Set off from hotel after instructing Camilla our trusty sat nav (she is very posh) which direction we wanted to go. She is usually very good but sometimes she lets us down. We ended up under a filthy bridge with trains going over and a gypsy woman came out with a scruffy child. She was quite intimidating and her moustache needed clipping. We had to turn round and her horrible bloke came out only wearing boxers. Anyway G did a U turn with Camilla saying carry on for 5 miles which would have taken us across a field no doubt being shot at by gypsies. That was 9ish. We stopped at first café and I had a coffee and a brandy as I was heading for a panic attack. Re set Camilla who sounded better and has behaved all day.
The place where we are staying is fab with a bath in the bedroom. I will not be partaking as it is quite deep and can't cock my leg that far. G is in it as we speak. We will definitely not be having one, with all that water splashing about.
Just French staying here so have bonjoured with the best of them. Must say the ones next door have got some good nosh, so might hang around.
G will give you some more details as I’m off to chat to my new friends, the generous ones next door with the smoked salmon sandwiches. Don’t understand a word they say, but as I look hungry think they will get the message. Oh, the woman told G his French was very good so he will be insufferable for days now. Sick of him saying everything in a French accent, am sure he only does it to wind me up, been doing it all day. Shan’t save him any smoked salmon now. Anyway, here he is…
G here as Marigold has gone off begging for scraps. What can I tell you about today?
Another glorious day dawned and we still had no idea where to go next. So, we set off, turned right using our trusty system and meandered for hours along the back roads of Provence.
First stop was the familiar, but never boring, Pont du Gard which we must have visited a dozen times already, but we were in the area, so...
Hard to believe this wonderful feat of engineering dates back to the time when Claudius ruled Rome and hence most of the known world. It is – according to the useful information poster on the car park – over 50 metres high and the highest Roman aqueduct still remaining. It carried water over 30 miles from the distant hills. We walked down and marvelled as we always do. Can’t imagine anyone standing here would not feel the same.
Not many tourists early in the morning which made it a special hour.
Back in the car we decided we’d repeat the experience by revisiting an old favourite. The Camargue is unique in France; a vast tract of salt marsh mostly populated by black bulls, white horses, flamingoes and Europe’s version of the Wild West, the Cowboys of the Camargue.
We sought out flamingoes, bulls and white horses, but failed to spot even a single cowboy.
We arrived at the mediaeval walled city of Aigues Mortes and managed to park within two minutes. This never, ever happens here, so we decided this was an omen. Inside the towering walls, behind the vast gates, are densely packed narrow streets. Today, there are restaurants and shops galore, but the layout of the town leaves a visitor in no doubt this was a town built to repel invaders.
We wandered, browsed, entirely at random, took a brief stroll along the top of the encircling wall, but decided it was far too hot to walk the circumference, over a mile, and lunch would be a far better choice.
A man with no musical ability whatsoever was playing a flute right outside our first choice, so we moved on. In the main, the only, square, tables were filling rapidly and we sat ourselves down in the shade. Not even the most obvious tourists were brave or foolish enough to sit out in the sun today.
A man wearing clothing identifying him as a local was greeting all the waiters by name as he walked by and he sat himself down at the next table to ourselves. After a couple of minutes, his lunch companion arrived and caused great consternation. A smartly dressed woman clung to his arm, but was destined to be ignored. Within a minute our table was surrounded by men, women, children, even dogs and cats it seemed, all desperate to speak with and/or be photographed with the mystery man. No, much to Marigold’s chagrin, we couldn’t find out who he was. Neither of us remembered what we are, being so preoccupied with the goings on at the next table.
After lunch a short hop to the splendidly named resort of La Grande Motte with its superb beaches and striking architecture. Fifty years ago, there was nothing here until some bright spark set out to establish a new resort on these hundreds of acres of empty scrubland. The style of the buildings was copied from ancient Mexican pyramids and the whole area is immaculately maintained. It’s almost exclusively French, but over two million of them come every year.
We paddled in the warm sea, worried briefly about two ladies of a certain age who appeared to have dozed off in their deck chairs with the tide on the way in, and marvelled at the number of posh cars outside a glass restaurant perched above the beach.
Our day's excursions ended at a Provençal Mas or farmhouse where we decided to spend the night. Our room is small but the views are wonderful. As for the interior fittings, I’ll take a few photos and let the reader judge for themselves. We think it’s delightful.
Tomorrow? Who knows. Just hope it’s as good as today.