Pete Clarke from Canvas Holidays shares his experience of driving through the Aveyron region on route to Camping Les Tours.
Beziers airport may well feature in my list of Top 10 European airports should I ever find the time to make one (Dundee would unquestionably be number one by the way).
There are clear advantages of being on the only flight to arrive into the airport at that time of day, particularly if only saddled with a cabin bag and passport. A quick document or two to sign at the car hire desk and I’m on the road a mere 20 minutes from touching the ground.
My destination is Camping Les Tours in the Aveyron region; a journey that could prove to be as much a part of the holiday experience as the time spent at the campsite itself.
On the road
After a brief fling with the coastal air, I make my way north on the A75 and it’s not too long until I start to climb the Massif Central, passing many a cultural signpost on the way. There is the medieval fortified Lodève shortly after the Cirque de Navacelles that wouldn’t look out of place as a set for Game of Thrones. I continued in pursuit of the infamous Norman Foster designed Viaduc de Millau before the sun set and my photographic opportunities along with it.
Gearing up for the journey
It is this sort of route and scenery that doesn’t require a huge stretch of the imagination to plunge myself into amateur Top Gear presenting. Alas or happily, depending on your persuasion, I do not possess adequate enough motoring vernacular to describe my hire car any further than ‘a bit tricky up the steep bits’.
In a similar sense, I struggled to find a suitable enough descriptive for the viaduct itself. Suffice to say it is a magnificent example of human achievement. It is both spectacular to view from afar and close (there is an information area with car parking and a small hike for such a viewpoint) as well as being a memorable experience to drive over. I posted a picture on Instagram and soon discovered that this was on the bucket list of our Marketing Director, Margaret.
Soon after I leave the motorway, the road narrows and I plough through verdant countryside accompanied by a late-evening golden haze. As I take in my surroundings, I think that everything looks like it has been licked with honey – before reflecting gratefully that I am not employed to come up regularly with such a turn of phrase.
After many a winding road, I arrive at the village of Estaing. It wears its badge as ‘l’un des plus beaux villages en France’ like a medal. A UNESCO site, Estaing sits on a stretch of the Lot river famous for being part of the Chemin de Saint Jacques de Compostelle.
The views are breathtaking; a gothic château complete with resident black crows peers over the river. I slow down to watch some of the locals standing knee deep in the water preparing the staple of many a French summer – a fireworks display.
The end destination
Twenty minutes later and the lakeside orange dots of Canvas tents at Camping Les Tours appear in my line of view from the opposite bank. Upon first impressions this is a haven to relax by the water; a place for fishing, swimming, book reading, escaping and relaxing.
Why not spend some time here exploring Aveyron and sampling a touch of French countryside before returning to the hustle and bustle of the beach a few days later?
Read more about Camping Les Tours here.