Published: November 1st 2011August 8th 2011
Into France in the morning. Sounds a bit funny to say that, but it wasn't rally very far at all from San Sebastian. Immediately the drivers got better and the prices and roads got worse. Spanish drivers have supreme difficulty merging onto a freeway and, thankfully, that changed in France. A lot fewer crazy roundabouts, and French drivers are a lot slower than the Spaniards, or the Belgians – the Belgians are nuts. Nice cheese though. In France, that is. I've heard that Belgian cheese is simply boring.
We headed to Condom (no jokes please) in the Armagnac region. Armagnac was pretty nice – neat and, I suppose, French looking. We found the municipal campsite easily. We had downloaded the Archies points of interest for camping, and they were heaps better than the standard TomTom ones. And, the camping was only 22 euros – far less than we had been shelling out in Spain. And it was excellent – very well equipped and even free wifi. It was lucky the camping was cheaper as the food prices had taken an unfortunate lurch skyward.
A walk into to town along the centuries old tow-path next to the river was pleasant,
a puchase of armagnac, a look at Los Tres Mosqueteros (yes, I know that's Spanish, but French sounds funny), and we were in France for real.
A shorter drive the following day, this time to Domme
. Another municipal campground, but we did have to wait until the lady returned from siesta, or whatever that is in French, to book in. Right on the river, and a 20 minute walk up to the top of the hill to Domme. It was a good thing we had walked the 2kms up the steep hill as the appropriately priced and excellent French food was pretty rich. The setting of Domme was impressive – high on a bluff overlooking the countryside below, the Dordogne river directly in front forming a natural barrier on one side, and walls remained around the remainder of the town. It was very touristy, but also very well preserved Medieval town.
We got up at sparrows for the 7 hour drive to Beaune
in the heart of Burgundy wine country. We would have liked to linger but we had places to be, motogps to see. It was a nice, if long, drive.
It was wine country, with all
that entails – wine wankers, higher prices and good food. The older travellers opted for the relative luxury of a hotel – we put our savings into a fantastic feed of duck which Klaire cooked brilliantly, aided slightly by a judicious application of internet advice.
The town of Beune itself wasn't bad at all. It retained portions of its medieval walls, so you had some idea where you were, and it was a very pleasant place to spend a day wandering about in. For us, though, it was less about the town and more about the good red wine and the well cooked duck. Although, to be honest, the French burgundy was a touch insipid for my liking. You see, red wine gives me an almost instant headache, so if I'm going to drink it I want to know that I'm drinking it.
There are more photos below