Ten days after arriving in France, we have arrived at our major destination: Quillan. It is a relief to make it this far, after so many days travelling and so many months preparing.
We split the drive south from St Martin le Beau (in the Loire Valley near Paris) over two days. On Saturday we drove half-way to an inn a few km from a town called Collonesque (or something visceral like that), and today drove the rest of the way. Most of the driving was on French A-roads (autoroutes), with speed limits of 130 kph. So we whizzed along pretty quickly, and stopped at motorway services when needed. Thankfully, the weather has improved. We have had clear skies for these two days of long drives. Today’s drive was the best. Being a Sunday, there were hardly any trucks on the roads, and that made it much more pleasant.
So far, we are pleased with the apartment. It is bigger than we expected. Quite a grand old place. We look out onto Quillan’s main square.
Approaching from the north, just south of Carcassonne, we were confronted with a magnificent vista of snow-covered mountains of the high Pyrenees. The road to Quillan gradually climbed as we approached those mountains. So Quillan has the feel of a mountain town. The Aude river running through it looks cold and swift.
Quillan had some day-tourists today – we could see them coming and going, and sitting at the three cafes on the square. The town looks beautiful but it appears to be less wealthy than the other French towns we have visited recently. Many things look a bit run-down, including some of the inhabitants.