We set off from the very nice Camping Les 2 Bois in Baratier. We were told we must come back and tell everyone about the campsite.
We decided against motorways and toll roads, the saving in time was not spectacular. Instead we were presented with some spectacular scenery as we drove along lakes and rivers, over many cols and through ski resorts. As we were leaving Baratier, we made a stop at a Super U drive to buy some lunch for the journey, and in Grasse we stopped at a Leclerc for the next few days’ suppers.
Grasse was a disappointment, not easily accessible parking and lots of twisty lanes going up and down the hillside.
Arrived at the campsite and checked in, we had to be connected to the electricity, the power supplies being under lock and key. The maximum power was 5 Amperes which was not enough to power our portable induction hob. Oh well, we still have gas.
Our nearest neighbours I thought were climbers setting off early each morning, but it turns out on examination of their van and their clothing that they work for a company called CAN which specialises in works where access is difficult. The type of work is securing wire netting to protect from rock slides along roads. Now I saw the use of their climbing equipment.
On first glance the buildings for the loos, showers looked run down from the outside, (Provence style stone and clay tile roofs) but inside they were tiled and clean. Even the bar and restaurant were open.
There were some bitey mozzies around, and things that look remarkably like New Zealand sandflies. I took to wearing long trousers and socks in the evenings. However, some even smaller buggers found their way through.
Tuesday St Paul de Vence and Gourdon
Today we drove into the nearby town of St Paul de Vence. This is a fortified town on a hill, complete with walls and a cathedral, remarkably called Notre Dame. Some English campers had suggested where to park and the best “road” from there into town. We wandered our ways around the twisty narrow lanes working our way to the top. All the roads were paves in wonderful patterns of pebbles,
St Paul de Vence was very much centred on art, every shop had some art theme. I liked the head of Tin Tin decorated with various stories from his adventures. Other shops were selling large size pears (1 meter high) partially eaten into the shape of a woman’s body. We did find some very nice pepper grinders ?.
We left and then went on an adventure back to 1999 when I paraglided from the town of Gourdon. First stop was the village of Gourdon to view the actual, official landing site if you were lucky to get the height to travel down to it. We saw a hangglider had landed, and then watched another land.
The town of Gourdon is another hill top fortified town with tourist shops selling Provence goodies, this time at a good altitude with some very steep and treacherous roads to get there. A lemon pressé for a drink and then on to the paraglider launch site. The way out we took was even more interesting.
The paraglider launch site was a few more miles up the hill from Gourdon and then another K or so off piste. There were not many people around, one guy walking and another who was preparing for flight. While we were there another group arrived and walked further up the hill.
We waited and the man preparing for flight eventually took off on his Ozone. I photographed him, he said some French words, we left our details on what we think was his car. Never heard from him. So I have lots of photographs of a someone flying at Gourdon on an Ozone Geo.
We drove back home on some spectacular roads around the Loup and past the Cascades du Saut du Loup.
Wednesday and Vence
Left Morrison the Van at the campsite and look the local bus into Vence. Hey, a possibility of a drink and lunch. Bus arrived and ten minutes later we were in Vence. Walked down the street to the centre, where Rosemary spied an antique sale. I sat down and admired the scenery while she toured the stalls. Only comment from her was that if you divided their prices by 20, then it would be UK prices.
Another walled city. We visited the Notre Dame (so original in names), built on the site of a Roman fort in 400AD. There were some notable exhibits, including wooden figures of Christ and other participants in the Passion Story which had been carved in the 1500s and recently found in a shed. The Choir was had been built and carved in the mid 1400s, and then 40 years later, it was moved up a floor because it was too big to allow free circulation of people during services. I did want to go back and photo one of the misericord carvings after seeing a picture of it flash up on a screen.
The walled city with its very narrow streets, gates and cobbled roads was wonderful. We ate at lunch in a French Café on one of the streets. So lovely to sit there in quietness, until the French busker came along. We ignored him intently, but he still played 5 songs with long interluded conversing with one of the diners
After lunch, we found the tourist office where we hoped to get to the belvedere. That floor was closed, but we did see some exhibits of a Polish writer.
Walked back to the bus station and waited for the late bus. Home and then supper.