Blissful peace - Five days in July - CycleBlaze

July 9, 2019

Blissful peace

BABETTE tells me that, yes, that is her real name. Her parents had considered Elizabeth but chose something more novel.

I tell her a name like that gives her the right to dance on tables with a rose between her teeth. She laughs. "Better than selling wood," she says, which was her job before she took over the campsite.

She and Bertrand and their three children come from Savoie, a region of France over by the Alps. Neither of the parents liked their job. Bertrand, the quieter one, had always fancied running a campground and so they took their chance to rent one when it came up.

The place is called Chez Mémé. It was founded or perhaps bought by a Dutchman who did most of the restoration.

"Back then it was called Le Soleil," Babette says, " but that's a nothing name for a campground and it became Chez Mémé, because you ask 'Tu te penses où, alors, chez Mémé?' when someone oversteps the line. So, because there are no rules here, or hardly any, we can now tell the people who visit us that they really are chez Mémé."

I was all for a good day on my bike, another bound across the hills. I felt mentally fresher but it took all of a hundred metres to find my legs weren't of the same opinion. There are no fewer than three campgrounds in and around the village, which in these parts isn't exceptional because it's within driving distance of gem villages such as Sarlat and Rocamadour. There's Chez Mémy, of course, and a motorbikers' place where much is celebrated with beer and noise, and then a naturist site a little down the other side of the hill. I couldn't exploit Babette's generosity again and so that's where I headed.

It was quiet, peaceful, full of Dutch couples quiet in the calm of mixed sunshine. There was nothing better. I lay by the pool, recharged my batteries and prepared for the morning's battle.

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