Saturday 15th November
We woke up this morning to the sound of rain so avoided visiting the town of Carcassonne and made our way south. There are three aires nicely spaced to make it a three day trip to Perpignan s we plugged in the first aire (Number 7, Mediterranean) at Routiers and arrived there very early. The aire was nice enough but the weather was still a bit iffy and there didn’t seem to be a lot in the local area except vineyards and large wine producing factories so we headed for the next aire at Quillan (Number 13, Mediterranean). There was a market on when we got there and we had great fun trying to manoeuvre between all the parked / abandoned cars and find somewhere to stop.
We had a quick look around the market but nothing took our fancy and the heavens opened. The mountains all around were stunning but the aire itself was in the middle of town and not as nice as we were hoping for. We had our lunch in aire and by 12.30pm decided to keep on moving. It is so much nicer when the weather is on your side.
The French have a very annoying (to me) habit of sitting right on your back bumper when you’re drinving along. In England we’d call it tailgating and sometimes the Police will give you a ticket for it, but here it seems to be the expected thing. We don’t go fast and this isn’t going to make me go any faster, what it does do is stop me seeing a spot to pull over to let Frankies tailback get past but since there is a car right up my backside can I slow down safely? The photo above and the next one are where I did pull over, I was going so slowly at this point because the rocks were overhanging the road and there was no chance of vehicles being able to pass coming towards us.
Next stop was Lapradelle Puilaurens (Number 14, Mediterranean) which was sited in the forecourt of the local fire station. Puilaurens is one of the four must see Cathar Castles.
And here it is. It’s only a short 3.5km walk up to the top and Lucy wasn’t going anywhere. It was raining and in the West we could see blue skies and that was what she wanted so onwards we go to the next aire (Number 15, Mediterranean) at Duilhac Sous Peyrepertuse and this is where we are staying the night. The sun came out just after leaving Puilaurens and stayed out for the rest of the day.
The drive here from Maury (On the D117) was absolutely breathtaking, not that I got to have a good look, whenever I did look out of a side window there was a 1000 foot drop straight down, always on my side, it somehow seems worse when it is on your side. The road twists and turns and you need to stay in second gear for most of the way.
The aire is nice and secluded. It can take 20 motorhomes but they are renovating it at the moment so half of it is closed off. It is also within walking distance of Peyrepetuse Castle and our guide book says that if you only visit one Cathar Castle, make it this one. I think an early start is needed tomorrow and hopefully the sun will be shining bright.