Mijavols — Florac.
After a ‘grim faced’ breakfast in the farmhouse we packed and said good luck to the donkey trio who were going down valley. The two French teams were always away before us. It was a perfect morning as we climbed the few hundred metres back up to the ridge. We arrived at the Col du Sapet, 1080m, and chatted to mushroom gatherers on the road that crosses the path. The rest of the ridge was easy walking in mixed forest.The GR70 does a long descending loop through the forest to arrive above the infant River Tarn, most well known lower down for its gorge and the Millau Bridge. Up here the waters are sparkling and quick flowing through rapids and pools.We passed ‘la voiture rouge’ group having their lavish lunch and then found ourselves a couple of seats at a campsite cafe [closed!] to munch a bit of fruit. Old riverside paths took us to a main road at the junction of the Tarn and the Tarnon rivers, we followed the latter upstream into Florac. Walking in at 2pm when everything is closed gave the impression of a rather grim town, sitting at a cafe with the local alcoholics didn’t improve matters. We booked into the impressive looking Grand Hotel du Parc, a complete contrast to last night’s gite. The elderly lady on reception was from another era as was the hotel itself, think 1940s and Noel Coward. We confused her by changing rooms and then locking ourselves out but she took it all in her professional stride with a smile and a Gallic shrug. At supper time we came down to eat and asked her where the restaurant was, she pointed down a corridor and said take a left. I did and ended up in a lounge, second time she pointed further and I exited a door onto a side street! No sign of their restaurant there. On return she this time accompanied us out of the door and pointed left up the street towards a square with cafes. The reason was that the hotel’s restaurant was closed that night and she was sending us elsewhere. I think she was glad to see the back of us. Eventually we found a pleasant restaurant and enjoyed another good French meal including escargot as a starter.