visit a large, not especially attractive, mining town with all services and with heavy traffic (and a train station 5 kilometers away). Rather, continue straight in the direction you were riding before on the lovely chemin des Crêtes, at first flat, and then up a slight hill. After 500 meters you begin descending, and in another 600 meters there is a Y. Go left and go left again at the next street (rue Eugene Viala), and continue straight. The small street street you are on curves 90 degrees to the left, and then, when it soon makes a 180 degree turn to the left, at 90 degrees you must make a sharp right turn  and continue downhill until you come to a stop sign.

Turn right on the main road (heading north) for 50 meters to where there is a left turn lane. Turn left here onto D21 (Sign: D21 Livinhac-le-Haut) and ride steeply downhill, crossing the Lot bridge into Livinhac-le-Haut (km 21, hotel, camping, gites, b&bs).

oute from Livinhac-le-Haut to Figeac

To follow the historic route, simply stay on D21 to Montredon (150 meter-gradual climb), now in the French department of Lot, (where highway D21 changes its name to D2), and follow rolling D2 until it ends at N140. Note: At the sign on D2 for Saint Felix, you can turn left and turn right in the village to regain D2, with no extra mileage. N140 (possibly moderate traffic) descends into Figeac** ( medieval center**, charm, many hotels including a deluxe hotel, camping, bites, B&Bs, train service). (The total distance from Conques to Figeac by this route is approximately 45 kilometers).

I do not recommend cycling from Figeac to Rocamadour**, an important religious site visited by pilgrims. The distance is only about 45 km but the highway has no shoulders or view, traverses some industrial areas near Gramat, and is essentially boring. From Figeac buses and trains run to and from Rocamadour – trains every 4 hours; prices are reasonable. So if you wish to visit Rocamadour, you can do so in a day and return to Figeac, to continue towards Cahors.

Link to Day 7: Cycle Route to Caberets and Pech Merle***