On Sunday we drove 212 miles across Provence to an aire at Sète, on the eastern edge of the Languedoc-Rousillon region. It’s good to travel on a Sunday in France; the lorries are all off the roads.
We drove first to Castellane, a small town dominated by a chapel perched on a huge rocky outcrop.
There is a good aire in the village, well placed at the foot of the rock for those who have eaten too many boules of ice cream and need a bit of exercise. The aire is €6 for 24 hours; we just stopped for a couple of hours.
We walked through the town square and then up the rocky path to the chapel, along the remnants of the old city wall.
Castellane is placed on the banks of the River Verdon and is known as the gateway to the Verdon Gorges, the dramatic limestone canyons which were next on our itinerary.
When I went inside the chapel Colin sat down and wouldn’t budge until I reappeared. He likes to keep his humans together. In particular he has to keep an eye on the guy who feeds him each morning. He’s not stupid.
We moved on east alongside the River Verdon and along the Gorge, marked on our map as the Grand Canyon.
The road is wide enough, the only problem is that vehicles coming the other way tend to cut the their left hand corners and a few had to move swiftly back to their side of the road. There’s not a lot of wiggle room.
We stopped briefly at the Point Sublime, one of the higher points along the road by the gorge.
At the head of the Grand Canyon the River Verdon turns south and widens in to this lake.
After a slightly white knuckle ride through the Verdon Gorge we stopped at the cliffside town of Moustiers Sainte Marie.
Known as the village of waterfalls, it is built on either side of a ravine heading up the mountainside.
There is the standard church at the top of the village. We walked up…another boule of ice cream worked off.
There is a good view down from the top. A few other hillside paths were signposted; we were running short of time by then and they have been left for another day (if I can ever persuade Nia to let me drive her motorhome along the gorges again).
We set off again at 4 for the long drive east to Sète, arriving at about 8. We had spotted the aire here on a cycle ride along the Plage de la Corniche a few weeks ago. The aire is on a strip of land running between Sète and Agde; you can park facing south east to the Mediterranean…a lovely aire (N 43.338944, E 3.578428).
Tomorrow we drive a little further south to Port Vendres, close to the Spanish border.