Week 5 – Les Deux Alpes to Homps

Index for this trip HERE

After exploring L2A and not really feeling chilled there, the weather turned to heavy rain which made the decision to leave for us.  We decided to head for Gap for no other reason than the route would take us via roads and places we’ve never been and we’re pleased we did.  Whilst wet and no great towns or villages en route, the views in places were stunning, valleys, waterfalls, over two Cols, tight and windy roads and really spectacular panoramic views.  Gap was just that – filling a gap.  We had planned to stay there, but a wet Sunday doesn’t really do any place justice, so we dawdled (swam?) on till we got to Aspres-sur-Buëch where there was a quiet area to chill for the night.  It was so wet even the fields of sunflowers hung their heads in shame.

The morning however saw the clouds clear and the sun and blue sky return  showing how changeable conditions can be, and we headed off on slow roads (D993/93)heading west through beautiful  countryside and interesting hill formations.  We stopped at Die which was a pretty and busy town, then through Rompon.  So I guess, if you are going to Die soon, best way to get there is through Romp-on 🙂  We spend the night in Aubenas at the bottom of a reasonably interesting Hilltop town.

We had planned a fun trip to the Ardeche region, and had planned to make a base in Vallon-Pont-d’Arc for a few days.  But blimey – the place was chaos and full of other tourists – something we seldom see going out of season.  The town looked our sort of fun town, but with almost nowhere to park, nowhere to wildcamp, and heaving and crammed campsites being €40 we opted to disappointingly leave.  On the way out though we found the kayak/canoe companies and booked on a 4 hour canoe trip down the Ardeche through Pont d’Arc (the biggest natural arc in Europe).  Beautiful scenery and a lot of fun down through a few rapids and over dams, and we actually worked well together in a 2-man boat.  But the river was swarming with loads of other boats and swimmers and was M25 esque!  It took around an hour for the minibus to drive the 3-4km back to their base.  Remind us to only go out of season in the future!

Afterwards we took the very impressive D290 to Saint-Martin-d’Ardèche – not as tight as the Gorges de Verdon, but a stunning drive with loads of viewing points along the way.  Very impressive.

We appear now to have run out of realistic unique routes in this part of France, so after a detour to Uzès (which had a very very busy market, loads of top quality buskers, and far too many people) we had to reuse old routes.  As the sun was out we headed to La Grande-Motte where you can still park 20m from the beach and enjoyed a chilled beach and swim and a long walk, but whilst showering in the van we noticed a peeping tom in the dunes watching Mel clean the shower without much on.  Bit of a perv – and surely there was more variety of flesh on the beach?

We had another day window shopping in the chaotic and bustling Montpelier before heading to Sete for the evening where we ventured out for a rather good fishie meal pretty much straight from the boat.  I had a shell-fish platter for starters which I was supposed to share with Mel, but she didn’t like the idea of ripping sea-snails out of their shells….  She did have her first Oyster though – and it may be her last… (You have to read the last bit in the Peperami advert style…).  Surprisingly neither of us were ill overnight and it turned into a reasonable evening. 

The next day we headed to the coast but far too busy for us at the weekend (bank holiday weekend at that) so we headed to Carcassonne the impressive walled medieval city which was crammed packed with tourists, and then down to the new town that wasn’t really stunning.  Finally, for the night we headed to Homps where we found a lovely area next to a lake so we were able to indulge in an evening swim – the sort of evening and location where campervan come into their own…

So much so in fact we decided to say another day and just chill out in the sun, reading and making ongoing plans.  It was so hot I’m pleased we fitted the extra fridge fan as even in 35’C+ the freezer keeps our stash of Magum ice creams frozen solid.  Not that they last long mind…

Fortunately for us there was a thunderstorm in the evening that cleared everyone out leaving us the place nice and quiet for just us!

We’ve decided we like places with enough people to make an atmosphere, but not so many that it is too busy.  I know, we’re fussy!!! 

So we’re ending week 5, chilled in one piece, and dreading the next few weeks as from here we’ll be heading closer to home which always puts you in “home mode”  – hopefully we can stem this for as long as possible.

To go to week 6, click HERE

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