Our last stop on our autumn holiday was at Montsoreau on the river Loire. We had been to this campsite before and wanted to see more of the area and to use up our last few Camping Cheques before the end of the year. Camping cheques are a way of buying off-season places on selected sites at reduced prices but we've found that there are less participating sites and the investment of 150 euros in advance for 10 places that may not be used for some time is a bit of a false economy. We have been introduced to ACSI which is another scheme where you buy the book every year and then get the reduced camp costs at the time of use. They have doubled their lists this year and we've found nearly all the places we went to on this trip accepted their card.
The drive across from Parthenay was fantastic through beautiful countryside and being Sunday there was very little traffic. We arrived in time to have a delicious lunch at a restaurant we had used before and were not disappointed even though it had changed owners in the intervening 7 years.
On Monday morning we awoke to rather cloudy weather but set off to visit the village, designated one of the most beautiful in France. It really is a delightful spot with it's chateau overlooking the river Loire and the narrow lanes winding up the hill.
From the edge of town at the summit you have a wonderful view over the confluence of the Loire and the Vienne, such wide majestic rivers, lined with chateaux and full of the history of France and it's rulers. You may have noticed that the dates on these last 3 sketches are 2007 and that's because the weather turned so wet by midday on Monday that I had no opportunity to do any of the plein air sketching I had hoped.
The whole village is built in this pale stone called 'tuffeau' which has been mined in the area for centuries. The mines have left many caves which have been turned into homes for 'troglodytes' as well as now being used for the cultivation of 'champignons de Paris,' white mushrooms in other words. The light here on a sunny day must be fantastic but we've yet to see it as on our previous visit we had exactly the same weather and same drenching too! These old sketches were drawn from photos with a lot of artistic licence with regard to the light!
The next morning we awoke to see a very thick fog completely covering the river with very little hope of it clearing quickly so we decided to set off for home as the forecast wasn't too good for the next few days either. We had a wonderful holiday though with lots of fond memories of all our visits and time with our friends.