Leaving the Mediterranean coast (the previous blog is here) we had decided to travel west loosely through the Aveyron region of France. This is an area that we have only passed the fringes of on other trips. However it was raining very hard and the campsite we arrived at had very soft ground indeed so we moved on. We did find somewhere to stop that night after quite a long drive and then moved on the next day to Villeneuve-sur-Lot. As the name suggests it is a town which straddles the Lot and the centre is very old. When we arrived the river was in flood and there were signs that the water levels had been very high. The campsite on the edge of town was very good with extremely helpful managers. Equally it was very close to a “voie verte” which was on an old railway line and ran 10 kilometres down river to another town. For us cycling novices it was perfect and we used it at least in part almost everyday. The town of Villeneuve-sur-Lot had plenty to offer both in charm and shops and cafes. In addition the small town of Pujols was close to the campsite albeit up a rather steep hill. The Sunday market here was well worth the visit with plenty of stalls selling local foods etc. We spent a very pleasant few days there and would certainly stop off again if we were nearby in the future.
Leaving the valley of the Lot we moved slightly north to the valley of the Dordogne and stayed at a campsite on the edge of Sainte-Foy-la-Grande which was on the banks of the river Dordogne. Again there were tales of people having been on campsites that had been flooded or ones that they had had to be towed off and we realised we had probably been fairly lucky with the trip so far despite the rain. Sainte-Foy-la-Grande was far less extensive than Villeneuve-sur-Lot but still very pleasant and once again the centre of the town was very old. What did surprise us was the market there. Given the size of the town we had expected it to be quite small. However it was one of the larger markets we came across on this trip and there was a great range of interesting foods available. The cycling here was a little less good although there are cycle routes all along the Dordogne and we moved on after a few days heading north west and aiming for the coast of the Vendee. There will be a blog on that section of the trip soon.