France with a passion…. 3/6/19

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Leaving Calatayud we crossed over into Catalunya where yellow ribbons appeared all over the place and signs of independence were everywhere you looked.

Our last overnight stop in Spain was in a town called Tarrega (GPS n 41.642792 e 1.137911) where we parked up at an Aire on the edge of a park next to the police station…. very peaceful!

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Tarrega is another ‘normal’ town with a pretty old part with little streets and houses leaning in against each other, although none appeared to be in the same state as in Calatayud – they do say Catalunya is the wealthy part of Spain!

Waking to a lovely temperature … 14 degrees is just about right for exercise and a slow trial run and all was good, although the route was based not too far from the motorhome just in case… thankfully things were getting back to normal again!

After a quick fill and empty – I am now talking about Hattie – we set off on our way again, making the most of cheaper diesel in Spain before we finally crossed over into France just after lunch.

It was lovely to see the change in the colour and texture of the countryside around us as the day the went on comprising of a variety of trees and coverage on the hillside.

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As if by chance our first stop in France was at a Vinyard – Le Chateau du Lac, provided by France Passion (GPS n 43.05765 e 2.96508) which is near Sigean.

Hattie found her spot for the night which was right outside the door to the Cave…. its just a shame that the original Chateau du Lac (behind us) was falling down around it!  The vineyard has been in their family for 5 generations and they are a small bio producer of a mixture of white, red, rose, dessert wine and a late red which is also slightly sweeter and ideal for drinking with foie gras (apparently) or dessert.

We happened to hit on a busy night as it was a national holiday in France and coupled with the beautiful weather everyone was making the most of a long weekend but we tried the rose, red, white and the late red…. purchasing a bottle of the rose (light and fresh) and the late red (slightly sweet but not overly).

Walking through the vineyard takes you to the lake where you can fish, relax or watch the birds …. although we only saw one odd looking bird with long red legs (bird names are not my strength – can you tell?). The views however were beautiful….

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The Vinyard is located 500m from an African reserve so we woke to the calls of what sounded like peacocks, but they could have equally been something more exotic… it was a fairly tranquil night none the less!

Leaving the the Chateau du Lac behind we continued onwards, winding our way along roads lined with Vineyards to Camping Mediterranean (14.44 euros per night) at Frontignan Plage.

It would be difficult to say that it was the prettiest location we have ever stayed at but in a weird kind of way it wasn’t bad and more importantly, we had wanted to visit Sete (having seen it on Candice a French detective series) and it was an easy cycle ride from here.

Frontignan has an old town, a new town and the beach …. we were at the beach, although it is actually only a thin stretch of land between the sea and the lake…. and within that piece of land there are also other lakes, so it is in fact mostly water… if you are following me, that is what makes it unusually pretty.  There is unfortunately a large Port between Sete and Frontignan and a gas works as well which kind of reduces the beauty of the place!

In addition to catching up on washing, we had a lovely walk on Friday, wandered into Frontignan old town on Saturday to the market where we were pleased to see all the local, seasonal produce and buzz that is oddly specific to France

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Before being enticed by the butchers to buy up some delicious sausages and pork loin for the BBQ.  Then on Sunday we took the bikes out for a spin into Sete to explore.

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Having walked most of the streets of Sete as well as ‘Les Halles’ (which were pretty fantastic, even on a Sunday) we can’t work out where they filmed Candice but I guess that is fairly normal.

Sete is a very busy, touristy town.  It is pretty but we are glad that we cycled over as the traffic was horrific!  We walked all the way up to the panoramic points to try and see out over the coast and town, unfortunately about 30 minutes before we climbed up the hill the sea mist started to encroach and despite waiting around at the top it just wasn’t our day to get the views so we headed back down and back to the motorhome to quench our thirst!

With all the washing done and local sights seen we headed eastwards again to find Lourmarin (Car Park only GPS n 43.764099 e 5.36663), one of France’s ‘prettiest villages’.

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It is a lovely little village but unfortunately with the award and popularity comes a certain amount of change as it now has lots of very expensive boutiques, cafes, restaurants and bars and doesn’t feel very French…. ah well, nice to look at and tomorrow we move on!

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