Wednesday 10 August

Wake later – must be holiday mode kicking in. R has another bout of diarrhea and some tummy pain, making her very fretful about the baby.

We buy some milk and a baguette in town, then drive up to the Cirque du Fer à Cheval viewpoint, just south of Arbois. We are hoping to do a short walk from there but there is a lack of information. The view is good though. I’m glad of the steel railings because the cliffs on which we stand seemingly drop vertically all the way down to the valley floor. We are standing in woods, peering out between trees, and the valley too is a luscious green of woods and trees.

Left:
(magnify) Cirque du Fer à Cheval viewpoint
Right:
(magnify) Cirque du Fer à Cheval viewpoint

Uncertain of what to do next, no walk being forthcoming and in any case R is feeling very low, we finally decide to drive just over a kilometer to La Châtelaine, a nearby farming village with, we hope, a good viewpoint.

(magnify) Gateway to the ruined castle at La Châtelaine

We park up next to the church and follow a track into the woods. It isn’t far and the view surpasses the one from the Cirque du Fer à Cheval.

(magnify) The Caves of Moidons
(magnify) Roche du Feu viewpoint

On the way back to the van we take a short detour towards a ‘Vieux Mont.’ On reaching a structure like a Victorian ice house, R decides to head back to the van, but I continue on a little way and discover a grand arch hidden in the woods, leading to what I suppose to have once been a grand castle, now in ruins, overlooking the limestone cliffs. There is a spectacular view into a cirque and I spot walkers far below between the trees at the base of the cliffs.

It is not quite lunch time, so we drive down to the caves of Moidons and picnic there, along with the wasps. The cave tour could have been ordinary but we have an excellent guide. It is essentially a single large cavern and their son et lumière display is a bit token. But there are some good stalagmites and stalactites and the colours are pretty.

We follow a scenic route to Salins-les-Bains, taking in Valempoulières and as much of the green-highlighted routes on the map as is reasonably possible. R baulks at a narrow road across farmland that we hope would take us up to the Roche du Feu viewpoint near Les Planches looking back towards the horseshoe cirque. However, the road, though narrow, turns out to be fine and we have a nice short walk along the cliff tops as far as the car park a bit further down the road where we find we should have left the van. We can’t quite see around the corner of the valley into the horseshoe cirque but the views are beautiful and very green.

We reach the municipal campsite in Salins-les-Bains soon after four and set up. For dinner we barbecue some kebabs, which we serve with rice and ratatuille. The facilities here seem good and the water is hotter than in Arbois. But the site is a little more noisy, being between two roads.

Left:
(magnify) Roche du Feu viewpoint
Right:
(magnify) Municipal campsite at Salins-les-Bains