Having slammed our budget on tolls yesterday, we now can either travel toll roads and campsites, or eat and drink. We choose to eat and drink so it is D roads and freecamping.
No shortage of either and the D roads really take you into France and seeing as we have no real time pressure decision made.
From Chambery we follow the “D89” series of roads through towards Lyon with a overnight stop planned in a Lyon carpark. Thinking the best way to attack this would be to arrive about 8.00pm ( thought process = traffic finished for day and day parkers gone home) we parked up at a little lake for the afternoon and did the Gypsy Life including hand washing smalls and towels in a bucket and using local trees.
However this did not go quite according to plan as firstly the the day crowd turns into evening traffic and secondly the street leading to the carpark was full of parked cars belonging to the early evening café/bar crowd. Of which we had to get 2 moved so we could get through. Thirdly the carpark that came with so much expectation and hope for a nice night on the heights of Lyon was full of the same crowd. Obviously Wednesday night is a big night out.
With no real options we head out of town about 10km and find a parking spot in a carpark that services an equestrian centre and the local community garden in behind this little village.
Thursday, onwards towards Clemont Ferand, an area known as the Midi Pyrenees, a real mixture of agriculture forestry and national parks with all sorts of quaint villages every few km’s. This road could be known as roundabout road, as each of the villages is home to at least one.
A great day driving with lots of stops including the medieval village of Thiers, home to “knifemakers” incredibly expensive pocket knifes. A lot of these villages have these little quarters within them that date back centuries, and village growth in all its forms has happened around this. Depending upon whom was town planner in which century decides how narrow the main street is now, and they range from mirror hugging one way with blind corners and buildings leaning in to dual carriageways with ample parking. It doesn’t seem to matter how wide they are though the locals still park however they want.
A night stop in the Village of Aubusson, in the village Aire.
It was here that we got a message from Garry and Jan telling us that Garry’s sister Helen lives not far away in a village called Chateauneuf la Foret, numerous messages and emails gave us the impression Helen was away but worth a visit anyway.
The fun part about getting to these small villages is the roads you take to get there, fortunately for us it was Saturday and the traffic ( especially logging trucks) was non existent as a couple of these roads rewrote the book on narrow, especially when 1 is closed due to some event and deviations are in place. This really screws with Jacinda and doesn’t cope at all well in these situations. See some of our facebook posts for the videos of these.
So knocking on Helens door bought all sorts of surprised looks and spent a lovely couple of hours including a village tour and a bit of a better understanding of how the village/town then wider communities work.
Chateauneuf la Foret, is a lovely place and would have loved to have spent a night here especially around the lake.
Helens advice to us was to forget about Limoges, especially on a weekend, but instead head further south and visit the Dordogne area, advice taken we have another 150km drive to the village of Bretenoux where we park up in the Castle Car Park for the night.
This has been a lovely drive through real typical French Farming country, lots of cereal crops, (harvest just starting) and lots of stock farms, especially Limosin cattle. What is astounding is the amount of hay that is made. There seems to be huge spring grass growth and it is converted to round bales both hay and Baleage. Obviously the roads are also quite busy with tractors and hay trailers as well. Following these trailers through some of the villages gives us a whole new perspective on our size.