Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Wednesday 9 November - Rocamadour, Conques, Villecomtal and Rodez

Where’s Colin? He’s at the Municipal Aire just outside of Rodez. (Unrelated to where he is, I'll just mention that it's our fifth Colinversary today. It was on this day in 2011 that we took ownership of him after a bit of an impulsive purchase. I'd say it was an impulsive purchase that has worked out quite well!)

My day started with a run in the rain, involving 450' of very steep descent and reascent*, so as to allow me a leg stretch in the valley below Rocamadour. (*I didn't actually run the ascent; just walking that bit was adequate effort.) Meanwhile, Mick opted for a longer time in bed, although he's not being entirely lazy as, whilst I type this, he's out in his tights and trainers exploring the riverside path by Rodez.

The problem with setting out on a trip with no objective beyond "Let's go and look at Rocamadour" is that you have to keep making decisions and, in this area at this time of year, those decisions have to take into consideration that many places (including campsites) are closed for the winter (as the first case in point, we would have gone to see the cave of Grotte de Pech-Merle today, which the guidebook says is open until mid-November, but their website tells me closed on 1 Nov before reopening for limited winter hours on 11 Nov - what bad timing!).

Deferring the decision as to where to go next, the SatNav was pointed to another Aire just 10km down the road (in Gamat), on the basis that it has two free electric points and we may as well make use of one of them whilst we pored over our reference materials and made decisions.

Alas, two motorhomes were already plugged in, and rain was lashing down, so we didn't even get out of Colin. Coffee and pastries fuelled a quick bit of map-poring and off we set for Conques, on our way to Villecomtal. The latter place wouldn't have held any great interest for us, except it has an ex-Municipal campsite there which has now been turned into an Aire, complete with nice hedge-bound pitches and free electric points. Coming highly recommended, and with Park4Night confirming that people had stayed there as recently as the end of September, off we set, thinking Conques was worth a look on our way.

Conques turned out to be another of those towns that immediately struck us as being a bit 'Disney film set', with not a modern building in sight:

It was also pretty deserted, in an out-of-season sort of way. Whilst it would be interesting to see what some of these places are like in season, I bet parking wouldn't be as easy or cheap (free, in fact) then!

It was worth the detour (only 10km or so in total) but beyond good autumnal valley views and interesting old buildings, there wasn't anything to keep us in the town for long. A quick visit was paid to the church, the best feature of which is the tympanum above the main door:

Considering the grandness of the building and the entrance, inside was surprisingly plain, although architecturally interesting.

Onwards then, to a lazy afternoon reading books and drinking tea in a nice free campsite on a riverside ... or not, as we got to Villecomtal to find it closed (whether for the winter or permanently, I know not).

A quick walk around the town didn't reveal anything to hold our attention, although there was a spectacularly detailed nativity scene, a little prematurely placed outside one house:

With our reason for being in the town negated, a quick replan told us we had enough daylight remaining to do tomorrow's journey today, an intention which persisted for a good half an hour until we hit rush-hour traffic just outside Rodez. A quick look at the Aires guidebook caused a snap change of plan. There was no point in sitting in traffic when there was a nice sounding Aire just 3km away. Thus, Rodez came to make a surprise appearance on the itinerary. The Aire here is nicely situated by the river, with open fields around us and, provided the weather tomorrow isn't as horrible as forecast, we'll take a stroll up into the town in the morning.


  1. I've enjoyed catching up. Hope you get some good weather as you pass through the Languedoc region. It must be so difficult, passing through an area with so many interesting places to visit!
    Have fun

    1. It's an area that has got a slot on the 'places to which we must return' list, together with a side note of 'a bit earlier in the year, when it's a bit warmer'.

  2. Happy Colinversary!!
    And, *just*, tights and trainers? Ummm...

    1. There may have been a little more than 'just' tights and trainers!