Day 80 – Caumont-sur-Garonne
We left Carcassone and headed towards Valence. We’ve been amazed by the amount of grape vines growing in this area. Practically the entire journey is full of vines as far as you can see. When we arrived in the little town we realised that it was about to hold a festival. There was a huge stage with masses of speakers surrounded by lots of little tents, so funnily enough the campsite was completely booked up. We pulled over to have some lunch on the side of the road and to make a new plan. It was decided that we’d use today as a driving day and move further West to Caumont-sur-Garonne. This was a random little free spot right on the canal alongside a tiny little town which was incredibly peaceful.
After we’d set up we were advised by an English couple living on a canal boat not to walk down along the canal on the left as there was a huge hornet’s nest and they were attacking anyone who went past. As we weren’t too sure on what was in the area I took the opportunity to ask them about what there was to do. This turned into a very long conversation where they then handed over their entire collection of French books and a list of places they recommended. They had been living in the area on the canal boat for a few years with their two cats. They liked this pitch in particular as they could leave both their motorhome and their car in a single space for free indefinitely. There were also three other couples living in their motorhomes along this stretch. We then spent the rest of the day going through their books and relooking at our route. One of the places they recommended was called Oraduor-sur-Glane which was a small French town that the Nazis burnt down, the whole village has been left exactly as it was. After dinner I took them back their books and told them the route we were planning to take. They also recommended us a place to park in the centre of Bordeaux, something we were struggling to find.
Day 81 – Arriving in Bordeaux
We chilled out by the van for the majority of the morning and into early afternoon. When we were packing up we realised that the entire van was covered in sap from the trees above us so it now looks like it’s covered in spots. We arrived in Bordeaux late afternoon and the parking place we’d been recommended was quite literally in the centre of town. We can literally see the statue and fountain from the car! There were a number of campers in this particular car park, including one we watch crash into a tree coming round a tighet corner.
We wandered into town to visit the tourist office and find a supermarket so we could buy some food, then it was back to the van to plan our following days visit. By 8pm, every camper bar one had left the car park so we started to wonder if we were actually meant to park in the car park overnight. Just to be safe we moved out of the car park and onto the road just outside where a number of other campers were. We’re still not sure if you’re actually allowed to park in the car park, or whether people moved just outside because it meant you didn’t have to pay the £3.50 overnight fee.
Day 82 – Bordeaux
We moved back into the car park at 8am, had a nap, then headed into the town. Well, along the river front first past the crazy water installation which was basically full of children playing. It was hot again today after a few relatively cloudy days, so it was more than tempting just to run through the water. Bordeaux is actually beautiful, with it’s grand buildings, water front, quaint little side streets with boutique shops. I even treated myself to dragging Jack around some funky jewellery shops. He didn’t appreciate it much.
We did do the typical tourist stuff such as checking out the old city gates, the clock tower and the churches and cathedrals. The main cathedral is currently being cleaned which is always funny to see. One side is literally white, then there’s a row of scaffolding and the other side of it is completely dirty. We didn’t go in or up anything as we’re saving our money for a nice meal nearer the end of our trip. Parking was also costing us quite a bit, so we were happy with a wander and a definite promise that we’ll be back to enjoy the food as well. Who knows, maybe we’ll have grown up a bit and like wine. We did attempt to go to the market as neither of us can refuse a good market, but it was closed.
This church was interesting. From the outside it looks a bit random, nothing really matches or lines up or is even symmetrical. It’s like someone was testing out different designs for churches and kind of chucked it all together. The inside however is a different story. It looks quite grand from the picture of the organ, but it genuinely looks like it’s going to fall apart. There’s cracks all the way up the walls through the ceiling. It’s also got water damage round the windows spreading down the walls to the floor, which made it look a bit sad.
We then walked back along the riverfront to see the old bridge before heading back through the quaint little side streets.
Just along from the clock tower was the best shop for stuff you never even knew you needed called Bonendroi! I could have spent a fortune in there with all it’s amazing gadgets and notebooks and crazy lights.
Make sure you out more of my posts on our Europe Road Trip across 3 months, 7,000 miles and 15 countries.
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