Once we finally dragged our carcases out of bed at the appalling time of 8.30ish and had packed up, we headed across the river to have a look around Avignon. Avignon is another pretty old town, with old walls, cobbled streets and a cool atmosphere with the pedestrian only roads and restaurant tables spilling out onto the streets.
We're not all that keen on spending an entire day driving, so before we left home we decided to have a stopover somewhere between the south of France and Paris. After consulting our Lonely Planet guide I picked Beaune ... the first sentence describing the town sold it: "This thriving town's raison d'être is wine - making it, tasting it, selling it, but, most of all, drinking it." Well, how could anyone give a town like that a miss! :)
We found the campsite, registered, parked the car at our site and briskly walked (in a fashion Kath from Kath & Kim would have been proud of) to do some wine tasting. On our way out we saw a sign that the campsite was full - just made it, phew.
Lonely Planet proved a winner again with its recommendation of Marché aux Vins. Using a tastevin (a flat silvery cup) you get to sample 16 wines. Being the end of the day a couple of them were finished ... but given we tried 14 wines in half an hour or so we were a little too happy to care ;) Marché aux Vins is based in an old church and it is a self guided tour. The first half is down in a cellar that had such a cool vibe with the candle lit rooms and the shelves of dusty wine bottles aging to perfection. I think the earliest date we found was 1906.
It was great to discover that French wine is actually very nice (despite what we'd been told) and that we have cheap tastes in wine. We were told the wines upstairs were the good ones so don't indulge too much downstairs ... but we much preferred the cheaper wines down in the cellar :)
The walk back to the campsite was a tad more leisurely and we actually got to see the town ... and suss out the bakeries for breakfast the next morning!
The campsite itself was very nice and even had a common room with couches (yay!!), a tv and free wifi. Despite this luxury, they still didn't have toilet seats! Although this place did have toilet paper which was an improvement on the last camping ground. Ahh, the joys of French campsites :)
The next morning (at Gwen's request) we headed to a local bakery to try some more of the delicious French delicacies. Breakfast consisted of a croissant, a viennoise au chocolat, a framboise and some other one whose name we've forgotten. All in the pursuit of having a 'real French experience' of course ;)
After another walk around Beaune we headed to Paris enjoying the French highways (although tolled as well). We eventually made it to Bois de Boulogne Camping ... the same camping ground that Dad stayed in many moons ago. Although this camping ground had both toilet seats AND toilet paper (exciting!) I did have to wonder if they had cleaned or updated the bathrooms since he was there. I'm sure this camping experience is mostly just for me to really appreciate the luxury I have at home!! :)
Stay tuned for tales of storms, metro trains (or lack thereof) and Paris highlights.