A trip to the south

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The girls have just had 10 days off school and we’ve made use of  this break by enjoying a little holiday. For the first two days we were in the Ardeche, followed by a few days at the northern edge of the Provence. It only takes 2.5 hrs to get to these places so it seemed a waste not to do this at least once during our stay in grenoble.

We arrived in the Ardeche when the weather was still very pleasant and warm, on wednesday afternoon last week. Our chosen campsite turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, very cramped, no grass etc.., but luckily we found a beautiful site right by the river for our second night.  In contrast to the afternoons, the mornings were very very cold and damp. Being close to the river has it’s disadvantages, and the camping seasons is drawing to a close, even for us.  During our first day, we had an amazing canoeing trip down the river. In the summer this place is heaving with people, now we saw at most 5 other groups and at times it felt like we had the river all to ourselves, I can recommend it.  Most of the way the river just flows gently through the bottom of a deep gorge, at one point you go through the famous natural arch of the Pont d’Arc.  To liven things up there were a few exiting rapids and we all got pretty wet by the end of the trip.

On Thursday we visited the Grotte de la Madeleine, on the flanks of the gorge de l’Ardeche, a beautiful cave with the most amazing formations of stalactites and stalagmites. Then we continued our route along the top of the gorge and on across the Rhone in the south of the Drome, where we had rented a gite for the weekend with our friends Peter, Gianna and Bruno.

On Saturday most of us went rock climbing near Buis les Baronnies, while Patience and Gianna went for a walk around the Rocher st Julien. This was followed by a walk around the Dentelles de Montmirrail on Sunday. Luckily the weather remained pleasant over the weekend and we could enjoy the amazing scenery, of wooded hills with pointy rocky tops and a patch work of vinyards and olive groves on the lower slopes, dotted with the odd medieval village. The autumn colours were stunning and at the end of Sunday we even managed to get into a fancy cafe in Gigondas for some delecious cakes and ice-creams. Unfortunately we had to skip the wine-tasting…..

On  Monday Peter and Bruno went for a trip on their mountain bikes, unfortunately we couldn’t rent one for Leo, so instead we went and explored the vallee du Toulourenc and valley of the ruisseau de Derboux. On  Tuesday morningwe visited the market  and the Roman ruins  in Vaisson la Romaine, before setting off back home to Grenoble.

Today it’s sorting out the washing and  doing some shopping before the girls head back to school tomorrow. The weather has become very autumnal all of a sudden. It has been raining on and off for most of the day and the hills surrounding the city are all covered with a dusting of snow. Winter is on the way.

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