Leaving Andorra on the CG2/E09/20 delivers a spectacular journey and this route seems to be a motorcyclists mecca as all the way down small packs of bikers skimmed past us like wasps. This route took us to a surprise destination, and our first for a while in France, Mirepoix. Mirepoix is not underlined or starred (which indicates a place of interest) in the Marco Polo Europe Atlas or is not mentioned in the Lonely Planet France, but whilst reading the comments on the Camper-Contact App we realised that this was an in fact a medieval market town. Also the town’s Aire had services and was free so this always influences us when route planning. Mirepoix certainly was a special place and has an amazing square that is surrounded by buildings propped on wooden stilts. Further to this, the town’s community centre which was right next to the Aire were hosting ‘Kiko and the Gypsyland’ band and they were playing their final gig in the town on the Saturday we arrived. The style of music was kind of Mexican crossed with flamenco and salsa played entirely on four guitars and of course I bought their cd and obviously I chose to wear a Levellers T’shirt, rudimentary gig attire! Here, at the event we met Gaelle, Leslie and Nadage and we would like to thank them for their hospitality as they threw an early hours impromptu after gig party at their apartment – “sante et paz”.
Kiko and Gypsyland
Mirepoix was leading us to Carcassonne, put here we kind of messed up. First we could not find the Aire and when we did get there it would have cost us 20 Euros to park up for the night. So we had to make do with a drive around the walled historical town. The second plan was to go to Lagrasse to the east of Carcassonne. This town sits on the ‘Route 20’ Les Corbieres wine route and lies in stunning, what I would call, typically French country side.
We are in France!! Route 20 wine route.
The town itself is small but has an impressive compact historic section and an abbey and is certainly worth a day trip. To counteract the loss of not seeing Carcasonne we treated ourselves to a 4 course menu at L’Affenasse Restaurant on the principle street through Lagrasse. The food was simply amazing, see photo of Sharon’s starter, “bon appetitie”.
Smoked duck salad, L’Affenasse.
The next planned destination was Sete, where I have fond memories from a few years back of going to Giles Petersons World Music festival. More Aire woes here I am afraid so we moved onto Balaruc-les-Bains which was full and then onto Palavas-les-Flots. Apparently the French fuel crisis, which we were completely oblivious to, is making motorhomers stay put.
Palavas is a simple pleasant seaside town serving the main city Montpellier and we have been here 2 nights already parked up next to the marina. We have taken a little time out from driving, passing time by playing boule next to the harbour and finishing off our books.
Sharon always beats me at boule
Also there were a few nice surprises on the evenings at the marina. On one evening a local car club congregated and had a barbeque. Secondly I spotted an English canal boat moored up and that made me think about next years travel possibilities!!!
The Palavarian car club, I’ll take the blue Talbot Rally please.
One for my Mom and Dad, British Waterways 503284 – “Esmeralda” moored up at Palavas-les-Flots.