We didn’t quite make it to Boussens as planned on Saturday and opted instead to go to the municipal campsite at Rieux-Volvestre, which turned out to be absolutely lovely, very quiet and just perfect for us. Getting there, however, was a bit of a mission, as the co-ordinates given in the camping guide were wrong and the TomTom took us all the way down south of junction 23 when it should have been 26 and then through Cazères, where the main road was blocked and we kept running round in circles trying to get out of town. There were no signs to indicate the detour route, but we eventually found D10 north east back to Rieux-Volvestre. This is one of the occasions when I wished Adonis followed my advice rather than the SatNav, as all this added at least 40 minutes and 15 miles to our journey totally unnecessarily.
When we eventually arrived at the Camping du Plan d’Eau, I had to queue behind 2 large families who were paying for their stay with Holiday Cheques given in €20 each, which had to be stamped individually before being filed away by the receptionist. This procedure for both families took nearly half and hour and I swear I was about to walk out when the receptionist asked me if I needed assistance.
I am glad I managed to hold on to my patience, as the site was definitely worth both the wait and the extra miles. It sits just by the river Garonne, which transforms into a huge lake thanks to the dam at just south of Carbonne, about 2 miles north of Rieux-Volvestre. We had a large pitch (Number 28) on gravel with our own water tap and electricity in a shady spot, which was very welcome, as we spent 2 hot and sunny days there. The booking also gave us access to the enormous community swimming pool, surrounded by a large field with plenty of shade, as well as the lake for fishing. The toilet and shower blocks were immaculate and all in all we couldn’t have been more pleased with our choice for only €36 for the 2 nights! This is definitely a place to come back to.
Yesterday morning, I cycled into the town itself for a baguette and a packet of Galoises for Adonis and for more cash, as the campsite didn’t accept card payments and we thought we might stay 2 more nights. We didn’t in the end as we had a big storm last night with torrential rain which lasted for hours and kept me awake for a bit and, when we got up this morning, it felt much cooler and the sky was overcast, so we decided to make a move and continue heading west.
We intended to stop at one of the motorhome aires in Lourdes and maybe go and see the shrine, but the first aire was right on the road and totally unsuitable, even just for lunch, and the second one, supposed to be by the coach park and with room for 50 vehicles, was shut so we had no choice but to get out of town through heavy traffic, hundreds of traffic lights and road bumps and tried to find a more suitable stop for the day and night.
I’ve got to say that I did like the look of Lourdes with its old and beautiful buildings and I would have loved to go for a proper stroll through the streets and visit the sights, but it was not to be and I had to content myself with a few snaps as Adonis was driving as fast as he could (which wasn’t very fast at all) for the exit.
We headed west on D937 and D35 towards Arudy, about 12 miles south of Pau and, again, we are delighted with our choice. This is a commercial aire for €10 a night plus €2 for electricity if needed, on a beautiful field by a little river (I think it’s the Nez, but I am not 100% sure) on hard standing surrounded by grass and trees and our ideal kind of place: tranquil and peaceful with just the sound of the flowing water and the birds singing. Beano loves it too, as we were able to let him off the lead to chase the ball and cool down in the river.