We’re here: N43.93822 E4.55860
The weather: cloudy but at least there’s no rain!
Last night Charlie was introduced to Fiasco, the Cavalier King Charles in the next motorhome. Fiasco was two years old and quite the opposite of Charlie. While he was thin because he was fussy about what he ate, Charlie is round and will eat pretty much anything.
This morning we took a walk up to see a Dolmen, an ancient burial chamber. We marvelled at how so many years ago, someone managed to heave a huge slab of rock on top of some other rocks stood on their edge. No one knows the exact date when it was built, but it was humbling to think of all the lifetimes and wars it has stood there through. Luckily we had Charlie with us as he spotted we’d taken a wrong turn on our return down the badly signposted path to the Dolmen – otherwise we might still be wandering around the Ardeche now!
Today we had a mission – get to Pont du Gard by 3pm for a rendezvous with Phil and Julie who are also touring and got in touch with us through Twitter. We topped up on vin de vrac (wine from a wine maker, sold by the litre into your own bottle) and diesel then headed off along the Gorge de l’Ardeche and stunning scenery. We stopped off at Pont d’Arc which at 54m is the biggest natural arch in France over a flowing river – I suspect the tourist office legal team took a while to figure out how to phrase that sentence!
I think this is my favourite French gorge so far. The road runs along the top of the gorge, so you’re looking down into it for most of the time. We even managed to stop off and say hello to some goats grazing by the roadside.
We could have spent longer in the gorge, eagle spotting and stopping at all the viewpoints, but we were on a mission, and would probably have got gorged out anyway.
We made our way down to Pont du Gard and found ourselves at the entrance to the visitors centre car park. They wanted €18 per vehicle for parking, and it wasn’t clear if you could stop overnight for that, after all it’s more than we pay for most campsites. We texted Phil and Julie and did a u-turn. Instead we met them just a bit further down the road and in convoy we headed for the aire in Remoulins – a few kms down the road.
We had a guided tour of Phil and Julie’s van which is an ex-ambulance, but is now kitted out with a bed, sideboard, cooker and fridge. It looks great, but is still a work in progress we’re told. I can’t help but to be inspired by people who buy a van and make it their home, especially when it’s as homely as theirs.
From the aire it was only a 20min walk back to Pont du Gard. As we made our way past the trees and it came into view it was amazing. If you don’t know, it’s a three tiered aqueduct built in 50 ad by the Romans to provide water to the city of Nimes. We’d visited Nimes a few years ago for a weekend, but didn’t have transport to get out to the aqueduct, so it’s been on my ‘to see’ list for a while. It didn’t disappoint.
We’d packed a picnic – well a few beers – and after walking over the bridge, we set up camp by the river and drank it. The French version of a well known tv show was also in town, and so Phil and I jumped in to audition.
We made our way back to Dave and started on our vrac wine, swapping adventure tales with Phil and Julie. They’d just visited CERN in Geneva and we were curious about what it was like, another possible place to add on our wish list? Having drunk a lot and eaten very little all day, talk soon turned to a motorhome race around the Monaco Grand Prix circuit, but we’re not sure how feasible that will be. We’ve been so carried away with the planning this update is much later than usual – so apologies to those of you who have this as their bedtime reading.