Whistle stop visit in France
Every time we come to France, we’re hit by the same thing; how big this country is! We like to look at the map and plan how long it might take to get somewhere. On the map, it all looks so easy… The reality is always very different. When we put our route in Gloria Garmin, she always tells us it will take much longer than we think. And by now we know that whatever time Gloria says, we can add at least another hour once we’ve stopped for fuel/lunch/comfort breaks etc.
Now we’re in France again, our main goal is to get to Spain but we’ve also decided that we want to visit Oradour-Sur-Glane (read about our visit here) and as we’re planning to cross the border at Perpignan, we will also be travelling close to where friends live, so a visit and a catch up is in order. Apart from that, we’re really just travelling through this time.
From our lovely stop at the River Seine, we travel on in the direction of Oradour-Sur-Glane. For our lunch break, we find a lovely aire in Châteaudun, right under the château. It’s a really nice village and the château is very impressive. We have to move on however as we want to get further south. Our stop for the night is just south of Blois, a region with many châteaux. We end up staying in Cheverney, near the château there. We decide we’ll have to come back to this area one day to visit some of these beautiful places properly. Our next stop is Oradour-Sur-Glane, which was incredibly impressive, poignant, incomprehensible and a place not to miss. We stay here a day to visit properly before moving on.
Toulouse is our next intended destination, but as we get to the aire it doesn’t seem like a good place to stay so we move on a bit further. We end up in Montferrand, by the Canal-du-Midi. It’s just a carpark really, but it’s quiet and we’re tired so it will do for tonight. One lesson we learn this week is that the aires in France get their water turned off around about October time, so by now we’re running quite low on water and are rationing. We’re hoping that as we get further south, where it’s warmer, we will find water again! For now, we’ve bought bottled water to help see us through. And sure enough, a quick visit to the aire in Fanjeux gives us a full tank again.
We realise we’re getting very close to Narbonne, where our friends, Alix and Philippe, live, so we get in touch to see if we can arrange to meet up. It’s Remembrance Day the next day, and as one of our friends, Philippe, is the Mayor of the town of Cépie we decide to meet there for the remembrance service. It is a lovely service, with apéritif afterwards for the community. We love being able to experience such a local event!
Following the Service, we’ve been invited for Sunday lunch with Philippe’s family. They live on a vineyard on the edge of the village so we take Rex and park up for the night by their house. There are 8 of us for a beautiful lunch of roasted guinea fowl with dauphinois potatoes and ratatouille, with paté, sausage and fried duckfat for starters, a chicory and garlic salad and finally cheese for afters. Even though there is a bit of a language barrier, Alix does a great job of bridging that for us, and we have a lovely afternoon. We’re made very welcome, and we enjoy a lovely catch up with Alix and Philippe who we last saw on our tour of France last April.
We’re now close enough to the border to make it to Spain tomorrow, so that is what we will do. Thank you France, for a brief but lovely visit.