The Pyrenees Part 7 – Is a discount still a discount if you drink it?

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    So it was time for the long ride home, I will try to keep it short and sweet as our adventures finally come to a conclusion…

    The first leg of our journey took us from Campan to a place called Limoges that I must confess that I had never heard of. We initially headed out on the D roads and while the riding was pleasant we simply were not covering the ground anything like quickly enough so it was time to hit the payage again and get some serious miles under our belt. Champs, who had fervently been against using them, craftily sneaked onto one and made us join him! To be honest this was the only time on the whole trip we had managed to lose each other which isn’t bad; believe me!

    Once in Limoge we were greeted by the sight of a pretty and vibrant town. The girl in the tourist office was extremely helpful and luckily originally hailed from Northern Ireland and obviously spoke English. We got a great deal with an Ibis in the middle of the town and she even tipped us off about a firework display in the town that night. Once settled in and freshened up, we met up in the Hotel bar promptly drunk it out of three types of beer…shades of the Assen run once more! What is with European hotels, do they only stock 8 bottles of any beer?? It also laid waste to our discount!

    Champs chilling on a arrival in Limoges

    Carefully ensuring the glass is held just so…Champs does his best Clint Eastwood Impression…

    We headed into town while they re-stocked, making a beeline for a Chinese buffet restaurant. Food, more beer equals happy bikers.

    Thumper only had one glass of beer with his meal…

    Or was it two…?

    Thumper then took us on a late evening route march around the town as we headed for the big firework display. It was in the grounds of large palace like building and we were hoping for something spectacular. In fact we got a very odd show with what looked like a huge metronome with loads of fireworks strapped to it being loosely controlled by blokes in overalls and welding masks while music boomed from what speakers they could persuade to work at any given time. We were a bit perplexed to say the least. The notion of crowd safety was interpreted as firing fireworks at us and the surrounding foliage, but the large crowd seemed to love it, so what do we know?

    Limoges, or very small bits of it…

    Next morning after a gentle start and decent breakfast we made our way to Lemans. The roads were not bad, well surfaced and some decent bends to play on for a while. But they were riddled with speed cameras. Andy and Champs shared leading duties and again we hit the payage to cover some serious ground.

    Once in Lemans we took in the museum at the 24 hour race circuit. I have to say it is superb having interesting cars and bikes on display tracing the history of the circuit and French motoring in general. It is worthy of a thread on its’ own. Many of the marquees I had never heard of and some I was seeing in the metal for the first time. It was also special to be so close to icons like the Ford GT40, Jaguar XJR9,  Porsche 917 and 986 race winning cars.

    Striking the pose in the Lemans museum

    This steam propelled motorbike was amongst the varied exhibits

    We struck another deal with a local Ibis hotel and then promptly blew the saving away merrily drinking into the evening outside on the hotel veranda as the warm evening sun kept us company. What a cracking night, but I must admit that the detail is a little…hazy…

    The last rest halt of our epic adventure

    Oh, OK, just a small one then…

    Something tickled Champs…

    So much for the discount…

    Next morning we made our way to Caen, riding steadily as if wanting to prolong what has been a brilliant trip. A minor hiccup when Thumpers BMW blew a headlamp bulb was quickly sorted and we got on the Ferry in good time. We had cabins which we initially thought was a waste when we booked them, but was in fact a masterstroke as it allowed us all to grab a good couple of hours kip in comfortable surroundings.

    So that’s that then, back to reality…

    Once off the Ferry we split into two groups, the Brummie lads and team Worcestershire and headed for home. Ses and I made cracking time; we were home in Kidderminster just as the last of the daylight was fading.

    1998 miles showed on the trip meter of my travel stained Yamaha, so many great memories to reflect upon and look back on in future years, it was epic.

    Thanks to Ses, Thumper and Champs for been such good company and where can we go next!?


    Sounds like you all had a total ball with all the money you saved on the ivis! :-D
    Some of those buildings look fantastic.  Looking forward to your thread on the 24hr Lemans museum too.

    I hope I am able to join you all on an adventure at some point,  I totally loved my trip.


    Limoges was a lovely place, didn’t really know what to expect before we turned up but it turned out to be a really nice place.

    The very odd fireworks display


    Yeah the brummie lads ended up a two brummie lads. Last I saw thumper he had took the wrong exit out of Oxford services and was headed the wrong way!

    Great trip!


    Just been watching a TV programme about the famous RAF 617 Dambusters squadron. It detailed some of the 100 raids they did after the famous dams mission of May 1943. One of them was to a massive aero engine factory in Limoges…you learn something everyday….


    Didn’t realise they had that aero engine factory. I stopped off at Limoges this August on the way to the Pyrenees too. Very nice town, highly recommend a visit if you’re going past it.


    Gnome-Rhône was a major aero engine builder for the French air force that was later used by the Germans to produce BMW engines for a variety of aircraft. It was their factory that 617 attacked

    Bloch 152 fighter that used engines produced at Limoges

    Messerschmitt Me232, a huge German transport aircraft that also used engines built there…nicknamed Gigant – or Giant
    Wikipedia picture

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