Journey from Haute-Saône to Hérault

The Saône river at Gray

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.

Louis XIV door in Gray (spot number on the wall: coincidence?)
You can see and feel the age of the door as you approach
Highly decorative roof of the Townhall at Gray
The attractive Townhall
Entrance to Museum Baron Martin
Museum Baron Martin

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.

Vineyard in Burgundy country
Château Mersault
Cellar with fine Burgundy wines at Château Mersault

 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. 

Peaceful Étang du Rousset
Our free spot for the day and night at Étang du Rousset

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. 

Gate at Montpeyroux, one of the most beautiful villages in France
13th century Keep
One of the many ancient and gorgeous buildings at Monpeyroux
You need flat shoes to walk on these ancient streets
And expect steep climbs!
But the views of the Volcans d’Auvergne are totally worth it!
Lovely courtyard garden and view of the Volcans d’Auvergne
And there was even an old Aga outside a building to add to the charm!

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.

Rich red earth at Lac du Salagou, Hérault

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.

Lac du Salagou
The beach outside campsite
Keeping cool in the gorgeous evening light

7 thoughts on “Journey from Haute-Saône to Hérault

  1. You apparently like architecture as much as my daughter does. She surprised me when her photos from London and Paris were mostly of buildings. Then she said, “Didn’t you know I minored in ‘architecture’ in college?” I knew only that she was a communications major. Surprise!

    Lovely and inspiring, Fatima!

    Liked by 2 people

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