What can I say? Yet another superb motorhome aire right by Lac de L’Uby, more or less half-way between Cazaubon and Barbotan-les-Thermes. It only costs €6 a night, plus a €60 deposit at the Tourist Information Office in Barbotan-les-Thermes, where it is necessary to report in order to get the key for the barrier, as the aires guide book rightly informs.
I have to say this is the most attractive TIO I have ever seen, as well as the biggest, in a lovely square with ample space for parking and with very friendly and helpful staff. You book in, pay your deposit and they let you choose, pointing at the map of the aire and lake, between shaded, semi-shaded or sunny pitches for the motorhome. You then get a key with a pitch number according to your choice. We got number 26, which is under two mature weeping willows, just perfect for this hot weather and only a few metres away from the lake. The price also includes electric hook-ups and, of course, there is fresh water and emptying facilities, as well as toilets of the stand-up variety, which are not to my liking and better suited for men.
The aire itself is within cycling distance of the Base de Loisirs (outdoor leisure facilities such as canoeing, sailing, etc) and the campsite, as well as the two villages mentioned above. The pitches are large and there are lots of picnic spots under trees and wooded areas for walks with dogs, riding or just relaxing. Not bad at all for just €6 per night. When will England learn to be so welcoming to motorhomes?
This is our second day here and we’re planning to stay tomorrow as well, especially after Adonis caught a 15kg carp this afternoon. It really was the event of the day, as other fishermen came to help to land this beautiful specimen as well as a number of spectators who found the whole thing very exciting and were taking pictures too. It’s a shame Adonis wasn’t taking part in the fishing competition going on on the opposite side of the lake: I’m sure he would have won a prize! Still, he was the star of the show on this side, which made him happier than a child on Christmas morning! He was really in his element and it’s wonderful to see him enjoying himself so much. Well earned, I think.
This morning, I cycled to both villages, first to Barbotan-les-Thermes, which is obviously mainly dedicated to thermal baths, being a spa town. All the shops seemed to be closed, so I enjoyed a gently stroll through the quiet streets and the gardens, where I was amazed at some of the aquatic plants growing in the large ponds: they were enormous and I’d never seen anything like it. They must have been an exotic variety of water lilies, but upright, with large pink flowers at the end of long, upright stalks. I must find out what they are. Shame I didn’t have my camera on me.
After that, I cycled in the opposite direction back to Cazaubon, where a carboot sale was being held and where I bought a very pretty net curtain for our motorhome door as well as our daily baguette. I took the opportunity to wander about the XII century streets too and then I cycled back to the aire. My t-shirt was soaked in sweat after almost 2 hours cycling, so I really welcomed a swim in the Uby lake. This is just a wonderful oasis in very hot land and a real find. It has got everything we need: good weather, a lake for fishing and swimming, lots of shade in the woods, tranquillity and all between two charming little towns. I’ll certainly remember the thermal baths when I get older and start suffering from aches and pains: a delightful place to heal.