Making our way to the south of France from Corre in the Haute-Saône, we spent 2 days at the lovely motorhome aire in Gray (about 40km northeast of Dijon), as it had electricity and water and was right by the river Saône, where we were able to swim and cool off in these unusually high temperatures. The motorhome aire is quite large with generously sized pitches and the cost for the night was only €5, which we thought was very reasonable. Besides swimming in the river, we also walked into the town itself and stopped for a beer and an ice-cream at a wonderful bar overlooking the river. The town is very old, with many interesting buildings and features, including a Lous XIV door, the gorgeous Townhall with highly decorative roof tiles, the Museum Baron Martin, housed in a château modified by the last king of France, Louis XVIII, and the Basilica of Notre Dame de Gray.
From Gray, we drove through beautiful Burgundy country and stopped at Château Mersault to buy a couple of bottles of the famous fine wine. Tastings were offered, but it was still quite early in the morning and we didn’t bother this time, knowing the wine would be just fabulous, anyway.
We spent the rest of the day at peaceful and gorgeous Étang du Rousset, where we also found a secluded semi-wild camping site nestled in the woods at the far end of the lake that we thought might use next time we are in this area. The weather turned a bit windy and cooler, so I didn’t venture to swim in the lake, although Adonis did. This was near Mount-St-Vincent, about 20km northwest of Cluny, and it is definitely a place to come back to, even though it didn’t have any facilities.
The next day, we carried on south to Montpeyroux, a medieval village part of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages in France’ scheme, in the heart of the Auvergne with magnificent views of the Volcans d’Auvergne. the village is indeed beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed walking in the windy streets and looking at the attractive ancient buildings and the surrounding stunning landscape. The castle here used to control a site of great strategic value, at the entrance of the Limagne and on an important north-south route, Le Chemin Français or French Way.
There was supposed to be an area just for motorhomes in the large free car park outside the village, but we were disappointed to find it had been taken over by cars whose owners were visiting the educational farm opposite. Unfortunately, it also turned out to be very noisy during the night, with motorhomes arriving well past midnight and people returning to their cars, engines starting, etc, so we don’t think we’ll use this particular site again in the height of summer, although it might be lovely out of season, as it is often the case.
Our next stop on our way to Portiragnes was Lac du Salagou, Hérault, a fantastic lake surrounded by striking red earth mountains, which we made the most of by having several refreshing swims on another scorching day and even Beano was allowed to join us! We stayed at the motorhome aire adjacent to campsite (where payment is taken for the use of the aire), but we thought next time we’d like to spend a few days in the camping itself, as it is shady and has direct access to the beach and a bar.