It has been a very busy week since we left the campsite at Fumel. Our first stop was the brilliant ‘Hotel à Camping Car’ at beautiful and quaint Le Temple-sur-Lot, about 12 miles west of Villeneuve-sur-Lot. We had tried the aire at Casseneuil as planned, just before Le-Temple-sur-Lot, but it was very basic and right opposite a cemetery, which we didn’t fancy, and we were very glad that we’d persevered in our search for a more pleasant stop-over. The Hotel à Camping Car was only €5 a day, paid at barrier, which gave a code to get in and out. This included water and electricity and it had the most fancy and advanced grey water disposal facility we have ever seen, with an automatic rinse from corner sprinklers every time a motorhome emptied their waste water tank to avoid bad smells: simply brilliant!
It was a bit of a rainy day, but we still enjoyed a very pleasant walk through the village and its graceful Monet-inspired gardens and bridges and were only too sorry to see that the formal lili-pad gardens (Latour-Marliac) had closed for the winter only 2 days before we got there and won’t open again till March. What a shame, as they looked every so pretty! The nice fountains in town were also switched off, so we must come back in the spring to see the town in its full glory.
From Le Temple-sur-Lot we headed slightly north west, past Marmande, on to the Base de Loisirs (Leisure Centre) at lovely Fontet marina, where we stayed for 2 nights so that Adonis could do some fishing. This would have been an ideal place to stop for longer if only there had been more facilities in the village or the ride to nearby La Réole, 3 km away, had been more pleasant, as they do a special deal for long-term stays. We thought it might be a good idea to check La Réole before making any decisions, so we cycled there on our second day in the morning, but found access to town centre blocked due to new road surface being laid and too many shops closed down, giving the town an overall ugly, dilapidated and depressing look and I couldn’t wait to get out of there, which we did after buying our daily baguette. Still, Adonis enjoyed 2 afternoons fishing and I nice walks in the pretty grounds of Fontet’s Base de Loisirs, but didn’t find it suitable for a longer stay.
On Saturday morning, we made our way to our beloved Barbotan-les-Thermes hoping to spend a few days’ quality fishing at splendid Lac de l’Uby, our usual Easter stop, but when I went to the Tourist Information Office to book and pay for a pitch at the aire by the lake, I was told it was full and that all that they could offer us was a space on the corner at the edge of the aire with difficult access to the electricity points. We didn’t like the sound of that and, very disappointed, we set off for an overnight stop outside Notre Dame des Cyclistes (Our Lady of the Cyclists), near Labastide d’Armagnac, to sit out another very wet day, but at least we spent a very quiet day and night with lovely long walks for Beano, some under the cover and shelter of very welcome oak trees.
Sunday morning found us at the very interesting Aire-sur-l’Adour, where we parked right by the river near the bullring and campsite for only €5 a night. Here we were amazed at the wonderful artworks in the Cathedral and, even more so, at the Sainte Quitterie Church, built between the 11th and 14th centuries and beneath which still lies a 4th century crypt with some stone tombs of the same period. We were fascinated by this and the story of Sainte Quitterie herself, who was behead on the orders of her suitor prince for refusing to marry him and lose her virginity. Talk about being spiteful! This is the Saint to pray to if you suffer from headaches or migraines (no kidding), skin ailments or rabies! There is a fountain down the road from the church which is supposed to have sprung at the very spot where she was killed, with another water source up the hill where she re-appeared after being decapitated carrying her own head, which is how she is depicted. Both fountains flow continuously and are believed to be eternal. We also learned that Sainte Quitterie’s legend quickly spread out and that she was revered in Spain and Portugal too.
Apart from the amazing architecture and stories, we also enjoyed a visit to the indoor market this morning, where we bought some delicious cheeses, fruit and a roast chicken and potatoes dish for tonight’s dinner.
We think we might head back to Moissac for a few days’ fishing, but we shall see what happens…