Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Saint Martin d'Ardeche to Beaulieu

For the past week it has been like a mini activity holiday. We had a campsite in St Martin as the Aire was 5 euros and right by a road. After a day swimming in the warm river and trying to stay out of the sun we booked onto Indigo Moulin campsite, at 27 euros it was more than we usually spend, but the location was ideal for a day kayaking down the river the next day. A coach took us to the drop off point and along the way we saw a wild pig and piglets in the road and a large deer.
The trip down the river took us 8 hours and was fantastic, though we did spend some time floating upside down and bouncing off a few rocks.
The strangest thing was paddling past a naturist campsite - I now know the difference between naturist and naturalist! Though it was like they were an exhibit at a prehistoric expo.

On the way to the Ardeche we passed lots of signs about the Tour De France. We considered staying a day longer to watch it, but July 14th was a bank holiday and it is the only time we had pre- booked into a campsite for 3 days.So we drove up the gorge to St Jean le Centenier and a campsite, Les Arches, which was like a mini Holland, as everyone apart from us was Dutch.
Thankfully we managed to meet up with friends who were over for a couple of weeks touring in their motor home. So it was lovely to sit out at night drinking wine and having a chat looking at the stars and spotting satellites.
The next day we went on a scenic walk with a map loaned from the campsite, though it turned out to be twice as long as we thought and there was no bar to be seen!
Fortunately the campsite had a new pool which had just opened and also a river to swim in.
Next we went off west in search of lentils. We have no plan as to where we are going and so a chance comment by someone at Le Moulin said to try Le Puy as it is very pretty and the lentils come from there.... So off we went.
We stayed at a lovely Aire on the banks of the river Loire at Coubon. There was a cycle route along an old railway track and so we had an afternoon cycle downstream to the next town.
Le Puy en Velay was lovely and we climbed to the St Michaels chapel on top of this volcanic outcrop.

Later in the day we drove to a ski station and had a ride on a chairlift up the mountain. We had a walk around at the top as a whole new expanse of France opened up to us, then we walked down.

The next Aire was in an idillic location on Lac de Feyt near the Dordogne.

We drove down the Dordogne to a France Passion site near Beaulieu and Tim did some fishing - but caught nothing. We finally have managed a 3 hour lunch break like the French seam to have every day!

Location:Avenue d'Aunis,Les Mathes,France

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