• Day955


    February 6 in France ⋅ ☁️ 10 °C

    Well, previously we've stayed beside outdoor swimming pools, but this time we've gone a step further and are staying in one, albeit a former one. Moissac's pool is now a fenced in, 43 place aire, with a nice flat yellow gravel surface divided into twin sized pitches by wooden log plant beds. The entrance sign displayed the overnight price as €6 including 24 hour electricity. The barrier machine charged €15 for 2 nights, but it was good value either way. They changed the signage while we were there but funnily enough, when we decided we wanted a third night, it had dropped back to €6!

    We weren't the only ones who liked Moissac. Out of the 20 or so other motorhomes, many appeared to be long term occupants. There wasn't a lot of traffic in and out of the aire and each morning there was a steady stream of trolleys carrying empty water barrels and full waste tanks to the service point so people didn't have to pack up their vans. We were eyeballed upon entry, by two aire residents standing near the barrier and many seemed to know each other as you would in a small village.

    Moissac sits of the banks of Le Tarn, but also has Canal Latéral à la Garrone running through it. Arriving in the late afternoon, Will fished in the river and we left exploring the streets to the following day. It's funny sometimes how you just get a feeling for a place, without being able to pin it on anything in particular. Moissac's vibe was a good one and we enjoyed peering at the array of large houseboats moored permanently on the canal as we made our way in.

    Nearing the centre of the large town, a small indoor market caught our eye on the edge of a large car parking area. Only a few food stalls were open but we bought some organic bread and an apple slice while having a banter with the boulanger who was keen to improve their English while we improved our French. We love the interactions you get in smaller shops that rarely happen in supermarkets. On the other side of the square was a printing shop where we were able to print out Will's fishing licence and some new guitar songs for him to 'entertain' Vicky with.

    At the heart of Moissac lays its impressive Abbey, with a huge stone archway, alive with carved figures. Inside, Saint Pierre's cloisters are patterned with what looks like old fashioned wall paper, but on closer inspection is in fact hand painted onto the ancient plaster, crumbling away at points. It's quite a feat to have covered these high walls.

    Close by is a shop advertising 'Produits de Terroir' (local produce), so we pick up some fruit and veg. France seems really good for selling locally grown fare, through both independent stores such as this one and the larger chains. Vicky wasn't feeling her best but we decided to try and find somewhere to eat out. The first place we tried only had a couple of stools at high tables that hadn't been booked, but recommended their neighbours 'Le Flore'. Once it was ascertained the chef could do a veggie meal, we were seated at one of the two, small high tables, which thankfully came with high backed chairs.

    The server brought out a carafe of water and a blackboard on which the plat du jour were written. A nice touch, but it seemed an age before they returned to take our order. Vicky was pleased there was a veggie starter, but despite being the first in, we had to watch as the room filled up and others were served their first courses before our meat platter and leak and potato soup appeared. It was the same with mains, in fact the table next to us, had finished their coffee before we caught sight of Will's lamb and Vicky's 'big salad' (the 3rd in as many restaurants). She has been reading about the success of 'Veganuary' in the UK, with many people saying how great the choice is for vegans now... we guess it hasn't filtered through to France yet.

    The following day was brilliantly sunny so Will set off to enjoy a spot of fishing on the canal. It was lucky he'd managed to get his lisence printed out, because two officials approached him and asked for it, inspecting it closely and scanning the QR code. They may have accepted his proof of purchace but it turned out he was fishing within 50m of a bridge (unbeknownst to Will, this is against French regulations). Luckily they gave him 'a present' and allowed him to continue, provided he moved.

    After 3 days of electric hookup, Martha's batteries were happily recharged and we were ready to move on. Moissac was a great find with very reasonable prices. There were plenty more streets to explore and in better weather we could enjoy a canoe on the river so we'd definitely return if passing.
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