Vélorail - a very French idea
As the slogan says - "fun for all the family from 7 - 70 (and a bit)"
Off the A 75 at Sainte Eulalie de Cernon
An abandoned railway has been given a new lease of life by Velorail. Small railway wagons fitted with pedals allow you to glide down this fascinating track, through tunnels and over viaducts and all with breathtaking views of the valley de Cernon and the hills, rock outcrops and even cattle grazing in the fields. It also runs through what amounts to a nature reserve - all seen from these small railcars in close to silence.
2 routes are on offer - up-hill "les Papillons" is for the hearty as it is quite a pedal uphill - though coming back down is fun.
In the other direction - "les Orchidees" is pretty pedal free after the first 300 meters and then a delightful glide down hill. And the bonus is - a train will come down after you and take you back to the top! We left at 11.ish and got back at around one o'clock - good value for €16 we thought and after working up an appetite - well judged for lunch - how very French.
End of the line - next the return journey - no pedaling - just a gentle ride back to the top with a loco doing the work. There are seats inside the "engine" if you like that sort of thing.
At the lower end of the line the old station has been renovated and you can buy snacks, crepes and drinks to enjoy until the loco comes down and takes you back up to the start of the journey.
Each "car" has 2 pedaling positions and an easy seat for 2 more passengers. Even if you are not a rail fan you will enjoy it - not an anorak zone at all.
Over a viaduct and into the welcoming cool of one of the 4 tunnels
And a great bonus is Sainte-Eulaie de Cernon - fine fortified town
and not far from the Millau viaduct - if you have friends to entertain
Booking a good idea as the trips run in batches - full details on the website - just 2 trips a day out of season but 4 or more in the summer.
www.veloraildularzac.com or phone 05 65 58 72 10
FRANCE 24 takes a look at some of the special cultural and sporting highlights happening…