Saturday 27th August – Rocamadour
Today we continued our journey from Montvalent and ended up at Le Cave Grotto which is a big underground cave system. Out of peak season it’s open from 10-12 and 2-5pm and it has a little electric train which takes you deep into the hillside. It’s about 14 degrees in there which on another hot day was very welcome and I even had to wear a light jacket to keep warm!
Afterwards we had lunch under the trees in the car park and planned our next few days, with the first part of the plan being to head to Rocamadour.
Rocamadour has been on our list of places to visit for a couple of years and it didn’t disappoint. We arrived about 4pm and found parking signposted in a field with a short walk to the village.
It’s a beautiful old town in 2 halves, one half being on top of the hill and the other being on the side of the valley. Apparently there have been a number of recorded miracles at Rocamadour which is means it’s a pilgrimage route and the final ascent to the church is a gruelling 216 steps but we made it. A service was starting just as we entered the church so we headed into Mary’s church which is through a door at the back.
After a wander around the lower village we had a spot of dinner with an amazing view over the valley and also saw a couple of soaring bald eagles. Unfortunately the lifts, buses, tourist trains etc all stop running between 7 & 8pm so we walked slowly back up the hill refilling our water at the various ‘peligrin’ (pilgrim) water taps which was rather handy!
A couple of hours later we headed back out in Ferdie so Steven could take some night pictures of the well-lit lower Rocamadour and on the way back we passed a family of four + dog who were jokingly thumbing a lift. Having walked that hill a couple of hours earlier we sympathised and stopped which they were delighted and thankful for. It turned out they were also motorhomers and were parked in a parkfornight.com location at the top village (GPS: 44.802514, 1.63134). We dropped them there and decided we might aswell stay there aswell under the oak trees.
Sunday 28th August
The next morning we woke to overcast skies and spots of rain which seemed to back up our decision to leave the Dordogne and start heading for Provence.
On the way we filled the LPG tank which was pretty low it turned out and headed towards another little village that had been recommended to us called Belcastel. It was a very cute and pretty village which didn’t really have adequate parking for a motorhome so I stayed in the van while Steven photographed the village.
Afterwards we found a nice little aire in Rignac (GPS: 44.404482, 2.289508) which was meant to be €5 but we couldn’t figure out how or who to pay it to aswell as free services.
We also got chatting to Lee & Marilyn who are an Aussie couple in a British registered van travelling around France and spend a good hour or so comparing stops and travels.
Monday 29th August
This was to be another big driving day but instead of taking the main roads and obvious route I spotted a national park on the map and we headed for that and towards Alès.
This meant that we travelled on the Circuit Gorges Et Causses on the D996 and D907 which was awesome scenery very similar to what we’ve seen in Yosemite National park in the US which is no mean comparison!
The second part of it was on the Circuit Des Vallees Cevenoles on the N106 which was also impressive and had a beautiful clear river running the bottom of it.
It was a hard day driving though and we didn’t quite make it to Alès so ended up in Branoux Les Taillades (GPS: 44.226132N, 4.010623E) which had a 4 space aire and was close to a little river. This was another free aire although the services were €4.
Our boules match continued with me coming from 2-7 behind to beat Steven 13-8 so I’m currently a game ahead (and feeling somewhat smug…)