Sarah awoke feeling much better and after a quick walk along the banks of the Loire, we set off for another day of driving.
It is not our intention to spend so much time travelling, but we want to get south, and to the sun reasonably quickly and then the pace will slow.
The other thing making our travelling days longer is the decision to avoid any paid motorways. Travelling on the old route nationales is slow, but they are generally in excellent condition and give a better view of life than blasting down the autoroutes, as we have done so often before, when limited for time.
The day started cold and damp as we climbed into the Alpes de Rhone. At the top of the pass the temperature reached zero and there was evidence of earlier heavy snow on the side of the road. We quickly descended from 4000 feet to glorious sunshine in the Rhone valley.
We joined the famous N7, road to the south and meandered slowly along side the river Rhone, passing, as we did, many notable vineyards, including those of Crozes Hermitage.
Basil pulled in at a Lidl to allows us to top up on groceries. For the first time we tried the dogs in their collapsible crates. The idea was to keep them contained while Sarah and I did our own thing, in this case shop.
The crates were not a total success. On our return from the shops, Mabel had escaped and from the pawprints had evidently jumped all over the dashboard and every other surface in Basil. We will not be defeated by this set back and extra security measures will be employed for Mabel next time.
Finally, after four and a half hours on the road we pulled into Camping Bagatelle, which is located on an island in the middle of the Rhone, right in the centre of Avignon. The sun was still shining but a cold wind whistling down the Rhone valley from the north took the edge off the temperatures. Fleeces back on, but no need for coats.
Camping Bagatelle (43.953864, 4.799032) is costing us €17 per night. It is one of over 3,000 campsites which participate in the ACSI discount scheme, through which campers get a discounted rate of between €11 and €19 per night throughout the year, excepting the summer (usually July and August). This represents a good saving on normal rates and we will be using this network extensively on our trip.
Sarah has already put the facilities to good use by putting the first week’s laundry in the washing machine. I, on the other hand, have walked 10 metres outside of our campsite to take a photo of the Pope’s palace and the famous Pont de Avignon, for your delectation. More about these tomorrow.