St Nicolas-de-la-Grave, Tarn-et-Garonne Department, Tuesday 1st April 2014

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Lake at St Nicolas-de-la-Grave

Lake at St Nicolas-de-la-Grave

 

We spent a lovely day at Meung-sur-Loire on Sunday after an easy drive from Pont-de-l’Arche following the N154 past Evreux, Dreux and Chartres to Orleans and then took the A10 south west to J.15.

 

Attractive Motorhome aire at Meung-sur-Loire

Attractive Motorhome aire at Meung-sur-Loire

 

Collegiate at Meung-sur- from motorhome aire

Collegiate at Meung-sur- from motorhome aire

 

 

We really loved the free motorhome aire there by the river, sports facilities and with lovely views of the Collegiate and the Château, which we visited in the late afternoon, having forgotten that the clocks had gone forward and it was already 5 pm and not 4 pm, as we thought. Still, we paid our €8.50 entry fee and, although the château was supposed to close at 6 pm, nobody came looking for us and they let us finish our visit undisturbed. We finally came out at 6.40 pm with the attendants waiting by the gates ready to lock up. 

 

Meung-sur-Loire

Meung-sur-Loire

 

The Chateau at Meung-sur-Loire

The Chateau at Meung-sur-Loire

 

Pont de l'Arche to Meung-sur-Loire 043

 

The modern façade of the chateau

The modern façade of the chateau

 

 

It’s amazing how each château has something different or unique to offer, and on this one, we really enjoyed the loft, where the laundry would have been dried, and the Medicine and Herbal rooms. There was also a short video in the dungeons, 7 metres below ground, with a brief history and information about the place. Well worth the visit!

 

 

The Medicine room

The Medicine room

 

The Herbal room

The Herbal room

 

The attic/laundry room

The attic/laundry room

 

All set for a special feast

All set for a special feast

 

The dungeons, where a short video is shown

The dungeons, where a short video is shown

 

 

Yesterday, we turned east to join the A71 south of Orleans to Vierzon and the A20 south to Châteroux, past Argentan and La Souterraine to J.25 to Lac de St Pardoux, where we spent a relaxing afternoon and Beano enjoyed a swim and a play with his ball in the lake. It was lovely to see him run on the grass and the sand after having spent a whole month in the crate and having only short walks on the lead. His leg seems to be fine now and we hope he’s not going to have any future problems with it.

 

St Pardoux lake

St Pardoux lake

 

 

St Pardoux was beautiful and quiet and we enjoyed a very peaceful evening with a chilli con carne followed by the second episode of series one of ‘House’, which we have bought especially for this trip, and very good it is too!

We are also very happy with our new ‘All the Aires in France’ Vacarious guide book, as it has pictures and brief information about the location of each aire, as well as GPS co-ordinates, except that our new TomTom has packed up and it’s absolutely useless at the moment. We are annoyed about this, as we spent over £300 before the summer holidays last year, so it’s only barely 6 months old and have hardly used it! We might have to send it back.

 

Wild camping at St Nicolas-de-la-Grave

Wild camping at St Nicolas-de-la-Grave

 

 

This morning, we topped up with water at the bourne, which works with a jeton (token) to be bought from the Information Centre, and we set off again at 9 am back on the A20 south past Limoges, Brive-la-Gaillarde, Cahors and Montauban, where we took off at J.65 (only £13) west on D958, past Castelsarrasin and a short distance north to St Nicolas-de-la-Grave. We were here on our Christmas holiday 2012 with Sasha and it had been very wet and I didn’t get to enjoy the place, but today it’s been very hot and sunny (25 ºC in van) and I took Beano for a long walk by the beautiful lake and came back when he started panting. I then sat outside in the glorious sunshine for nearly 2 hours until the wind picked up and it cooled down. The parking is free, but there’s no bourne here, as we are in the Plan d’Eau and not actually in the proper aire, so I expect we’ll go there to empty tomorrow before going to Barbotan-les-Thermes, our first proper stop of the holiday at a campsite.

 

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