Friday afternoon [18th September] we left Spain after driving through the Somport Tunnel and drove back into France. Motorhoming in France is surely the easiest country to do so in Europe. They have over 3000 Aires, France Passion places, Municipal Campsites, plenty of ACSI Discount Camping Sites and no-one seems to mind if you stay overnight in carparks etc. The roads are good, shops are plentiful and easy to find, the food is excellent and the wine is cheap. After spending 3 months in eastern Europe at the beginning of our trip it all seems too easy.
After crossing the border we stayed in an aire on the outskirts of Arudy, situated in the Pyrenees, where it was very quiet next to a river with a handful of other motorhomes.
In the morning we drove to Lourdes where we parked up near the town in a designated motorhome parking area. We could have stayed there overnight but decided on a campsite instead. A 20 minute walk through the streets past tourist shops and we arrived at the church and the grotto area. We found the church very beautiful with some wonderful mosaics and the setting was grand. We saw many people around, tourists, religious orders, nurses and sick and disabled people who came to the place to be immersed in the water with the hope to be healed.
Many candles were being burnt, with the idea of helping their prayer to be continued, they seemed a little expensive and you could even buy a family or group candle which was enormous and must have burnt for days or even weeks. As we are not catholic we found some things hard to understand but very interesting. After a while we walked back via the town and headed to a quiet campsite a few kilometres up the road, an ACSI card campsite which had plenty of Dutch, German and English motorhomes.
Yes there is a town in France called Condom. We left the campsite late in the morning and headed in a northerly direction. As we were driving we saw a very busy area in a small village and noticed that it was a bric a brac and second hand fair, after driving through and then turning back we found a park in the field we went to have a look.
They had food stalls, rides, a bar, local produce stalls, vintage cars and plenty of bric a brac stalls. For a few hours we wondered around coming away with a new belt for Ewout, a wood file, some strawberry jam and a couple of inexpensive purses. In the afternoon we stopped at an aire in the village of Valence sur Baise where we stayed the night. We still didn’t reach Condom but that would wait until tomorrow.
On Monday we did get to drive through Condom, stopped at the Lidl to do some grocery shopping and continued on to the town of Cahors. There are two places to park with a motorhome one was next to the river where there are only 3 places, this was full, the other place is in a large carpark with room for 50 motorhomes. Last time we were here in 2009 we were lucky and managed to get a place on the riverside.
The walk to town took 10 minutes and we were in the centre. After finding the Tourist Information office and getting a map we spent a few hours exploring the old town, winding our way through the maze of streets and stopping to explore the Cathedral before walking across town to the old bridge. That night we decided to head out into the countryside and spend the night on a France Passion site where they grew wine grapes and kiwi fruit. Unfortunately they were busy with harvest and the kiwis weren’t ripe yet so none were on offer to buy.
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