France 2014……….finding the sun.

At La Suze-sur-Sarthe.

After watching the Monaco GP we go for a saunter round the town and along the bank of the river. Back to base and I find a decent free wi-fi signal and catch up on emails, answer a couple of posts on Motorhome Facts forum and post some text to this blog. The photos take a bit more work so will have to wait. I also have a look at Meteo France and find that most of France has somewhat iffy weather apart from the south east corner. So, that fixes our plan, off to the Med and Gruisson in particular.

A fairly sharpest get away on Monday morning and we are targeting Souillac on the Dordogne for our overnight stop. The roads are fairly quiet for a Monday morning and the weather is fair….cloudy but dry. Back north towards Le Mans and then south down the Mulsanne Straight, part of the Le Mans race track. There is much preparatory work going on for the 24 hour race but we are a bit slower than the 300kph that the race cars will be doing on the same stretch of road. We wiz round Tours and head south on the D943 to Chateauroux where we join the A20 motorway.. A stop for lunch just south of Argenton-sur-Creuse where I experiment with satellite reception to find that we get full reception of all the Freesat and BBC channels. (TV channels have just been moved to a new satellite to focus the beam on the UK and cut the coverage over Europe) After a while it starts to rain which soon becomes torrential all the way to our destination at the aire (GPS 44°53’29.51″N 1°28’35.60″E) in Souillac. Not a pleasant experience as the visibility is atrocious, particularly when trying to pass trucks.
However, we arrive safely and find a space in an already crowded aire, possibly because it’s free. You can see that I know how to give a girl a good time, last of the big spenders with money no object……that’s me.
Tomorrow we head for the sun……we hope.

For those interested in TV reception now that the BBC and ITV have moved their channels to a new satellite, I could not receive any of those channels in the Dordogne, only Sky channels and a few others that are of no interest to us. Mind you there was thick cloud when I tried which would not have helped reception but there was an enormous difference to what I picked up a little further north.

Tuesday morning is dank and cloudy with the tops of the hills hidden by mist and low cloud. A fairly early start as we have a long drive again so, after a quick stop at E. Leclerc for fuel and food, we hit the D820. The road twists and turns, climbs and drops around the oak covered hills of the Dordogne. There is hardly any traffic again so we make good time to Cahors and on to Toulouse where everything slows down and gets much busier.
Round the city and now we are heading south east towards Carcassonne. The cloud thins and there is some sun at last and as we near Narbonne we can see blue sky ahead. Over the range of scrubby hills known grandly as the Montagne de la Clape and we are in full sun and lovely Gruissan is spread out below.
Our plan to go to the aire at the plage is scuppered as there is a concert being set up on the site so it is Plan B and we go to the marina (GPS 43°06’14.95″N 3°05’58.61″E) instead.
This is our third or fourth time as this aire and we have come to enjoy the surroundings and atmosphere. The aire is huge but split into areas by hedges and at 8.50€ (just over £7) by far the most expensive stop this trip. That price includes water and waste disposal and there are even a couple of showers. The aire is almost on an island as there is the marina with hundreds of expensive boats on one side and the lagoon that leads to the sea on the other.

Wednesday and what a difference a day makes. Yesterday it was cloud and rain, today wall to wall blue sky and sunshine……we will stay a while we think.

Blue sea & blue sky at Gruissan.

Blue sea & blue sky at Gruissan.

Friday and we have moved…….but only a few feet. We are still on the aire at Gruissan marina, the sky is still blue and the sun only stops shining when it goes to bed at night. The next morning it is up before us and shining again. We have moved pitches and are now tucked into a corner, side on to the lagoon, which is no more than twenty feet from our door. Between us and the water is a row of scrubby pines, the sort that grow all over the rocky hills of Languedoc, some coarse grass and through them we can see to the hazy mountains of the Pyrénées. It must be the mountains though that are the cause of the almost constant wind that has been blowing while we have been here. It does have the advantage of keeping things cool but the constant buffeting is a bit of a pain and trying to cook on the BBQ is a no no. But it is warm, the air is dry and clear, there is a serious game of boule being played in the middle of the aire and when the wind gets too much we can sit inside, look at the view or read…….life could be worse.

View from our door.

View from our door.

Masts at sunset.

Masts at sunset.

Apologies for the lack of photos but some pillock, me, left the camera connecting lead at home so just a picture or two taken on the phone are posted. (Missing photos now added)

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