was a wet day as
we continued south-east towards the Dordogne, through several
towns, then managed to get lost in the maze of lanes through
dense woods of the extensive Fôret de la Double, before
reaching a busy main road with lots of lorries.
Bergerac ring-road, we turned off to the large château at Monbazillac
for a lunch stop. We then drove across farming country to the old
of Villareal, where the free borne had the slowest push button water
tap ever. Although the town looked interesting with its timbered
buildings, the weather was still poor, so we drove on the aire below the
massive dark chateau at Biron for a peaceful night.
The next day was sunnier so we drove to
Monpazier, a popular tourist destination with its market in the large
central square. After a stroll around the town, we again got lost along
lanes and ended up at Fumel. After more meandering along quiet roads to
tiny walled village of Frespech, we reached the aire at Roquecor,
another attractive small village with many restored buildings.
We found from an Open Gardens leaflet that a large
nursery of Latour-Marliac, famous for its water lilies, was having an open day so headed
there, passing though the large town of Villeneuve-sur-Lot to Le
Temple-sur-Lot, where we eventually found it. They had an impressive
with many unusual colours, although not many were in full bloom, and
had records of supplying
Monet with lilies for his garden at Giverny.
Saint-Clar market square
We continued south bypassing the large town of Agen, and stopped at
Lectoure for lunch before driving to Saint Clar, a small bastide
town with two arcaded squares, one with a market hall, the other
with a large church. There was a fete being set up with stalls and
funfair, but the music and entertainment wasn't starting until
11pm! However we spent a peaceful night on the free aire at a former
campsite on the edge of the town.
We continued south to Marciac,
famous for its jazz festival every August, and pulled in to Camping du
Lac, run by a welcoming British couple. It was now much warmer so
we spent a lazy two days strolling around the nearby lake and
With the Pyrénées in the distance we
continued on busier roads around Tarbes, where we called in to the
massive centre commercial for a major food shop. We then drove down to
Lourdes and took the bypass on to Pierrefitte-Nestalas where we found a
pleasant aire in the town centre, by a walking trail into the hills
along a former railway track.
Mountains from near Pierrefitte-Nestalas
From there we took the main road to the superb Cirque de Gavarnie with
its impressive waterfalls. Parking at the large aire 2km out of the
town, we walked up to the Notre-Dame de Nieges statue on the nearby
hill, with good views to the mountains. The next morning we
parked in the village centre and took the track towards the cirque
which wasn't too busy as we set off quite early in the morning, before
the day trippers and coaches arrived at this much visited site. Luckily it was a beautiful sunny day for our hike.