On leaving Bergerac we are undecided on where to head next and with the weather still looking gloomy in this area we move further south. In need of groceries, we stop at Miramont de Guyenne, it’s a village we know well having house sat there a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, the aire is closed otherwise we would have stayed here as the first night is free.
Park for the night is showing an aire at Casteljaloux but just as we arrive in the town ‘Ditzy our satnav decides to have a fag break, unaware of the road works until the last minute, and with a now somewhat looking irate French motorhome behind us it’s time to do a three-point turn!
When we finally find the aire it’s just off of a busy, noisy road but having driven some distance already today we decide to stay.
Located in the southwest of the Lot-et-Garonne, south of Marmande and west of Agen, Casteljaloux is a small town and on walking in we realise the road works are due to the main square being relaid and the traffic from this is certainly keeping the police busy, but surprisingly to us we have a very quiet night.
Realising how close we are to Labastide de Armangnac we turn off the D933 and head for this classic bastide village.
Like the last time we were here we stop for a couple of days. Walking up to one of the many narrow streets with old wooden houses that surround most of the square it’s a lot quieter today. Thursday morning is market day and with just 5 stalls it’s still popular, and when I queue outside of the boulangerie I soon realise why it’s taking so long, he is not only the baker but also the banker!!
Today the central arched square is quiet with just 2 restaurants open when we stop for a coffee but it’s also a great place to try the Armagnac.
A 5-minute drive from here is Chapel Notre-Dame de Cyclists, this lovely little church is dedicated to cyclists and John donated one of his shirts here a few years ago, unfortunately, it doesn’t open until May so we don’t get to see inside this time.
So far on this trip, we haven’t seen many English vans so it was good to see one pull up opposite us. Chatting with John and Marilyn learn about their travels and their Hand-crafted stained glass business on the Isle of Wight.
Now used to the constant sound of the French airforce going over from nearby Mont de Marson we sit outside and eat dinner making the most of today’s sun.
In need of freshwater, we move on, but I would have been happy to have spent days here.
After stopping off at Intermarche to pick up water, bread and a hair dye ( got to keep on top of the grey roots) we drive to Biarritz. With the traffic building and the cars driving like wacky racers I’m not sure this is such a good idea.
Arriving at the first aire there are a couple of vans in front of us already waiting when we get out to pay and soon discover there’s a problem with the terminal, with more motorhomes building up behind us, we are told that the site is full and have to reverse out on to a busy roundabout because the access road isn’t wide enough!!
The next site is further out of town but there’s space, albeit by early evening when the Spanish start to arrive, pulling up opposite us, John described it as a scene from the tv programme 22 Kids and counting, they just keep piling out of the van, there are children everywhere and it’s sounding and looking more like a Gypsy encampment!!
Biarritz is only 30 minutes from the north Spanish border so you can see why it attracts so many. The town is set on a steep incline and offers phenomenal views as we walk in it’s also an opportunity to get our steps up for the day.
Once thought of as the Monte Carlo of the Atlantic coast full of monarchs and glitterati, however today I get the impression that it’s the big waves and beachy lifestyle that’s more the attraction here, however, if like its name suggests you like the Rizty lifestyle it’s worth a visit but for us, it’s too busy, so it’s Au revoir France for a few weeks as we head to the Spanish border.
Coordinates for Aires in France
Miramont de Guyenne
N 44° 36′ 12
E 0° 21′ 42
N 44° 18′ 39
E 0° 4′ 46
Labastide de Armangnac
N 43° 27′ 35
W 1° 34′ 7