Saint Cirq-Lapopie, Monday 2nd April 2012

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Loches

After 3 days on the road, this feels like the first day of a proper holiday, parked by the river Lot in a lovely and quiet campsite, Camping de la Plage.

After leaving Montbizot early yesterday morning, we followed the A28 past Le Mans and Tours and then the D943 to Loches, where we stopped for coffee and cake in the town’s car park right by the Château.

It’s worth at this point to make a breakdown of the motorway tolls so far, for they are not cheap!  From south of Rouen at J25 on the A13 to J21 on the A28 for Montbizot, it cost a staggering €43.40 and from there to between J26 and 27 north of Tours a further €13.30, plus another 90C from J22 to 23, exit for D943.  A total of €57.60!!!  This is why we prefer to use the national roads, as diesel these days is expensive enough at €1.41, the cheapest we’ve seen so far, but it goes up to €1.57 in some motorway service stations.

St Cirq-Lapopie

After Loches we continued southeast on D943 to Châteroux and joined A20 at J13 – a mercifully FREE section of motorway, all the way to south of Limoges, and exited at J41 for Magnac-Bourg, where we stopped for lunch and a rest.  The aire here was attractive enough, with free water, toilets and emptying facilities, all by a charming pond, but there were too many noisy dogs in the new housing development and, after taking Bramble for a long walk through the nearby woods, we decided to carry on south, back on the A20, past Brive-la-Gaillarde to J55 for Souillac, where there was a big free aire for over 30 motorhomes, with the €3 machine for water and electricity, which we didn’t need.

Our pitch No 29 at Camping de la Plage

It was very hot and we sat outside for about an hour before dinner of pork chops and chips and it was just wonderful to be able to enjoy proper summer-time heat for the first time this year.

We got up early this morning and headed for our destination after emptying grey water and toilet.  We tried following the SatNav, but once again it insisted in taking us through narrow country lanes and we had to ignore instructions and follow map on the national and regional roads, far better suited to our needs.

 

We followed D12 to pretty Gourdon and D673 to Montcabrier, a bit windy, but with staggering scenery.  Then south on D58 to Touzac, our final destination for the day, but when we got there at 10.30 am, there was no-one at reception but a note saying to ring a mobile number for service, which we did, but there was no answer and Adon left a message on answering service.  After waiting a few minutes, nobody came and I decided to try the toilets, but, to my dismay, I saw they hadn’t been cleaned properly and there were lots of leaves on the floor, a fluorescent tube left all along the wash-basins, together with wall plugs and other bits and pieces of maintenance work lying about.  At this point we decided the site wasn’t ready for service, even though we had emailed in advance and it was supposed to have opened for the season yesterday and, very much disappointed, we left to go back east again. Pity, as the site looked very pretty and it is right on the river Lot, perfect for fishing and the reason why we’d chosen it, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Medieval Village of St Cirq-Lapopie

After a quick check on the aires/camping map, we got back on the D811 via Puy-L’Eveque and headed East, past Cahors and then the D653 to Saint Cirq-Lapopie, with some stunning scenery and rock formations, making arches over our heads and following the river Lot all the while.

view from the top of St Cirq-Lapopie

We are glad we got to see all this after the morning disappointment, as we might have missed it otherwise.  We got here for 1.15 pm and the friendly and helpful receptionist told us to find a space and go back to register at 5 pm, which I’ve just done.  This pitch – number 29 – has its own water tap and electric hook-up and a lovely view of the river and surrounding cliffs.

Medieval village street

After lunch, we went looking for a suitable place to fish on the other side of the campsite fence and enjoyed a lovely walk in the sunshine, taking lots of pictures of this charming location and Bramble had a swim in the river.  Then, we both had much needed showers and a drink and now Adon is trying to inflate our brand new boat to explore Le Lot further.  Watch this space…

Spag Bol tonight!

Medieval St Cirq-Lapopie

Ancient door at St Cirq-Lapopie

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