My Spouse had to leave our love nest in Theoule (in July 2014) for two board meetings back home, so what was I to do to avoid the pain of missing her?
Bruno Beusse provided the solution!
Or rather, the opportunity to ‘net’ a couple of new ‘departments’ with his help, was all I needed to get me en route to a beautiful part of France which I would guess many Brits have yet to see.
The Ardeche in the region of Rhone-Alpes is stunningly beautiful. The roadway to my destination took me through pretty villages, but the memorable vistas of distant and rolling and verdant hills and meadows linger. As I drove onwards and upwards, signage warned me not to take/steal nature’s bounty which in July is the myrtille berries, so revered in this part of France, where there is an appellation to protect their specialness. We know ‘myrtille’ as bilberries, or blueberries. They taste better in the Ardeche! And the liqueur makes a lovely cassis, or whatever the blueberry equivalent is!
I arrived in the pretty village of Sainte-Eulalie, at the eastern edge of the Massif Central, where there was a summer fair in full swing. But I had ben driving for nearly five hours and was ready for a refreshing biere, which mine host at Hotel du Nord, Serge Mouyon, readily poured! He and his wife, Marie-Andree, offer truly comfortable rooms, and local foods to delight. For theirs is a hotel for anglers.
Why? Because the Loire, one of France’s most impressive rivers rises just kilometres away, below Mont Gerbier de Jonc, in the southern Cevenne slopes, ten kilometres away. And the upper reaches of the Loire are filled with trout. (ps…my first visit to France as an eleven year old, was to Blois. Torture was visiting ‘Les Chateaux de le Loire’, including Blois/Chambois/Chenonceaux/Beauregard, when we would rather have been playing football…but it stuck, which maybe is why I love this country, and now have a home there/here)
On day one, Bruno drove us a few klicks downstream, to a village where in a meadow there was a pitiful hand painted sign..”Ici, un loup a tue quatre brebins” Ouch! That’s life in the country, but…
The Loire here is comprised of runs over gravel, bends and features, and easy wading. Fly life in July was evident but sparse, but fish rose to Adams and our morning yielded six or so fish, but most were rather small.
In the afternoon, we fished the more diminutive, Tauron, but what a stream it is. How often do you have a nine fish in just two hours? The farmers’ dogs were impressed. They barked furiously with every cast. And all my fish were on dries…mostly, Adams. And under sunny skies and temperatures in the late teens.