Watching rural France flash before our eyes as we head into green fields and vineyards for as far as the eye can see. Arriving in Agen we have one night in the Ibis Hotel, then head to Valence-Sur-Baise to begin a seven day canal cruise through the South West of France. Pretty magical if you ask me.
Arriving via taxi (No other way) we arrive at Locaboat in Valence-sur-baise to collect our Penichette Classique. Along with four very sturdy bikes. And off we go! (After a view brief:This is how you go forwards, and this is how you go back.)
We slightly nervously head down the river Baise towards our first stop, Condom. Much to Nans delight…
Our first lock is all hands on deck… literally. As Dan yells from the wheel, Nan attempts to stop the boat colliding with the stone dock and Mum attempts to jump onto the dock, and I fail and re-attempt to throw a rope onto the dock towards mum. The first lock was chaos… However, we soon picked it up like pro’s and marvelled at our superiority to the other canal boats who looked to be struggling…
Our second day was spent navigating the canals for an hour to reach Moncrabeau. (Phew…this canal cruising is hard work!) Here we set off for a predicted 1/2 hour cycle- which turned into a 1 1/2 hour! To view an Armagnac vineyard. (Found via another blog) The vineyard was called Chateau de Courrejot and was absolutely beautiful. We were taken for a tasting, guided through the process of how the armagnac is made, its storage in oak barrels and the ageing process. This was fantastic- to be able to cycle from the boat to a traditional Chateau was so so cool!
The following day we set off to Nerac. Definitely my favourite of all the villages we came across with gorgeous cobble stone paths and very traditional houses- This was the rural France I wanted Mum and Nan to see.
We spend the day walking around the narrow streets, browsing the handmade baskets and checking out the menus for dinner! In the end we choose a Restaurant right on the canal, just in front of our boat. We indulge in duck breast, followed by a cheese board, accompanied by red wine. mhmm.