Aire sur l’Adour
We stop off here to have a look at the market and we are both agree this town as a nice feel about it. We park next to the river Adour, from here we can see the bridge, that has been restored several times over the years.
Once a former Celtic camp it’s steeped in history. According to the legend Sainte Quitterie, a young virgin of royal Visigothic blood, preferred to die rather than deny her faith. Decapitated about 472 in the royal palace of Aire-sur-l’Adour, she carried, her head in her hands to the baptistery of the city where there is now a fountain that bears her name, it’s well known for its cure of headaches, heartbreak and many other ailments.
We stop to pick up shopping on our way to this village. John waits with the motorhome. When I return there are several other motorhomes in the car park. John tells me that one of them drove straight into the barrier and when he went over to speak to them they were blissfully unaware of what had happened. The only way out is back through the barrier so John uses the pole for washing the motorhome to hold the barrier up so they can drive back out.
Villeneuve de Marsan
Further down the road, we stop at Villeneuve-de-Marsan for the night. The aire has space for 7 motorhomes, the couple that are already there look as if they permanently live there.
As we walk along into the town it looks a little more run down compared to some of the places we have been to. We are surprised to find a bullring, Bullfighting only takes place in the South of France. Apparently, the festivals that run alongside these events are more popular than the bullfights, which I’m pleased to hear.
This pretty 13th century fortified village, nestling in the heart of Lower Armagnac, will take you back in time. The Main square in the centre of the village, is simply magnificent, with its typical old arcaded houses and impressive fortified bell tower.
Because the square has a rough gravel surface and cars are excluded it has a more authentic feel than many similar villages.
As we wander around the cobbled streets you can still see the passageways between the houses that once collected rainwater and helped against fighting fires.
The position of the aire makes it feel like you are part of the village. It’s a lovely large, quiet, open space. Everyone is very friendly, we get talking to a nice couple Dave, Michelle and their dog Layla. They suggest some areas to visit near our next house sit.
We spend a couple of days here walking and cycling. We would have stayed longer but in need of water, we move on.
We seem to drive for miles but don’t come across one shop, well one that is open. We decide in future if we see a shop and it’s open we might just go in for the sake of it
Meil sur Garonne
Set on the Garonne river we find a campsite and decide to stay there for the night. Alongside, the river bank is a path used by cyclists, walkers and joggers.
It’s late afternoon when we go for a ride. Passing the narrow boats we set off under the trees which give us shade. The scenery is lovely, with old French buildings, locks and people fishing you soon forget how far you have cycled. Apparently, along this path its possible to cycle all the way to Toulouse, John would be ok with that but at the moment that’s a bit too far for me.
We manage to get back just before the storm starts, it continues to rain well into the night.
We had planned to ride another part of the river today but after last nights weather that doesn’t show any signs of stopping, we decided to just have a drive, well once we navigate our way across the river. We don’t use the satnav all of the time but the one time we do it tries to take us across some of the smallest bridges, so it’s soon turned off.
As we are in the wine region we thought we would try one of the vineyards advertised in the Passion book.
In the small village of Haux is where we find a vineyard, located at the top of the hill overlooking the banks of the Garonne. Château Peneau is a family property, led by woman since the 17th century, the 30-hectare vineyard, is set in the heart of Bordeaux and the Cadillac Côtes area. The grapes are grown on gravelly, clay-limestone soil which enables the wine to have good balance. These women have a motto, From the vineyard to the winemaking, until the bottling, all our efforts are guided by a single watchword: quality, authenticity and natural balance of life cycle.
After sampling and purchasing some of the wine we spend the night here, we have great views across the vineyards.