Spring has sprung a leak in France and many of the rivers are swollen (or flooded) which is the case with the Dordogne & Loire Valley. Dordogne is really different to Loire, more rustic is probably the best way to describe it.
We also made some new friends on this leg of the journey (Hi Jason and Tony) and where delighted to be asked to join them in a day trip (YAY – no motorbike for a day) to check out Gouffre de Padirac cave which is by far the best cave system we have ever seen.
This SMAZING cave system is nearly 2 kms long and after the descending down over 300 steps, then walking underground for nearly 400meters, you then get in a boat for totally amazing an eerie trip along an underground river, passing through various majestic underground caverns & tunnels with amazing rock formations & massive stalactites which includes 1 giant one measuring over 60 meters. You then get off the boat for another walk through 2 stories of chambers to view lakes and high vaulted chambers. So, so amazing and this would have to be one of the highlights of our trip so far and is worth every effort to get too.
Here is the website for the cave – hop on and have a look: gouffre-de-padirac cave
When then headed towards Carnac to visit the megalithic alignments with a stop along the way in Cognac, where they have motorhome parking right on the river with a bird’s eye view of Hennessy. We met another great couple here (Hi Andrew & James) and again got on like a house on fire. Due to a ‘wee’ bit too much wine & the night before, the obligatory tour and tasting went out the ‘windy’ so we bought a ‘roadie’ to enjoy in the motorhome at a later stage and headed straight for Carnac in Britany, France.
Carnac has one of the largest Megalithic standing stones alignment’s in the world, with over 3000 in the alignment and can be seen from outer space. Some of the stones are meant to predates Stonehenge with many of the stones weighing up to 40tonne. It’s unreal to see how modern day man has built itself around this ancient site with peoples drive ways, chicken coops and horse stables right between some of the stones.
The bad weather followed us all the way from Carnac to Loire Valley, Paris & UK. Loire is so pretty, but after seeing so many beautiful château’s and castles that we’re a bit “chateau’d out” and decided to enjoy some ‘time-out’ at a riverside campsite not far from Tours. We tried our hand at some fly fishing, however one could go hungry if you rely on this for dinner, so it was just as well there was a Supermarche only 5 mins down the road.
It was also pretty cool to hit Paris again and not have to be in a rush to do all the touristy things. We saw a totally different side of Paris, which we loved and stayed in an town called Joinville, along the river Marne, which is basically suburbia. It’s only about 9kms from Champs-Elysees and reminded us of suburbs along the Brisbane river, it’s so different from the Paris we all know and love & we totally enjoyed it.
We couldn’t resist getting the bike out and rode past Notre Dame, Louvre, down the Champs-Elysees, around (and around) Arc d’Triumph who gives way????? Parked “pole position” at Trocadero & soaked up that amazing view of Eifel tower and Paris beyond for a few hours. We really like going back to places we have been in the past and not having to run around like a mad tourist to see everything and not worry that you might have missed something.
I’ve also learnt how to cook the perfect Roasted Duck Breast, not sure how French this method is, but it turns out perfect every time.
Perfect Roasted Duck Breast:
- Place the duck breast, skin side down, in a frying pan on high heat & brown for 4 mins.
- Then turn the duck breast fillet over to brown the other side for 4 mins.
- Then place on a try, skin side up, and roast on the middle rack of a pre-heated oven (180-200c) for another 8 mins.
- Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let the duck breast rest for 5 minutes.
No need to use oil in the pan as the skin of the duck will be ample when you brown the first side.
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