We left our carpark at 9.00 and headed to Bordeaux, it was about 250 kilometers which doesn’t sound like much, but in the first section I am sure there were at least a thousand roundabouts and continual towns along the coastal roads. It was not until we hit the main highway that we made some progress and at 2.30 in the afternoon we reached Bordeaux and found a park on the opposite side of the river from the city.
After the long drive Ewout was very tired and cranky and decided to stay at the motorhome to catch up on some blog writing while Jenny and Lori went for a walk and enjoy a coffee, walked through the old gate into the town and explored the streets. The fountain in the park was beautiful….the statues were all taken down and hidden during WW2, and have been reinstated over time. A fairground on the way back was also fun to look through. Walking along the river bank, they came across a large water feature, misting, then bubbling and then still…all ages were enjoying a splash and cooling their feet.
The carpark at Bordeaux was not really a quiet place to spend the night so we decided to go to the town of St. Emilion in the wine region. Park4night had a place to stay among the vineyards but it took us through the very narrow streets of the town to a place that was not really suitable to stay overnight. Our next choice was the carpark at the railway station where we were joined by two other motorhomes for the night. A hot air balloon group arrived later, and set up a trestle table with food and drinks, then just as quickly left. The town was hosting a balloon event on the weekend and we thought we might get to see them the next morning, but it was foggy until lunchtime…not good for flights or photos. Another unexpected visitor that night was a young man practising fire breathing.
The next morning we drove in the fog to the outskirts of town, parked up and went to explore. Narrow winding streets led us past caves, locals at their doors looking for the sun, to the top of the hill and the church and the tower. As we walked down, we came across the original cave church built into the limestome cliff. St Emilion was named after a monk, Emilion who settled into a cave carved into the limestone rock. The monks who came after started enlarging the caves, built a church and started commercial wine production and it is now a renowned wine producing area of Bordeaux.
We had another long drive to another aire in a small town of Vivonne. A very pleasant place in the centre of town with a lovely bakery nearby. Of course we had to try some french pastries for dessert that night. We spent a quiet night parked up with a few other motorhomes next to a small canal.
The next few days followed a similar pattern, driving a few hundred kilometers and visiting a place or shopping on the way. On Sunday our destination was to be Amboise in the Loire Valley , the roads were very quiet and the weather was excellent, clear skies and warm.
We drove into this tourist town and found it was not very motorhome friendly with narrow windy streets, most of the carparks prohibited motorhomes and the carpark/aires were charging ridiculous prices to park for a couple of hours. We did see a park by the side of the river which meant a short walk, it would do us some good as we have been trying lots of food during our travels. In the town was the Chateau d’Amboise which you can visit for the entry fee of 8€. A place of residence for French kings from the 15th to the 19th centuries, its destiny is linked to the history of France. Numerous literary figures and artists were invited here, like Leonardo da Vinci whose tomb is preserved at the château. A couple of amazing spiral ramps, wide enough for horses and a carriage are incorporated into the chateau one we walked down to exit the site. The chateau was worth a visit and had some great views of the town and the Loire valley.
Another overnight place, a carpark behind some old army barracks and next to a small river. We went for a pleasant late afternoon stroll through the town stopping for a rosé at a local bar then back to the motorhome for a very quiet night. After breakfast Jenny and Lori went for a walk up to the ruins of a chateau, home of Henri 4, which was close by and by mid morning we were on the road again.