Tuesday June 13, La Tour d’Aigues

The amazing blue of Lac de St Croix

The weather continues hot and dry, and are enjoying eating our meals outside. Destination today was Lac de Saint-Croix which had been recommended. A bit longer drive than expected as dear Jilly took us on a bit of a round a bout way but eventually arrived at the top of the hill looking down at a lake with the most amazing turquoise blue colour, surrounded by rocky hills with little villages. We headed to an Aire in the village of St Croix, just below the town overlooking the lake, but it was overflowing with wall to wall campers, so we drove around the top of the lake looking for a campground where we could walk for a swim. It was a great drive with amazing views and we passed campgrounds but they were quite some distance from the lake and in little hot valleys. Eventually got to the town of Bauduan, with a harbour and marina and wonderful stone buildings, but once again just nowhere to stop. The carpark that allowed campervans was completely full and other carparks had barriers of 1.8 metres to only allow cars. Very frustrating as we just wanted to have a walk around. So we gave up, drove back to a bridge over the lake and had our lunch. It is becoming very obvious that these holiday places beside the water are so busy and very hard to get parking – hard to imagine what it is like during July and August.
Overnight camp in the lavender

Such a shame we couldn't find a place to stay at this lake.

Stopped in the pretty little town of Riaz which had a huge parking area right beside the shopping area. We wanted to get some Panadol and you cannot buy it in supermarkets, although you can buy hard liquor. Go figure!! It was ¼ to 2 and the street was lined with cafes and people eating outside, we wandered around until two oclock knowing that most shops shut for at least 2 hours, but when the pharmacy didn’t open, checked out the times on the door – the were shut from 12 until 2.30!!! Nothing else but sit in the shade and people watch until it opened. The joys of French life.
Loved the old town of Riaz.

We decided to put a few km’s on, and continued heading west, crossing over the Durance River at Manosque then took the road following the river through Mirabeau. We passed through towns that had Aires, but they were only paved carparks, very hot in the afternoon. Checked through the French Passion guide and found a vineyard at La Tour d’Aigues and decided that would probably be a good option – and it really was. Arrived at the old stone building with the cellar and was greeted by a very nice lady who spoke pretty good English. We sampled a few of their wines, and bought a few along with some olive oil produced on their property. It was interesting that when we mentioned that we had stayed in Valensol, she said that in a few weeks when everything is really flowering we would hardly be able to drive in the area.
We were expecting to stay in the parking lot, but she directed us along the road a short distance where we followed a track to a mown area surrounded by vines and olive trees, looking across to the hills in the distance. There was a lovely breeze blowing and we were the only ones here. Just blissful, it was so pleasant, cool and so very, very quiet. French Passion is really proving to be a good scheme, especially when you can stay in places like this at no charge.  A good end to a day.
Next years wine!


Good thing you are a little early! Can't imagine what the temperatures and tempers would be like as it gets busier and hotter! You are definitely finding some lovely spots with French Passion. What a great idea for here too.
Meg Lipscombe said…
I suppose it is a little like our "POP's" or park over properties. So nice as we always go in and support what they are making - usually wine!