Monday, August 20, 2012

The Glorious Twelfth

August 12 is so called in the UK as it is the start of the grouse shooting season, however in our case, it is our wedding anniversary. Yes, we made it through 12 months of matrimony travelling in small living quarters without killing each other.

You may be surprised to learn that we found a fabulous restaurant in Concarneau where we were camped in the south of Brittany. It was in the modern funky French style with food in the same theme. Really was another wonderful lunch.

As the forecast was for rain, we left Brittany the next day. We just can’t do with any more rain. We arrived in the Loire Valley to lovely sunshine and camped in Montsoreau by the river near Saumur. 

We absolutely loved the Loire Valley, so much to see and do, and so much wine to taste. We were highly impressed with the quality of the wine being produced here, mainly Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc of course, but enough Chardonnay and Pinot to make some decent sparklings.
Wine tasting in a Cave in Chinon

The Loire Valley wine region is mainly planted on chalky limestone and many of the wines ‘caves’ are simply dug into the chalk cliffs. There are still many houses being lived in that have been built this way. It’s quite odd to see lace curtains hanging in a cliff face.
What do you think of our new pad??

 We visited some wonderful Chateaux, an amazing abbey where Eleanor of Aquitaine ended her days. She was quite a gal in her day, much loved and very devout, but finished up as a Nun in Fontevraud Abbey and is buried there along with her hubbie (Henry II) and 2 of her 8 children.
Eleanor's resting place

Part of Fontevraud Abbey

The small town of Chinon was a complete surprise. Not only is the wine wonderful, but the town is a real delight. Just as you imagine, cobbled streets, quaint stone buildings, a fortress, a river, and wonderful restaurants.

After leaving the Loire, we headed straight to Monfort in the Gers, where our friends David and Alison have that wonderful house ‘Au Petit Lombard’ where we stayed last year. As Alison was heading back to the UK we made a 500km dash in the Hymer to get there before she left. The ‘dash’ took 8 hours in 40 degree heat with no air-conditioning.

We wanted warm weather, and oh boy, do we have it. 42° the day we arrived and high 30’s each day at the moment. The swimming pool is getting a lot of use.

We’ll backtrack after this to the Dordogne and then head to Bordeaux before going south and over the Pyrenees.

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