“It feels good to be on the road again,” muttered Francine as we drove out of Maussane-les-Alpilles.
We’ve done something rather out of character for us on our nest stop and it’s proved quite interesting. We’ve returned to an area of the Languedoc that we are familiar with but to a different campsite. We are near Montagnac, at Loupian this time, to be precise. The site we’ve chosen is one of the classic French Camping Municipale sites. Or, at least, it used to be.
Some years ago, when we were camping in the same area but camped at our then usual site, I cycled to this municipale site in Loupian just to have a nose around. There were a few units on site, which were, as far as I could tell, almost all French. There was a very french “clack” of boules drifting over the fence from a game of petanque in progress. To be frank, the site seemed at first glance to be a little rough and ready but very French.
So, here we are several years later and, horror of horrors, this erstwhile classic French Camping Municipale site is still a Camping Municipale but has been enrolled into the ever-expanding Dutch ACSI camping organization. I’ve been leery of ACSI for a while, for this reason: I suspected it would attract swarms of Dutch deal-seekers (ACSI members get an out-of-season discount) and sites that would otherwise have been quiet out of season would become very busy. We’ve pitched up in early June, decidedly out of season, and this time round the site was aproaching full. An English neighbour, who seems to stay here for about a month at a time, told us that last night it was full. That’s the ACSI effect for you and it’s exactly what I was afraid of. This site is really the first evidence I’ve actually seen of my fear. The site is fine but the ACSI effect makes it feel more like camping in August at the height of the season.
This site already feels considerably more friendly than did our last site at Maussane-les-Alpilles, which could best be described as impersonal. (It took me a long time to come up with that word but it’s perfect.) We are amongst tall conifers giving shade from the sun for most of the day and the conifers are full of Serins “spraying” us with their song. Serins deliver 3-4 seconds worth of immeasurably short, varying notes in what can only be described as a frenetic stream. Here’s one giving us a few seconds worth. They look a bit like Canaries and may be related but their song is quite different.
Having been Serin-aded over lunch, we cycled just a couple of miles down a conveniently adjacent voie verte [green way], an erstwhile railway track now tarmac covered serving as a cycle track between Mèze and Bouzigues. We headed for Mèze to stare at its idyllic looking harbour which issues onto the Basin-de-Thau, through which runs the Canal du Midi.