Category Archives: France – Autumn 2018

France – Autumn 2018

Montignan to Cahors – 17 September 2018

Montignan is an very pleasant place with a campsite from which there is an easy stroll into town. Town has shops, bars, places to eat, and a decent Spar shop with a good range of local (if slightly expensive) wines. We will be back here. There is not a lot to do here (apart from the previously mentioned cave paintings) but it is a good place to relax for a few days. Time to move, though, so off south in direction of Cahors, a place we have never visited.

What a journey. Common sense said go north, pick up the D6089, then do the A20 autoroute. Sat-Nav said go south on the D704 then D60 then autoroute. Looking at the map, the easiest seemed D704 all the way via Sarlat-la-Canéda.   We went with this one and it was a dreadful road – up and down, many bends, very narrow in places, very busy and just generally not motorhome-friendly. By the time we got to Gourdon we were fed up with this stupid road and just started following the signs for the autoroute. Eventually, after Le Vigan, we got on the D820, which is a great road and took us into Cahors.  In future we will aim for the D820 as soon as possible, since it is a good road and avoids the tolls.

There is a big aire on this way from Montignan into Sarlat, which is probably the best way to visit in a motorhome, but not on this trip – I am done with the D704 and will find another way to go back north.

The campsite in Cahors is poorly signposted, but we got there in the end. We stopped at the Intermarché on the east of the river which has a drive-through motorhome service point. Topped up on local produce and dropped grey waste and headed for campsite.

The campsite seems a bit of trek from Cahors on foot, but there is a free park and ride nearby to ferry us in to the old town. This is a fine campsite with its own vines and proper motorhome pitches.  And it is 30 degrees centigrade on arrival and the heating is off overnight.

Vines at the campsite at Cahors

Proper motorhome pitches here

Our English language TV here is restricted to SKY News International, which is utterly depressing with some pro-brexit hack talking rubbish and even Farrage distancing himself from his successor, or Geordieshore with German subtitles.  The more intelligent debate is on Geordieshore, then.



Still in Montignac – 15 September 2018

Having a few lazy days in Montignac. We were planning to move on Sunday, but an empty fridge talked us into leaving on Monday as it craved some supermarket provisions. We should go and see the cave paintings at Lascaux, but we will leave that for another visit as we will almost certainly be back here. The caves look like a tourist nightmare, to be avoided at weekends and school holidays.

We tried and failed to find the Saturday market here, so went to the Spar shop instead,  which, while unassuming on the outside, turned out to be one of the best Spar shops ever with a great selection of local wines.  For future reference, the Saturday market appears to happen behind the church, by the river.

Wandered off for a twilight stroll around town:

Football match behind the campsite – here is the packed grandstand

Pleasant bar for an evening sip

Even the French don’t know who has right of way at this one, even though the French always have right of way

Donzenac to Montignac – 13 September 2018

After spending hours behind the wheel yesterday we wanted a day with a bit less driving. Around fifty minutes took us to Montignac, out of Limousin and into Dordogne. The motorway took us over many high viaducts, up hills and back down again, causing the brakes to smell a bit by the time we got to the destination. Montignac has a good one-way system so if you miss the campsite it is easy to go back round again. There is also a new aire on the outskirts of town that looks worth stopping at.  However, the campsite has fast, free internet and a bar and a takeaway.

Road a little bit slow and bendy once off the motorway.  Planning three days here, enough to visit the local cave person art and Saturday market.

The ducks here are well fed but maybe have a slightly less charmed life than the ducks we know at home

Pretty houses in Montignac

Nevers to Donzenac – 12 September 2018

This has been an epic trek. Considering the number of bus stops we passed by there must be a decent bus service covering the part of the Loire south of Nevers, so that is worthy of further investigation for future trips. The plan was to head for Limoges, while doing an overnight stop on the way if the three to four hour journey seemed too much. All plans went out the window when we put the wrong overnight stop in the sat-nav and found ourselves heading towards Lyon/Clermont-Ferand. We attempted a stop near Neuvic, where there are plenty of campsites, but the signage was rubbish for all of them, not helped by local lunatics trying to overtake even when you are signaling to turn left. A motorhome going into a cammpsite? Obviously beyond the comprehension of the locals.

Eventually ended at a lovely campsite near Donzenac which was impossible to book into due to lack of anybody manning reception, and nobody answering any of the telephone numbers. Some French camper chap let us in but his wife seemed less than impressed. They didn’t let the next British van in. Wife ended up hugging and kissing us, but sadly I stood on her foot. Maybe we made friends, but who knows. They seemed happy enough and eventually somebody turned up at reception so we could pay for the night.

We tried some beef kidney stew for dinner, which would have been tasty forty years ago, but it was very rich and seemed not suited to our sanitized British taste buds. Then we remembered how difficult it is to by things like liver and kidney in the UK these days, even living in farming country.  This is no doubt down to all the mad cow carry on from a few decades ago, so thanks to whoever produced this public service advertisement at the time:

Nevers – 11-September-2018

Nevers is not a great place.  But it is not bad.  Same is true of the campsite.  We couldn’t summon up the energy to go into town so took a wander to the canal (latéral à la Loire again)  instead.  We are leaving here tomorrow, maybe in the direction of Limoges then Dordogne.

Some boats:

Looks like somebody lives in there

We’d rather live in one of these:

Barges at Nevers

Briare to Nevers – 10-September-2018

No idea where to go next, so south sounds good, and, since we’ve never been to Nevers, Nevers sounds like a good destination.  This has to be the worst entrance to any campsite, ever, with only room for one smallish unit to park up on arrival and nowhere to queue.  A77 decent and not busy, but best to get off at junction 37 and approach campsite from the south rather than go on the inner ring road from the north.

Took a wander into town but somewhat underwhelmed so far. Here is a gargoyle on the cathedral – we like gargoyles:

Gargoyle at Nervers Cathedral

Briare – 09 September 2018, last night here

Briare is nice.  Campsite is nice (did we mention fast, free internet?), and the motorhome aire next door doesn’t look to shabby either.  Wandered into town today and found house prices are very reasonable.  We will be back here for sure.  Weather is looking great for the rest of the week so we’ll stick around in the area for a bit longer, before moving further south.

Briare – rather picturesque

Châtillon-sur-Seine to Briare – 07 September 2018

This looked like it would be a two and a half hour trek on the D956 through Auxerre.  Sat-nav had other ideas.  At least we went through some nice villages on the east of Auxerre side of the D956, including Chablis and Fleys.

We stopped to look at the vines:

Lovely vines – just ready for harvest

Chablis… yummy

Finally got to Briare after the epic detour and we will stay here for the weekend.  Fast free internet at the campsite and the town looks interesting.  Noticed that the Dampierre nuclear plant is still puffing away going up the A77, but unlike Gein the smoke is not visible from the campsite.

Canal at Briare

Lock at Briare

Châtillon-sur-Seine – 06 September 2018

Weather looking grim and we are moving south-westerly.  Maybe we can pick up some of the places we have missed on the Loire over the years, then head for Limoges and Cahors, neither of which we have been to before.  Found our way to the municipal site at Châtillon-sur-Seine, a pleasant, basic site not far from town.  We will return here and visit the town another time but for now this is just an overnight stopover.

Near the campsite, overlooking the town