Say Hello

Close the dialog

Send us a comment



Return to france 2007

Farewells are never easy.....

27th May

On leaving the end of the stream this morning I became overwhelmed with emotion, as I took some photos of the Place. I was surprised at the effect it had on me, it brought tears to my eyes as if saying farewell to a loved one. We moved in only four months ago but the connection to the place was instant , the powerful earthy energy griping like a claw at the heartstrings. Also the land has cast it's magical spell on me. This is something Jimmy understands and has felt for the past 18 yrs here, he also understands after so many years working closely with nature what it's like to loose a part of it. But one of the great lessons for us is to let go, an easy word. It's not easy, but it is a life changing experience... letting go of 18 years of personal energy, love and sweat on a beautiful once off project is indeed some lesson.

29th May.

It is about five hours drive to the ferry but we spent two days meandering down from Mayo to Rosslare so that we could relax and enjoy the trip. We spent a night on Carnsore point and awoke to the morning call of sea birds and sky larks. The morning was just perfect for a cycle into Lady's Island. With weather like this it would be easy to stay right here. There was time later for a visit with a friend in Rosslare before boarding the 8pm ferry.


30th May

After a great crossing we arrive about 4 pm. We traveled with Celtic link ferries and we were very glad we did. A no frills ferry company, no cinema no wide screen TV no children racing around and no loud mouthed drunks. The crossing was a smooth 18 hrs. and much to our surprise all meals were included in the ticket and as much hot drinks as you choose. So it will be our preferred choice in the future. The Wexford strawberries smothered with cream that we bought along the roadside also added to the enjoyment of the crossing. We traveled for about one hour to a beach that we found on our last trip. It's at saint Germain sur Ay. Home for the night after a walk on the plage....aaaah




So its a bit of a late start today after the ferry crossing we were a bit tired so who cares if its almost eleven!!! We are on route to Fresna sur Loire to see a friend of ours, it's about a 200 mile journey so its out with the auto route. Well, I thought we had rain in Ireland... the heavens opened and it came down in bucketfuls large bucketfuls. Ah yea, a soft day as we say back home (oh for the wexford sun). So after a good days drive we arrive in a forest near Chateaubriant, the rain has cleared and it's time to settle for the night after a cycle through the forest.

1st June, Full moon

We spent a few hours in Chateaubriant before traveling the 40 km to Fresne sur Loire. It's in pays de la Loire. A leisurely stroll through the Chateau and around town where it seemed like rag week was taking place with car horns beeping and young people in costume with painted faces. The Renault 4 manages to get in the picture, and shor why not?


       31st May











We stop off in Pouance for bread and wine (the essentials) and cycle into the centre ville, the public loo in the square is just that ! (public). Way to go Ireland, we don't have public toilets in most of our large towns. In France they are in every village and town. Are we afraid that people might use them ?This wheel is to pump up water from the well, we are getting ideas for Deireadh na bhruach.






Wednesday 2nd June

Berp bu p buropp, Roder p burt....Bertr dr burteree....I awake to the morning roll call of the blackbird ...Bertreen burp Breeep "are you there " then the reply Bertreen burpen breepe...... ........all is well I have seen Another sunrise...



It is a beautiful sunny day its already 18c and the sunshine pulls me from the bed to walk along the banks of the river Loire where we spent the night, or what was left of it after a 3.30 am bed time. Our friend Benoit had organised a few tunes in Angers, and what a night, filled with excellent music, and the most important thing of all lovely people...what good is music without friendship..
The barman top left picture, yea the one looking at the t.v. (from Carrick-on-Shannon), had about as much interest in the music as Molly has in becoming vegetarian. He just wants the music to bring in the punters, he opens the door onto the street winter and summer to attract the passing, mainly students. He wasn't interested that we were from Ireland, what a pity he is a representative of our country abroad. We will never revisit his pub. Bah..he is forgotten already, the music is mighty and the company even better. Marco plays the pipes like any Irishman, he lived in Ennis for five years where he has left his heart. No doubt he will return when the time is right.
W have been invited to Benoit's house for lunch at 1pm so there are a few hours to be spent, so out come the bikes. We cycle about 3k along the river Loire, and find the most beautiful place with a sandy beach Its almost 30c now, its time to take an hour in the sun. The Loire river is the largest in France and floods this whole area in winter. Even into the house basements.


Benoit has bought two old houses and combined them very tastefully into one. He watches our house project with interest for ideas, and we too have taken away some ideas for further investigation. For example he compresses air to heat his house. Here he prepares lunch as Jimmy looks on and encourages. He treated us with the greatest respect, He opened his house to us and ( he killed the fatted calf ) for us , he opened his best bottle of wine 1995 Bordeaux, what a treat. We spent 3hrs eating lunch and sharing our lives before saying au revoir and cycling back to Molly and the tigin. Back on the road.

3rd June

We traveled to St Nazaire on the west coast after leaving Benoits house A journey through many nice small villages . We set the auto route to take smaller roads so we can find these villages. Its a bit slower but we're in no hurry.

We travel a bit further on to Turbella a place where salt is gathered from the sea water .The weather is cool enough now so we decide to go south along the coast we eventually stop for the night in Avrille a small town just north of la Rochelle. Its a place surrounded by ancient monuments, Standing stones,Dolmen and even a stone cairn. There is a circuit of a 30 km round trip covering all the monuments, but we unhook the bikes and travel to a very large menhir, to our surprise it was only discovered in 1989

4th June

After a leisurely start we head south for the town of Le Faute sur mer, its on the Pointe d'arcay . There's a huge beach here we walked about 4 km of it this morning, with only a smattering of people about. The point also has a bird reserve running almost it's full length The village itself is quiet big with a host of typical seaside shops, some being prepared for holiday season, which really gets going in July .There's also a casino and oh oh another comes the Normandy tart.........The bicycles are a big part of this trip they make it so easy to get around the villages, well worth bringing them..

5th june

Early away today its a good day for driving so we are heading south west, we are roughly half way down the french countryside. It looks as if we may go to the south coast, but we will see as we go along, far too early to be making a plan.


Our drive takes us through towns of Triaize champagne les marais, chaille les marais, vix. All these places are part of an area called Marias Poitevin, Thousands of years ago these towns were Islands but over the years through the actions of the sea there was a build up of sand and silt and they all were joined up to form one huge landmass.hese areas were then drained with ditches and canals to form the fields,which today grow many crops of sunflowers , corn barley etc


Bill and Ben gave us a wave as we passed. We stopped off at the Gurteen Piano bar for lunch (no sign of Noel Tansey or Jimmy Frain). We drove off the road looking for the right place to spend the night, sure enough there it was Grotte de Rouffignac. What is it ? Will there be moving statues ? To our surprise it is a prehistoric cave with a guided tour. This is a must for after breakfast.



We settle for the night with a thunder and lightening storm, will we ever be found if it strikes ?


"Irish couple create quite a storm when struck by lightening in the midi Pyrenees as they set alight the 25,000 yr old irreplaceable rock carvings and paintings that have attracted tourists from all over the world. (pity about the beautiful dog) "





We survived the storm. We would be first in line for the 10 o'clock opening, after all we are in the middle of no where, who would possibly know how to get here. Much to our surprise at 9 o'clock...was it more thunder, oh no it was a school bus tour. By the time we went down, we were the third tour train. What a find, these paintings and carvings of mammoths, ibex, horses, are here between 14 and 25,000 yrs, a really worthwhile visit (we were blown away).










6th June

Heading further south, there ain' t no stopping us now! We pass through the beautiful village of Graulhet which like many others has climbing roses in bloom, the local elderly residents give us a nod or a wave as we pass. There were chicken coupes opening into the basement of their houses. This peacock had one eye on us and the other on missus henny penny as we passed south for Castres




It's in our sights now, we are on top of the world and Castres is in the valley below. We have decided to head for the French Riveria and the Mediterranean sea to rest up and take some sun. We have heard of the naturist village in le Cap d' Agde, and as we may never be in this region again it is an opportunity to experience it now.





















7th June French Mediterranean




We arrived in Cap d' Agde just in time for lunch and the sun was there to greet us. Neighbouring campers were happy to see us as we seemed to bring the sun with us. It had been very changeable before we arrived. An account of our trip can be found here

(We have more in the reserve tank for later if needs be!).



Time to get the bikes out.........

Le Grand Conque (cove) is a crescent shaped black sand beach, formed as a result of a marine volcano that erupted 750,000yrs ago. The rocks below are perfect to fish from, including spear fishing and snorkeling.
The high nellie's were ideal for this trip as are able to access the cliff and port (a bit la di da) with a stop off for a cafe au lait on the way home.
We took a cycle into Agde but forgot the camera. Little narrow streets with pokey shops, just our cup of tea. We may revisit. Agde is an ancient Greek trading post, founded in 540BC. It was built from volcanic rock from nearby Mont st.Loup and is a unique architectural site to this region.


14th June


We are taking it easy and getting the rest that we came for. We enjoy the breeze of a leisurely stroll along the seashore, some days crowded others quiet. The beach is about 3km long and each direction is quite a stroll! Molly has taken to camping like a duck to water, and while there is a number of "chien" here as always she creates quiet a stir with her graceful gentle beauty, and is gradually adapting to the temperatures someday's as hot as 40.5




The hairy fella's as always have noticed me and I have all the sprays and creams. But it was necessary to pay a visit to the local doctor as a bite to my foot got very swollen and didn't respond to antihistamine. He prescribed a mild dose of cortisone tablets which worked a treat. The lift home on the crossbar (a first for me) was worth all the trouble.

The cost of a doctor's visit is about half the cost of a visit at home, worth noting.




Sometimes we forget how fortunate we are,and take many things for granted





We returned to Agde equipped with the camera this time, parked up the bikes and took a stroll around town. Watching an elderly resident negotiate the narrow street to get to his house in the picture top right was amazing, inches to spare ! This house on the right is a mural painted onto the wall of a disused building, "honestly" complete with shadows and back packer in the doorway.

Stay out of the centre of these narrow streets as the groove in the centre of the street isn't a cycle lane, oh no ! look out below as the waste from on high is hurled to the ground.... oops !



The bikes are so versatile that we were able to cycle almost to the top of Mont St. Loup, where we were able to really get a handle on our surroundings. The Fort de Brescou built in 1680 lies just offshore, and the film "Man in the Iron Mask" evolved from here.

We could also see the Bagnas Nature Reserve which adjoins the campsite. It is 561hectares of lakes, marshes and sansouires (salt flats) not open to the public except by special permission from the Nature Protection Society. There are 150 types of bird in the reserve including Pink Flamingos and Purple Herons.





We are in the Herault Region, it has the most protected coastline on the French Mediterranean. The labels Languedoc and St. Chinian have become very familiar tastes to us.

France is one of the biggest producers of wine in the world. French wine is classified into four categories which appear on the label. AOC is the highest quality with the vineyard of origin identified. VDQS good quality wine from a certain area, vins de pays; table wine with the region identified, and vins de table; table wine possibly blended without identifying the region of origin. Prices are very varied for the same wines, it is just a matter of taste. One man's meat etc




We spent two beautiful weeks in the naturist campsite of Cap d'Agde and have included our honest views if you plan a visit.

June 20th

A bientot Cap d'Agde 

and so to the central massif