Saint-Bauzille-de-Montmel is a stunner of a crag. Sited anywhere else it would be domineering, however it is inviting in comparison to Hortus, a behemoth of a crag found down the road. There was a huge fire at Saint-Bau a few years back, and routes have since been re- cleaned and equipped. Plants have regrown, the falaise rises from a mound of green, but shards of blackened wood still pierce the blue sky. Using the stove consequently felt horribly awkward, and sure enough we were approached by a lady investigating our less-than-subtle plumes of smoke. She was actually very friendly, and as we didn't burn the hillside, we got on okay.
Oh yeah, before we found Saint-Bau, we took a little excursion to see the Grotte de Clamouse, which was closed but since they charged admission we would have sacked it off regardless. They considerately provided large photographs of the caves on billboard advertising which we enjoyed pour gratuité. They also had lovely (free) toilets, a tick in the right box as far as we're concerned. Following this we took a constitutional walk through the gorge de l'Hérault, a tangle of turquoise and white river between rock laced with slippery fig tree roots. We observed until the mist closed in.
Kayakers riding the river down the gorge de l'Hérault, and three steps leading to the secrets of the underwater garden.
After the Camargue we ventured inland a little to just south of Avignon to the rock-monster that is Orgon. We followed the road north with this titan on the left until we reached the town of Orgon itself, we were then quite sufficiently (quelle surprise!) signposted through the ville to the 'Site d'Escalade' *. At first glance the barrage of buttresses erupting from the earth create an endless citadel of stone; a very awe-inspiring place to be, even when you're only climbing two routes and visiting for a couple of hours. Humbled by the scale we left feeling ant-like and insignificant, it was great.
And so we reach the east(ish) of France, and with it our destination for this point in time, Châteauvert. Châteauvert is special and so deserves it's own post, and besides we've banged on long enough for now. We bid you adieu, and in the spirit of special, here's Sam, encore une fois...