Heading South – France

We had an uneventful first day, arriving in Calais in the morning and making a pilgrimage to Carrefour before heading South. Our overnight stop was a lovely Aire by the town library in a place called Broglie. The next day we travelled further South and stayed overnight at Uzerche, a fantastic old town.

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On Friday, we continued to Carcassonne and stayed overnight on a car park near the entrance to the old town and castle. We had been a bit put off by a report on the internet that it was a bit dodgy and that a motorhome had been broken into there, but decided in the end that there are such reports on the internet about most places we’ve been. We didn’t see any motorhomes broken into, but a house in the next street did mysteriously go up in flames during the night….

We visited the town and castle on Saturday and were very impressed. It was extremely quiet, but from the size of the car parks and number of eating establishments, we could imagine that it must be packed in the summer.

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From Carcassonne we drove about 40 miles to our next overnight stop further South at Lapradelle-Puilaurens. We had intended to go look at some Cathar castles, but the weather had been grim for a couple of days and was showing no signs of improving. We stayed overnight on a small Aire next to the fire station. The next morning, the castle of Puilaurens (which we hadn’t realised was quite so close) briefly appeared through the mist. Oh well, we thought, next time…….

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We set off to find the road out of town closed. We took a different route through the hills to cut across to where we wanted to go, and as this route took us right past the entrance to the castle, decided to drive up to the car park to have a look. We made it about 300 metres before having to turn round due to a raging torrent (which on a narrow road meant Mark running around in the rain taking the trailer off then reattaching it once Kampington was facing the right way).

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Continuing along the twisting road through the hills, we saw plenty of water and debris on the road but made it to the other side and the next main road without incident.

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We had to turn round later due to another closed road – a few cars, mainly 4WDs, did go through but from the bouncing around and the height of the water on the doors, it didn’t seem like a good idea, particularly with the trailer following behind.

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We were intending to stay overnight at Port Vendres but found in the end that we couldn’t actually get there down the coast road we were on – we got as far as Argelès sur Mer but all other roads into the town seemed to be closed, so after an eventful day we headed a few miles back up the coast and stayed at St Cyprien instead. The next morning I heard the Mayor of Argelès who had been interviewed on the radio about the floods. Thankfully, the roads were by then reopening so we could cross over into Spain on Sunday morning without further ado.

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