The ‘Gorges du Tarn’
After visiting Conques we drove along the scenic Lot River. Arriving at Entraygues, it took 4 attempts to cross the very narrow medieval bridge, since we couldn’t see on-coming traffic until they came over the crest, and we were always the ones who had to back up! Finally, we got into the town, but there was no accommodation. We spent the night in a small town called Golinhac, on the heights above the river valley, where a strong cold wind made us grateful for the warm little 6-room inn that had one room left. There were no restaurants, and the innkeeper had not counted on two more last-minute guests, but promised to find us something to eat. We got a three-course meal that was really delicious and the total cost of dinner, room, and breakfast was less than most hotels cost just for the room! Love those little country “auberges”! Golinhac is also on the ‘Camino’ route, and since the inn was right next to the church, we dropped in before leaving. Unpretentiously lovely.
On our way along the valley of the Lot River (which used to be called the Olt, until somebody scrambled the letters), we came across Saint-Côme d'Olt – apparently listed as one of “the most beautiful villages in France” – and it is a perfectly lovely, well-preserved medieval town, with its signature church steeple, all crooked and wonky!
After finding our way across the autoroute, we started along the scenic route of the Tarn River “Gorges” where there were some amazing views and very steep slopes. The Tarn has cut deep into the limestone “causses” (the main plateau of this part of the Massif Central), creating steep cliffs, fantastic hoodoos (some of which look like ruins of man-made structures when seen on the skyline), and a very deep, twisting valley, along which the route snaked between river and cliff… Drivers didn’t always come around the corners in their own lanes, which made driving all the more exciting!!
We climbed (in the car) out of the canyon valley to eat a picnic lunch (in the car – cold wind again) at a look-out point, with large vultures soaring overhead. Then we headed across the top of the plateau to Millau where we spent the night. The chateau hotel we wanted to stay in, when we finally found it, was closed for renovations. Sigh. Tempis.
Next morning we returned the car in Rodez and boarded a train for Perpignan, near the Spanish border. We stayed one night before going on to Barcelona where we would meet some Yellowknife friends.