Have you heard of a “contrappasso” (or its non-translation missing one “p”, contrapasso)? I’d say contrappasso happens when something you’ve said comes back and bites you.

Today I suffered at the hand of a contrappasso. I am fond of saying that I like unorganized tourism, usually to pissed off  non-italian friends who gripe about closed museums, bad signage, poorly organized shows etc. My line goes something like “We’ve got so much of this stuff we can’t find enough time to properly lay it out for you – you’ll have to do some of the work !” But I wouldn’t have thought I’d get a dose of my own medicine in rational, well-organized France.

Being our pool sick (I didn’t even know pools could get sick, but ours did) we decided to visit the waterfalls at Carcès, about one hour drive northwest.

Like diligent tourists we checked in at the local tourist office who provided a map and some practical advice: where to leave the car, which path to take, etc. – we walked for about two hours along the City canal until we got very close to the river and heard (OK, we also got a glimpse of) the waterfalls; then the path arrives at the dam and the lake that forms behind it. End of walk, retrace.

On the way...
On the way...
... to here
... to here

It was rather frustrating, because the magazine article we got the idea from had created an expectation of a rather pleasant picnic area in front of a beautifully refreshing – if not enormous – waterfall: a classic reward-for-your-sweat type of arrangement.

But we got none – the waterfall was unreachable from our path and barely visible; even worse, the whole walk was sort of pointless as we heard cars zooming metres away from us most of the time: in fact we realized we had driven past that very spot on our way to Carcès.

Even worse, a nice and relaxing picnic area exists – in the opposite direction. This is no lack of organization, this is using organization to maliciously mislead people.

So a suggestion to the Carcès politicians who obviously would like to develop that attraction from a touristic standpoint: get people to the picnic area downstream and build a little car park closest to the upstream waterfall.

Who knows, you might even sell a few cold drinks in the process…


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