After visiting the dunes, it was time to start heading South-East, where we had a few more sightseeing places to visit before heading down towards Spain. The first place was Grotte de Lascaux 2, which is a replica of a cave found in the 1940s by a group of 13 year old boys, containing paintings from the cavemen. These paintings are all of animals, and are painted all over the walls of the cave. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures, but the info can all be found on their website http://www.lascaux-dordogne.com/en/lascaux-cave. The original cave was closed in 1963 as the paintings started to develop white growths, which was caused by the CO2 in the expired air from the millions of visitors over the 20 years since it opened. They couldn’t remove the white growths without removing the paint, so the cave was closed and a replica (a very good one) was made.
On the way to the Grotte, we stopped in a McDonald’s for a coffee, and we met a couple who were from the UK, and travelling by motorhome and bicycles for a few weeks. They recommended we go to Sarlat, another medieval town in the area (it sounds like I’m starting to get blasé about medieval towns, but I promise I’m not; there are just so many of them around here). I was also quizzing the lady about travelling by motorhome, as I’m really starting to see the benefit of them, and would love to get one after we have finished this. The lady told me that I would get one, one day, and I’d like to think she’s right!
Sarlat was a great town, very picturesque, with some really brilliant buildings, lovely things to buy, and places to eat. I tried my first ever pint of Hoegaarden Rosee here, which was nice and sweet, and I’m not sure if it was something Hoegaarden manufacture, or if the bar had just added something to the normal Hoegaarden. Anyway, it was fab, and I’d love to find it again.
Another place we visited after this was Gouffre de Padirac, which is a village that has some fabulous limestone caves. You enter via a big hole in the ground and take steps and a lift down, and then a boat along the river at the bottom, where the guide who was paddling the boat tries to make you think there’s a monster under the boat that will push it over (and at that point he makes the boat tip a bit!) You then have a guide who walks through the cave with you, showing you all the different formations made by the water dripping down from the surface. The latter parts of the tour we weren’t allowed to take photos of, unfortunately, so the below ones are of the beginning of the place.
We also came across another great town in the Tarn area, called Albi, which we stumbled upon as it had a campsite, which turned out to be the poshest campsite ever, although pricey; it even had a heated pool, spa, and some decked out Airstreams to hire! We decided to stay here an extra night too, so we could have a day off the bikes and explore the town, plus, it was one of the few French campsites that had wifi, so was useful to update this site.
We are currently in Carcassonne, another place where we were recommended to go, and today we have been exploring its medieval town, which is located on the opposite side of the river from the newer part of the city centre, and is within the old castle walls. It is again, a really interesting place, and full of lovely shops, with cafes and artists’ workshops. Roger treated me to a massive macaron there too, which was delicious!