Villefranche-de-Lauragais, Haute-Garonne, Wednesday 17th August 2016

Excellent pitch on gravel with own picnic table and shower/washing facilities and microwave on the left

A lot has happened since my last diary entry at Ste Eulalie d’Olt and that seems like a long time ago already, even though it’s only been 10 days.
After leaving that pretty village, we made our way to Barnassac as planned and stayed at the lovely municipal campsite, where we were allowed to choose our pitch and were lucky enough to find a huge space just by the river.  It was very peaceful and idyllic, so we stayed for three days chilling by the river Lot or swimming in the campsite pool.  We also cycled to La Canourgue to get some bread and along the river just to do some exercise.  We loved it there and I am sure we’ll be back before long.

Camping right by the river Lot at pretty Banassac municipal campsite

That was followed by a one-day stay at the amazing Lac du Salagou, about 25 miles west of Montpellier, and once again we were struck by the striking beauty of its purple earth and hills and enjoyed a couple of refreshing swims in the lake, which is very popularn with day-trippers and campers, but still very quiet at night.  

Stunning Lac du Salagou

Water activities and catering facilities at Lac du Salagou

The motorhome aire is by the campsite on the north side of the lake and it costs €9 a day, but the EHU was disconected, which was a bit disappointing but didn’t spoil the enjoyment of being in such a stunning location.

View of Lake and campsite from the hilltop at Lac de Salagou

Arles was our next stop in our itinerary (in as much as we have one) as we wanted to visit the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation, where they were holding an exhibition of 35 original Van Gogh paintings, which was an absolute privilege to see.  They were also showing some amazing drawings and paintings by the British artist Glenn Brown, which was also very interesting, thought provoking and enjoyable.

Place de la Republique, Arles

Beautiful window flower display in Arles

We stayed at Camping City for only €24 for the day, quite cheap we thought, considering how close it is to this most charming of towns (about 15 minutes’ walk) and it also had a swimming pool and very good washing/shower facilities.

Vincent Van Gogh foundation
A real privilege to view original paintings by Van Gogh
Glenn Brown’s work exhibited in the Van Gogh Foundation

From Arles, we drove to the aire at Villeneuve-le-Maguelone, but the ticket machine seemed to be malfunctioning and, after trying 5 different credit and bank cards, we gave up and decided to try a France Passion site, ending up at Domain de Fourques, in Juvignac, just on the west side of Montpellier, where we spent another very pleasant day and got some lovely wine to bring home and other local products to like grape seed oil and jams for presents for the family.  This is another fantastic stop in a lovely setting run by very friendly hosts and we were invited to walk around the enormous vineyard, which we did at sunset, as it had been a scorcher of a day.

Our pitch at The fabulous Domain de Fourques at Juvignac, France Passion site

Evening walk around vineyard at Domain de Fourques, Juvignac

From Juvignac, we made our way to Portiragnes to stay a few days with the Saysell clan, which was very pleasant, as always, with the added bonus of having Jackie and Gabriel there too.  We were quite contented just to lounge around by the pool and enjoy meals with the family and it was all going perfectly well until yesterday morning, when I was giving the dogs a treat after a short shopping trip and Huntley attacked Beano quite viciously, sending me into a fit of hysteria and a panic attack of uncontrollable sobbing, as I really thought that Huntley had killed Beano, as he was swinging him by the neck and I was totally powerless to stop it, Huntley being such a big dog.  Fortunately, Beano came out almost completely unscathed and got away with some minor scratches on his nose, chin and torso: talk about a lucky escape!
After I calmed down eventually with Jackie’s help, reassuring me that Beano was OK, Adonis decided we couldn’t possibly stay any longer and left after midday.  We first tried the motorhome aire in Portiragnes Plage, but that was full so we ended up at Serignan Plage instead, which is a new aire part of the Camping Car Park scheme, for which you buy a card at barrier and top it up to use at other sites all over the country.  The card costs just €4 and this aire €12, but considereing that the campsite next door would have been €65 for the 3 of us, we thought that was quite a bargain.
The most beautiful thing here was walking back on the Mediterranean shore from Portiragnes after a meal with the family, as we couldn’t get a taxi.  It was a perfect warm evening with a full moon, very romantic and a most endearing experience.

We left Serignan this morning for this superb aire south east of Toulouse, with wonderful facilities, including a brilliant shower and a microwave: another lucky find!

Excellent Motorhomers’ facilities at Villefranche-de-Lauragais

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