Friday 10th July. Chateau de Nitray 47.34092 0.89318
A pleasant few days enjoying the French countryside. Our first stop after Montpeyroux was the town of Saint-Armand-Montrond. There are two Motorhome stopping places there, both with services and both free. We looked first at a stop on the edge of town next to the canal 46.71824 2.50420, Phil wasn't to keen on this one although it suited me as I could have fished from the van door! We drove through town to the second, much larger site 46.73465 2.48685 close to a lake and opposite an Intermarche hypermarket and that's where we stayed. There were about fifteen vans on the site, which could probably take fifty or more but we were the only UK van. We knew that we wouldn't see so many UK folk in Greece but expected to see more in France but we haven't shared a parking space with anyone from home since we left Greece. We've passed a few vans on the road but that's been it. We like to meet folk from home, it's good to swap stories and places to stay. Even some Dutch or German folk would be good (they nearly all speak English) but they are a bit thin on the ground too at the moment.
Last night we stopped on a France Passion site but not a vineyard. We found one in the guide that produced and sold honey and associated products in the village of Chezelles. We had a beautiful parking place 46.89095 1.57649 in a small grassy copse with a stream running past just opposite the honey "factory". We should have known that the honey wouldn't be inexpensive from the fountain, garden furniture and landscaping surrounding the huge house and we weren't wrong. We have honey every morning for breakfast with yoghurt so we get through a fair bit and we are always on the lookout for roadside honey stalls. Buying yesterday in an up market honey shop wasn't cheap, probably twice as much as we are used to paying but the parking was free so we're not really complaining.
For the last couple of days we've been driving through agricultural farm land with wheat, corn and oats for mile upon mile, interspersed with forests. We've been on D roads mainly and as the wheat is being harvested we've had to watch out for agricultural machinery and been held up a few times and squeezed past a few on narrow lanes. Lots of fields of sunflowers too which always smile at us as we drive past and we smile back in return. We've had some respite from the heat over the last couple of days which was a relief but the temperature is back to the mid thirties again today and the fridge is struggling to keep the beer cold! Our friends, Chris and Jenny, who we are stopping with this coming weekend have a massive inflatable pool in their garden and I'm hoping they've got it filled with cool water.
Today we are at another France Passion site, Chateau de Nitray, a vineyard, about fifteen kilometres west of Amboise. It's a magnificent Chateau dating from the 15th & 16th centuries and we've just paid €5 euros each and taken the tour which, after we had paid, we were advised doesn't include the actual Chateau! But the chapel, stables, pigeon coop and cellars were very interesting, as was the vegetable garden which had a few onions, courgettes and tomatoes growing within and is clearly in need of a gardener. Of course, the best part is always the wine tasting and we didn't need any persuading to buy half a dozen bottles of delicious rosé for the equivalent of £3.33 a bottle.