Transy's Tour de France: History and Culture of the Languedoc
Travel Dates: April 27-May 12
Instructors: Brian Arganbright, Sharon Brown
Number of Students Enrolled: 17
Location: France


23 W Lexington, 314 Haupt Humanities 10 a.m.-noon

Arganbright: Overview of French History
Brown: Components of Fitness/Cardiovascular Function and Adaptation to Exercise
24 Th Lexington, 314 Haupt Humanities 10 a.m.-noon

Arganbright: Overview of French Society and Institutions
Brown: Acute and Chronic Cardiovascular Adaptations to Exercise
25 F Lexington, 314 Haupt Humanities 10 a.m.-noon

Arganbright: Frenchness and the French: Myths and Misconceptions
Brown: Metabolic Adaptatons to Exercise (Acute and Chronic)
26 Sat


27 Sun Lexington/Cincinnati flight to Paris

Air France flight 8701, 6:50 pm. Our bus from Transy to the airport will leave from the front of Beck Center at 2:30 pm.
28 M Arrive in Paris, flight to Montpellier, bus to Bézier.

Get settled in hotel. Pick up bicycles and have them fitted. Sightseeing opportunities
While there are numerous places to visit in Beziers, the group is likely to be weary from the journey. We will arrive at the Hotel De France at approximately 4:00 P.M. After hotel check-in, we will begin fitting people with Bikes. Welcome dinner at 7:00 P.M.
29 T Ride to Azillanet — Minerve (50 kilometers, 31 miles)

Arganbright: The Languedoc in the Middle Ages
The tour begins with a ride from Beziers to Azillanet through the heart of wine country and along the scenic Canal du Midi. This ride is moderately flat with a few rolling hills. The ride will include visits to a number of sites of historical interest.

Oppidum d’Enserunes: Roman and pre-Roman site dating from the 6th century BC with a wonderful view of the countryside and a National Museum.

Montady: Once a salt marsh, it was drained in the 12th century to create tillable land. The drainage scheme used then is still used and divides the land into the shape of a giant wheel.

Picnic Lunch: On most biking days we will arrange for a picnic lunch at a designated site. We will purchase bread, cheese, fruits, vegetables, olives, chips and dessert.

Ride through Capestang, crossing the Canal du Midi again, then through several medieval villages including Aigne, an example of a "snail village" filled with local artisans.

Our first day ends in the small village of Azillanet. Approximately half the group will stay in Azillanet at Le Couvent, a restored 17th century convent, while the rest of the group will stay in the ancient Cathar village of Minerve, 5 kilometers away. Each group will have dinner at their respective hotels.

Canal du Midi. After visiting the Oppidum we ride 4k along one of the most beautiful stretches of the Canal du Midi. Plenty of time for photos.

Visit Church in Capestang (if open) and an ancient Roman well on bike route

Dinner at 7:30 P.M. (Le Couvent or Chantovent)
30 W Round trip to Minerve (39 kilometers, 24 miles)

Arganbright: Catharism and the Albigensian Crusade
Brown: Energy Transfer during Exercise

This ride is challenging because, while the distance is short, a good portion is going up. We follow the road from gently rolling wine country up into the garigue, a rocky land of limestone canyons, stunted holm oaks, juniper, and wild aromatic herbs like sage and thyme. At Minerve we break for lunch and the chance to explore this well preserved medieval Cathar village.

Visit to the Musée Hurepal, an archeological museum in Minerve.

Visit to Domaine Peche André, a traditional French, family owned winery for a tour and discussion of the winemaking process.

Picnic Lunch.

Informal gathering with Roland Bosc (Owner of Le Couvent) / locals from Minerve at the Chantovent. Dinner

1 Th Bike to Carcassonne (60 kilometers, 44 miles)

Arganbright: Montaillou: Village Life in the Middle Ages
Brown: Energy Transfer during Exercise (cont.)

The ride from Azillanet to Carcassonne, home of La Cité, is moderate and very scenic. On the way we will stop and visit sites of interest

Four Castles of Lastours. Once Cathar strongholds, these dramatic ruins provide an opportunity to spend an hour or two hiking and enjoying the mountain scenery before continuing on to Carcassonne.

Canal du Midi. The last 10 kilometers to Carcassonne are along the canal.

Visit to Abbaye Caunes-Minervois.

Picnic Lunch.

Because we are riding into a larger city, there are several dangerous intersections to prepare for. Important to keep everyone closer together with "road guard" to direct riders when & where to safely cross the junctions. The last 10 kilometers on bike path along the Canal du Midi end across the street from our hotel!
2 F Carcassonne (Optional hiking or biking)

Arganbright: Crime and the Body of the Condemned
Brown: Optimal Nutrition for Exercise and Performance

Sightseeing at La Cité. There is a 1-hour tour of the ramparts of la Cité and a visit to the Museum of Torture.

Optional hiking or bike riding along the Canal du Midi.
3 Sat Bike to LaGrasse (44 kilometers, 28 miles)

Arganbright: Shaping of Modern Times in Rural France
Brown: Optimal Nutrition for Exercise and Performance (cont.)

This ride is strenuous with a 9-kilometer climb soon after leaving Carcassonne, however, once the climbing is over the rest of the ride is moderate. The scenery is beautiful along the way.

Lagrasse is designated as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Lying beside the river Orbieu, it is famous for its Benedictine Abbey that was built in 778. LaGrasse is also a gathering place for local artisans and vintners. Part of the group will stay in the hotel, while others will stay in local bed and breakfasts.

Lunch is a picnic along the river near the Abbey

The Fête de Salsa entertainment Saturday evening
4 Sun Bike to Narbonne (44 kilometers, 28 miles)

Arganbright: A Social and Cultural History of the Tour de France
Brown: Optimal Nutrition for Exercise and Performance (cont.)

Moderate ride with dramatic views and a visit to Fontfroide.

The restored Abbey Fontfroide, a monastery founded in the 11th century. The abbey’s architecture is a blend of mysticism and earthly beauty.

Sunday is Market day in Narbonne so we need to be very careful of traffic while biking into the city. Time to explore the market once we get to our hotel.
5 M Narbonne (40 kilometers, 25 miles and/or 20 kilometer, 15 miles)

Arganbright/Brown: Women Cyclists in Fin-de-siècle France

Narbonne is one of the oldest cities in the area and dates back to the 7th century BCE. Once the Roman capital of Gaul it is now a beautiful and charming city intersected by two 17th century canals: Canal du Midi and the Canal de la Robine. Just as in ancient times, Narbonne hosts a large market on Thursday and Sunday where farmers and small merchants sell there products. Other historic sites of interest include

Sainte Just: this beautiful cathedral contains 14th century sculptures, stained glass, and an 18th century carved wood organ.

Le Donjon Gilles Aycelin: this fortified tower stands on the remains of the Gallo-Roman rampart that once protected Narbonne. 162 steps take you up to the platform that provides a panoramic view of the city.

L’Horreum: this remnant of early Narbonne has Roman galleries, underground granaries, and a grain chute from the 1st century BCE.

There are two riding options:
1. 40 kilometer round trip ride to Port la Nouvelle. This is a flat ride that follows the Canal de la Robine to Port la Nouvelle on the Mediterranean. Along the way ride by I’ile Sainte Lucie, a nature preserve and sanctuary. There is also a popular beach at the end of the trail. We can do a Picnic Lunch in Porte Nouvelle at the beach or there is an interesting restaurant —The Casimir.
2. 20-kilometer round trip ride to the Gruissan, an old fishing village of that was built in concentric rings around the 13th century Barbarossa Tower.
6 T Bike to Olargues (Approximately 70-80 kilometers, 44-50 miles)

Brown: Ergogenic Aids and Performance

The longest ride of the tour, we head back through the garigue and make a dramatic transition from the semi-arid Mediterranian climate to the cooler, wetter Atlantic. Our destiniation is Olargues, nestled in the scenic Orb river valley, it is another of France’s Most Beautiful Villages.

Visit to the local museum, market, and other activities

Visit to Roquebrun

Possible meeting with French students at Campotel
7 W Olargues (Biking optional day)

Arganbright/Brown: The Culture of French Cuisine

Hiking and exploring. Bike to Gorges d’Heric, a spectacular recreational area with a paved path through a gorge into the mountains.

Slide show (Kaleidoscope).

Visit with a local fruit farmer, (Olivier) and a tour through one of his orchards.

Visit local author Christopher Campbell-Howes.
8 Th Bike to Pézenas (72 kilometers, 45 miles)

Arganbright: Molière, Les Précieuses ridicules

We ride along the Orb river valley, over a small mountain and then on the Pézenas. Along the way we will visit Notre Dame de Mougères: this baroque church is on the road to Caux. A small shop beside the shop sells crafts made by the nuns who reside in the convent.

Sightseeing in Pezenas
9 F


Pézenas is noted for being the home of the French playwrite Molière, its well-preserved 15th -18th century town center, and a lively community of artists and musicians.

The picturesque old town has provided an historical background for both French TV and picture productions. It is a living part of Pézenas and the cobblestone streets are filled with shops and cafes.

Possible meeting with mayor or other officials

Flexible day for sightseeing. Visit to historical sites. (To be arranged)

Farewell to the Languedoc Dinner

10 Sat Flight to Paris
11 Sun Paris
12 M Leave Paris / arrive Cincinnati/ Lexington
13 T No class today
14 W 314 Haupt Humanities, 10 a.m.-noon

Arganbright: France and the Dilemma of Americanization
Brown: Chronic Degenerative Disease: Heart and Diabetes
15 Th 314 Haupt Humanities, 10 a.m.-noon

Arganbright: France and the European Community
Brown: Chronic Degenerative Disease: Osteoporosis and Obesity

Reaction Journals due
16 F No class today
17 Sat 314 Haupt Humanities, 10 a.m.-noon
Article / Paper due. Student Presentations
18 Sun 314 Haupt Humanities, 10 a.m.-noon
Student Presentations