Fraisse Sur Agout 16/05/2015
Sitting in the van as we are having our first rain for a month and the heating is on. Welcome to the South of France. A new country should mean a new poem. But at this moment in time by creative juices are being hampered by prejudice and previous encounters with the people of France and I think it fair that the poem should be reflect on this visit alone. All I ever hear about France is; awesome country, awful people. I want to put those feelings aside and judge France objectively. I also need to put aside our observations of French motorhomers’ behaviour we have witnessed, which to be fair, is in a class of crassness far beyond any other creed. So France, give us your best shot so we can write a gushing poem at the end
Fraisse is here:
The drive through the Pyrenees was stunning and the contrast between both Spain and Andorra to France was remarkable. In Spain you have a restaurant on every corner, in France the landscape is wilder, more natural, more beautiful. In Andorra everyone is smartly dressed, in France everyone looks like an overweight sack of spuds. Checking the weather we knew we had until Friday to admire the countryside on offer and in addition, get the Kayak out on a river. Fanjeaux was our chosen spot deep inside the wine-producing area of Languedoc. A great introduction to French villages, right down to the teeny town square with bar. We have waited eight months to sit in a village square, in the sun and have a cold beer. And we did and we loved it, not even the lumberjack-shirt wearing local who flicked fag ash over us continually was going to spoil our idyll. Until we asked the price, €2.50 for a small beer. Where do you think you are Henri? Venice? Were we paying for the view? No, our view consisted of an Artic Lorry cab parked in front of a broken building. €2.50, rip off. We left. The rest of the village was shut. Bit like Spain then.
We approached Carcassonne in two minds as reports had liken it to a Ford Mustang; great on the outside, rubbish within. So firstly, the outside is a fairy-tale castle par excellence. It is an impressive spectacle with its stout walls and spiky turrets sitting atop a rocky hill. The first let-down is to find out the turrets are not original, well most of it is not. It fell into disrepair and was saved from destruction by an architect a hundred years ago. In reality then it is a Victorian architect’s view of what a medieval city should look like. Nevertheless, he made a fair job of it. Some pictures:
Unfortunately once inside you need to look upwards at all times to appreciate the splendour of the buildings. At eye-level the world of tat and fast-food has taken over. This place makes Windsor High Street look classy.
After wandering around inside for bit we made the decision to take advantage of the first-hour-free-offer in the car park, to not do would cost €5. Jeez we could get to mouthfuls of beer for that. Here are our pics of our whistle-stop tour of La Cite.
As we headed out of town we stopped at the newly opened Carrefour for some provisions. France is far dearer than Spain. Is the quality better? Yes undoubtedly.
Stocked-up we left for the town of Fraisse Sur Agout where we going to park riverside and get the kayak out.
N.B. We spent longer in Carrefour than we did in the make-believe world of La Cite. Mmmmmmm
The drive was a tough one with the road being mostly single-tracked and most other people on it had just finished lunch. The countryside though is dramatic and beautiful in equal measures. The ruggedness of Spain has been replaced by a feminine attractiveness reminiscent of the Lake District.
Just before we reached our destination Tracy saw a huge raptor take flight and land high up a nearby tree. We took out the binos and confirmed with the aid of our book a Short-toed Eagle. This was a new spot for us and to top it off we were able to watch it eat a snake it had caught.
Fraisse Sur Agout 13/05 – 16/05/2015
A cracking spot in a cracking village. It is easy to see why people fall in love with rural France. First impressions were wonderful so we booked in for three days. Days that were to be spent kayaking, cycling, and enjoying our own piece of Midsomer Magma in deepest France.
Things went a little wrong when we were told we were not allowed to Kayak in the river, thank you ‘all the aires guidebook’ for the duff info. Never mind we still had the Dordogne to come. Getting the newly acquired GoPro out we made a short film of duck-feeding. Ducks
The next day we went into town, awoke the woman who runs the tourist centre from her bench-based slumber, strange, and got some bike riding routes. Not for us as they are all for mountain-bikes. We did go for a ride through the gorgeous countryside around us and here are the results.
At the end we treated ourselves to a coffee. A creamy delight served to us by an elderly lady who gave a formidable impersonation of Mrs Overall, right down to most of it being in the saucer. At €3 a pop I hate to think of the cost if it had been served in a cup.
So Friday and the rains have started. So first light I am hoofed out of bed with full rain protected Gore-tex on to get the pain au chocolate. Not one to miss an opportunity I took the camera along for some wet village shots.
Lastly for those of you of been thinking hard and deep about; what does the kitchen in a motorhome look like? Well here we are
Love to all