28 March 2009


In mid-July in 1994, in a heat wave, we arrived at Forcalquier at about 6 pm. We had ridden a long way on difficult roads in tremendous heat and even at that time of day it was 35 degrees. As we rode into town we looked briefly at the campsite. There were no pitches visible in the shady bits and it was just TOO HOT. So a hotel it had to be. There seemed to be only one hotel in town - the Lion d'Or.

Inside the Lion d'Or

We parked just around the corner from the hotel and as we approached I thought "we've no chance of getting in here". Standing outside I could see into the restaurant with crisp white tablecloths, sparkling wineglasses and rows of cutlery. We exchanged glances and strode up the steps into the foyer. Basil Fawlty came out from the back of the hotel, took one look at us, did a swift about turn and disappeared!

His wife then came out to greet us. Of course they had a room (even for a pair of dusty, completely exhausted, leather-clad mad people from England).

The Lion d'Or was one of those lovely old fashioned French hotels with husband and wife running everything, creaky stairs, dodgy plumbing and oodles of charm. A porter (or maybe kitchen hand - he was wearing a pinny) offered to take our bags. BAGS !! We gratefully accepted and asked for a secure parking place for the motorcycles. He showed us round to the back of the hotel and we rode the bikes into the old barn and hid them amongst haywagons, barrels and assorted other agricultural machinery. We then unloaded our luggage - tent, paniers and various baggage bungied on to the bikes and loaded him up. Well he did ask !

We had a superb dinner in the hotel - may dedicate a whole blog to that later. The room was cool, comfy and very cheap. The next day was market day and what a delight that was - my first taste of the French market that takes over the whole village. In the hot afternoon we watched the Tour de France on TV and I enjoyed every moment of our stay in Forcalquier.

The view from the church at the top of Forcalquier

A pretty little corner of the town.

1 comment:

  1. The sight of Basil spinning round and disappearing into the sanctity of his restaurant as we walked up to the door is one I'll never forget. I was sure we'd not get as far as the reception desk!

    What an adventure that holiday was....a bit like most really!