Tag Archives: Portiragnes

Montferrand, Aude, Saturday 1st August 2014

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Montferrand to Arudy 025

Beautiful field of sunflowers by motorhome aire at Montferrand

 

We have spent 6 superbly lazy days at Adonis’s parents’ house in Portiragnes, where the most strenuous thing we did was to cool in the swimming pool and walk the dogs around the vineyard at the back of the house. It was wonderful to have that time to rest from the driving and route planning and to spend quality time with the family.

 

Chilling by the pool

Chilling by the pool

 

We were all a bit concerned during the first couple of days because Huntely, my in-law’s dog, is much bigger than poor little Beano and he just wouldn’t leave him alone, following him everywhere, walking almost above him and licking his back and neck continuously, even wanting to mount him. The first day he kept this behaviour up for 6 hours and we had to resort to locking ourselves in the van with Beano for a long siesta and afternoon break just to keep them apart. Later on, Adonis’s dad came up with the idea of throwing water from a bucket over Huntley’s back and this seemed to do the trick. So, for the next day, Peter kept that bucket of water nearby as a deterrent from Huntley’s amorous advances on Beano and just the threat of lifting the bucket was enough to stop him. Thanks to that, we enjoyed 4 days of more appropriate dog interaction, playing with the ball and chasing each other to everyone’s relief, as Adonis and I were thinking we might have to go and stay at a campsite or the new motorhome aire in Portiragnes beach, which is not that close to the Saysell’s residence, just to keep Beano safe and our sanity intact, but I am pleased to say it never came to that.

Huntley and Beano enjoying a chase game

Huntley and Beano enjoying a chase game

 

Instead, we enjoyed 2 lovely meals out, one on Portiragnes Plage, where both Peggy and I were defeated by our enormous Gazpacho starter and were unable to finish it, delicious as it was, in order to give us a chance to finish our main courses of salmon and duck respectively and our delicious puddings (grilled pineapple for Peggy and mandarine and strawberry sorbet for me).

The other even better meal was at L’Ecluse last night on the Canal-du-Midi on the way to Béziers, where we all shared a Tapas starter and we all loved Adonis’s choice of Fish and Chips du Sud (of the south), which had us all intrigued when reading the menu and later found out it consisted of small pieces of fish fried in a thin batter with the chips served in a paper cone! We were all too full for a pudding, but very happy with our meal as we’ve always been every time we’ve gone there.

 

Canal-du-Midi

Canal-du-Midi

 

Our break in Portiragnes also gave us a chance to take the van to the garage, as it was making a worrying squeaky noise, both when we were driving or when walking inside it when stationary, and we thought there might be something wrong with the suspension. Adonis kept spraying it with WD40 for about a week prior to our arrival at Portiragnes, but to no avail. Adonis took the van to the mechanic just down the road on Tuesday morning and, after 3 days there, he finally collected it yesterday afternoon, only to be told there was nothing wrong with it and the chap refused to take any payment, as the van had sat in his garage for 2 days before he actually looked at it! Still, Peter gave him 20 for his time and trouble, which we later refunded and, feeling greatly relieved that all is well with our home on wheels, we put back all the stuff we had taken out ready for this morning departure.

 

Field of sunflowers on our way to Montferrand

Field of sunflowers on our way to Montferrand

 

All set and ready to leave by 9.15 am, we said our good-byes hoping to return next summer and headed towards Carcassonne on D612, D11 and D610. Although these roads are generally good, some stretches were being re-surfaced and there was a detour by Trèbes, which slowed us right down. We even considered stopping at an aire signposted at Puichéric thinking it would be by the canal, but it turned out to be right on a hill, away from the water, so we stuck with our original plan of stopping here in Montferrand, a shady aire right by the Canal-du-Midi on D6113, just west of Castelnaudary, surrounded by gorgeous fields of sunflowers.

 

Enough to put a smile on your face

Enough to put a smile on your face and brighten up your day

 

We’ve just returned from an hour-long-walk along the canal and enjoyed the procedure of a boat going through the locks. It seemed that everyone on the walk stopped to watch and admire the lock system, which is definitely worth the wait.

 

Watching the lock in action on Canal-du-Midi

Watching the lock in action on Canal-du-Midi

 

The happy travellers and spectators at the lock

The happy travellers and spectators at the lock

 

And the lock opened.

And the lock opened.

 

We are thinking about going to the municipal campsite of Boussens tomorrow, about 60 miles west of here, but we’ll have to head north first towards Toulouse and south west from there on A64 to enjoy the better roads.

 

Canal-du-Midi

Canal-du-Midi

 

Canal-du-Midi

Canal-du-Midi

 

Canal-du-Midi

Canal-du-Midi

 

One last time, just because it's so beautiful!

One last time, just because it’s so beautiful!

 

We’ve just seen that the bourne here does not work and won’t be able to empty toilet cassette!

Les Montagnes, Mazamet, Tarn, Tuesday 20th August 2013

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Mazamet Lac

Les Montagnes, Mazamet 

 

 We’ve been very busy since we left the oyster farm at Mèze. We spent Monday at the aire in Marseillan Plage, which again operated on a barrier system for 10 a day, payable before entry, but well worth it, as it was only a 5 minute walk to the beach and all the restaurants and amenities in the town. Marseillan is a very lively seaside town this time of year and we made the most of the beach and the free evening entertainment.

 

At the tapas restaurant

At the very popular tapas restaurant, La Taberna

 

We went for a pizza at La Taberna, a Spanish tapas bar not far from the beach, where we enjoyed a nice meal serenaded by a wonderful blues singer. After our pizza (one of the best I’ve ever had) we joined the local celebrations with the equivalent of ‘The Voice’ being staged and televised from there and we got to see the contestants and vote for our choice. After that there were a couple more acts followed by the Grand Finale courtesy of Les Farfadais, an amazing group of acrobats and dancers that put on an spectacular show the likes of which we had never seen before.

 

The evening entertainment: Fantastic Blues singer

The evening entertainment: Fantastic Blues singer

 

 

We felt our €10 fee for the motorhome aire really paid for itself just by the sheer quality and entertainment value of this incredible show that must be seen to be believed. See more here: https://www.facebook.com/LesFarfadais?fref=ts

 So the night ended on a very high note indeed and we think we might make a point of coming here again next summer to enjoy these wonderful festivities once again.

 

Beautiful Marseillan promenade

Beautiful Marseillan promenade

 

After Marseillan Plage we left for Portiragnes in the Herault Department to spend a few days with Adonis’s parents and our friend and colleague Lesley, who flew from England on Wednesday 14th in order to celebrate Béziers summer festival. This was again another heck of a party and one couldn’t help but being drawn into the madness, chaos and fun of this charming city and its people.

 

The Saysells and Lesley enjoying a sangria at Beziers Feria

The Saysells and Lesley enjoying a sangria at Beziers Feria

 

The party started with an amazing parade very much in the style of the Brazilian Carnival, with very accomplished dancers, acrobats and amazing floats delighting the crowds of holidaymakers and locals alike. We particularly enjoyed the ‘firework-spitting’ dragon accompanying what looked like Orcs from the Lord of the Rings movies: simply jaw-dropping, with men on stilts doing the most impossible somersaults.

 

The Parade

The Parade

 

 

 

Lesley's 076

 

 

Lesley's 077

 

Lesley's 078

 

Lesley's 082

 

The Fireworks Spitting Dragon

The Fireworks Spitting Dragon

 

It was actually scary!

It was actually scary!

 

Somersaulting Orcs!

Amazing Orcs on stilts!

 

 

A Somersaulting orc!  You can just about see blur!

A Somersaulting orc! You can just about see blur!

 

And more amazing contraptions!

And more amazing contraptions!

 

And the Scots made it too!

And the Scots made it too!

 

Thank you for posing especially for me

Thank you for posing especially for me!

 

 

So we partied hard and joined the dancing, singing and drinking (I had never drank so much sangría in my life before) and simply had a whale of a time.

 

Joining in

Joining in

 

Don't ask me what I'm doing here: I don't know, but it was great fun!

Don’t ask me what I’m doing here: I don’t know, but it was great fun!

 

 Whilst at Béziers, we also went to see a Flamenco Mass at the Cathedral, which was beautifully done, but after a while we started to feel a bit dizzy in the heat, surrounded by so many people, and had to leave to get some fresh air and a drink (more sangría, I’m afraid).

 

Sangria

Delicious Sangria

 

While we were enjoying our cold sangría, we had the fortune of watching the beautiful Camargue horses being ridden by gorgeous young girls dressed in very showy Flamenco dresses that were a joy to see.

 

Flamenco dresses on Camargue horses: a perfect combination

Flamenco dresses on Camargue horses: a perfect combination

 

The rest of the time we spent chilling by the pool in the ‘Saysell Villa’ in Portiragnes and walking Huntley the dog, the family gorgeous and affectionate pet.

 

Time to relax at the Saysell's

Time to relax at the Saysell’s

 

We left Portiragnes this morning and headed west on the D612 all the way to Mazamet and after deciding that the aire in town wasn’t quite what we were looking for (being as it was in a car park), we came just a little bit further south on the D118 to this charming aire in the woods by the lake at Les Montagnes, which is free and has clean water and the usual emptying facilities for motorhomes.

 

Sunbathing after cooling swim

Sunbathing after cooling swim

 

We’ve just had a couple of swims in the cooling lake and sunbathed for a bit. It’s much cooler here, being higher up, which is rather welcome, but I expect tomorrow we’ll be going back to higher temperatures again when we come down from the hills. We are heading for Souillac in the Lot department.

 

The cool motohome aire at Montagnes

The cool motorhome aire at Montagnes

 

Lagrasse, Aude, Tuesday 7th August 2012

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Lagrasse Benedictine Abbey

 

We’ve had a wonderful day in this beautiful medieval town, part of the ‘les Plus Beaux Villages de France’ (most beautiful villages in France), and rightly so, on a par with St Cirq-Lapopie.  Its name (Lagrasse) means fertile and, being in the locality of the river Orbieu, in the southern part of the Alaric hills, must help with the abundance of trees and vineyards, despite the unforgiving heat.

The main attraction here, apart from wandering in the narrow medieval streets, is the former Benedictine Abbey of Lagrasse, which goes back to before the end of the 8th century, grew quickly over the 9th and 10th centuries and by the end of the 12th century it owned about 100 churches and 10 monasteries from Languedoc to Zaragoza in Spain.

 

Monks’ dormitory and Benedictine Abbey

Steps leading up to Monks’ dormitory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We really enjoyed our visit to the abbey, which was holding a book fair today, especially the Monks’ dormitory and St Barthélemy chapel, with arched wooden ceilings and paved with enamelled terracotta  tiles dating from the 14th century: definitely well worth a visit for only €2.50 each.

It’s been an extremely hot day today and even now the thermometer is saying it’s 34°C inside the motorhome in the shade at 5 pm!

Motorhome aire at Lagrasse

 

We are staying at the aire in parking 2, which is only €3 for the night.  There’s some shade, but, although we arrived just after 11am this morning, all the shady parking spaces were already taken.  Still, we are using our awning and it’s giving us some protection from this fierce heat.  We’ve also been for a cooling swim in the river right by the abbey, very popular with families.

 

The river Orbieu, Lagrasse. Nice to cool down!

 

 

Medieval street, Lagrasse

Ancient window, Lagrasse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roman bridge, Lagrasse

 

We are moving west now after spending 5 days in Portiragnes in the Herault with Adonis’ mum and dad and Pepo, which was a very welcome and relaxing break.  It was very hot there too, so we spent most of the time in the shade by the pool, swimming or cooling down in the house.  It was good to see Pepo too before he returned to England to spend some time with his friends before the start of the school term.

 

Enjoying the summer faire at Portiragnes

 

While at Portiragnes, we had the opportunity to see the ‘Guardians’ of the Camargue riding their magnificent horses alongside the bulls, a very entertaining spectacle, just like in Arles, as well as joining the locals dancing in the evening, all part of the summer Feria celebrations.  We also had a wonderful meal at L’Ecluse Restaurant, right by the Canal Du Midi.

 

The Guardians of the Camargue

The running of the bulls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running with the bulls in Portiragnes

 

 

Running with the bulls in Portiragnes

 

 

Guardians of the Camargue horses

 

 

After our stay at the France Passion site in St Montan (Ardèche), we carried on south following the river Rhône on the D86/N86/D6086 west of Avignon and, after a bit of a drive round the D2, we found an aire not mentioned in the official guide book at Vallabregues, which looked like an abandoned municipal campsite, but still had the facilities for emptying tanks and filling up with water, plus a nice little lake to cool down.  We ended up here as the aire we were heading for at Comps didn’t have any shade at all and the chemical toilets were out of order, so we took our chances by looking at the map and tried to find a wild camping spot, which was frustrating in this heat, until we were rewarded with the unexpected oasis at Vallabregues.

Unexpected motorhome aire at Vallabregues

 

Tomorrow we are heading for Samatan in the Gers department, west of Toulouse, which should be just over a couple of hours from here, mainly on motorways, but in this heat, it’s the most sensible thing to do.

 

Portiragnes, Wednesday, 23rd July 2011

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Parked under the pine trees at in-laws' house

We’ve been here since Sunday lunchtime and time has just flown by.

We left the campsite at La Capelle-Viescamp just after 10.30 am hoping to find a nice camping spot at Lake Salagou near Clermont-L’Hérault, but the parking area was too steep and rocky and not quite suitable, so we decided to try Montagnac instead.  That’s where the trouble started, as the motorway junction was shut due to le Tour de France and had to make a detour via Castelnau-de-Guets, only to find that this road was shut too for the same reason and after 2 hours of failing to find a suitable overnight stay, we decided to head for Portiragnes, on the southeast coast, and Adonis’ parents’ house one day earlier than expected.  And here we are parked under the pine trees in this beautiful garden.

 

It’s been lovely here, just chilling by the pool all day, except for Bramble having a bit of an accident with some wire on his private parts, which was bleeding quite profusely at one point.  So we took him to the vet just after 6 last night, but had a long wait to be seen (at 7.10 pm eventually).  We left 10 minutes later with some antibiotics, some cream and €55 worse off.

 

And then the girls!

Cooling down at the pool: first the boys...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday was a very windy day, and an even windier night, which kept me up for a while, but it’s lovely and sunny today and we are thinking of going for a bike ride to the beach later on.  It’s nice to be close to the sea, for a change.

Lake Salagou

Lake Salagou

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Salagou

Parking at Lake Salagou

                           

 

Égouzon-Chantôme/Cuzion, Tuesday 12th July 2011

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Dramatic aire at Égouzon-Chantôme/Cuzion

It was really wet this morning and poured down for almost 2 hours from 7 am.  Adonis took Bramble for a walk, then we packed up and headed for Romorantin-Lanthenay and arrived at hyper Leclerc at 8.50, where we had to wait at the entrance sheltering from the downpour until opening time, mercifully only 10 minutes.

After doing our shopping, we took the D922 and D956 road to J11 at Levroux and joined the motorway A20 past Châteauroux until we got here (Cuzion) at a smashing aire that really isn’t an aire, but it’s very rural and it doesn’t look like it gets a lot of use.  It’s on a beautiful spot by the river Creuse, where we can swim, under some dramatic cliffs where some children were doing some rock climbing earlier and there is a lovely dog walk, as well as fresh water.  The sun is out and we are having a nice sparkling rosé on our own in the shade.  What more can you want?  Just lovely!

 

Adon and Bramble had a long swim in the river and I just took lots of pictures of them.  We’ve just spoken to Pepo, who is very happy in Portiragnes playing with Huntley, the new family dog, and his cousin Gabriel.

Égouzon-Chantôme/Cuzion

Sunkissed cliffs at Égouzon-Chantôme/Cuzion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight I am preparing a Caesar salad: the weather is just too hot for cooking.  This is the calm after the almighty storm this morning!

The cliffs in the setting sun

Cooling down in the Creuse river