Friday 3rd of June Villefort to Le Vans

Thanks for the comment David and Carole but we have different views about the Hotel Balme. Christine agrees with you but I have my doubts.

Hotel Balme

Christine thought the Hotel Balme was wonderful. She liked the dodgy decor and thought the classic intermittent plumbing a price worth paying for the atmosphere and the food. I thought the food heavy and old fashioned.

The magazine article in the reception raved about the Calves Head Terrine and based on this eulogy I went for it as my starter. It was as bad as the moniker suggested and, avoiding detail, one word summed it up, grizzly. Christine raved about her food, ignoring the slowness of the service and the rudeness of waiters. To be honest I enjoyed it, it was great exercise for all my prejudices about France and I would happily go there again.

Anyway arguing about the hotel helped us on our walk. The weather still hasn't improved and went from steady rain in the morning to intense humidity in the afternoon. The morning walk was through trees and the weather not a great handicap but in the afternoon it spoiled what would otherwise have been a great day.

The walk was basically along a ridge heading east but it wasn't until the afternoon that the ridge really opened up. On a good day I suspect we could have seen the Alps but today we had to make do with what might have been fuzzy outlines of Mount Mezanc to the north and across the Rhone Valley Mount Ventoux. The walk itself was good fun though with some challenging scrambles across rocky outcrops.

Along the Serre de Barre

It was then a long walk down, dropping some 600 metres down feet numbing stoney paths. Really busy holiday weekend and after the quintessential Frenchness of Hotel Le Balme we are staying in what is basically a motel and managed to find a restaurant in the lovely Le Vans that served curry. After 28 kilometres and 800 metres of climb it was a good reward.

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