04-Oct-2004 -- In 1973 we camped in Fronsac at the border of the Dordogne, about 20 km SW from this confluence. At that time people just started thinking of a GPS system. In 1999 we camped North from St Emilion, only 14 km SSW from this confluence. At that time I used a GPS but I was unaware of the Degree Confluence Project.
This autumn our holiday, after a business meeting in Toulouse, brought us again in this area. So we decided to visit this special confluence. Special because it has not only no minutes and no seconds but it has no longitude at all. And it is halfway the equator and the North Pole.
An initial preparation with our 1999 Michelin map showed the location of this DCP in an area with a new motorway under construction. Our modern 1:1.000.000 map showed the motorway to be in full service. While I'm driving my wife is reading the map. Guided by the GPS she is looking for the smaller (white) roads, if possible marked with a green border (scenic road).
Hence a beautiful ride through the country brought us closer and closer to the DCP. And more and more I feared the DCP to be on the motorway. Our old map shows a detail of part of the recorded track as an overlay with a 500 m grid. Finally the DCP is found in a leftover piece of land covered with grass, only about 80 m from the motorway.
The car is parked exactly North of the DCP on a small road parallel to the motorway. With a clear view to a blue sky 10 satellites guided me within 0.7 m (according to the display) to the DCP, the recorded dataset at 2 sec interval contains an interval of about 1 minute with 5+5+1 zero's. Estimated accuracy given by the GPS is 3 m. The time is 13:16 UTC which is 15:16 local time (see photograph 4).
The four "principal direction" pictures are replaced by two 180° panoramic photographs with N, S, E and W marks. The brighter sections at the sides are overlapping sections. The silver coloured line behind the car is the crashbarrier of the motorway. The road signs at NE mark a service entrance. The yellowish-green coloured bush at ENE in photograph 2 is in front of a viaduct of local road D123 from Puynormand to St Seurin s-l'Isle.
In the blackberry bush (grown since the last visit) between the DCP and the car a sign indicates the purpose of the lid-covered sink. SIAEP means SYNDICAT INTERCOMMUNAL D'ASSAINISSEMENT ET D'EAU POTABLE. Which translates to Syndicate of Municipalities for Purification and Drinking Water.
As I'm interested in plants here is a collection of plants found within the DCP circle. In former times the 3rd from left called "teasel" was used to card or tease wool.
Although the surroundings doesn't reveal it this is the Bordeaux region, famous for its wines. St Emilion, Pomerol, Graves are south of the DCP, Bourg, Blaye and Medoc with MARGAUX are west of the DCP. Halfway to the next DCP (direction NW, Premier cotes de Blaye) is a typical view of endless vineyards. The insert shows the grapes ready to be harvested. According to the locals the 2004-wine will be of excellent quality and in good quantity. Mark the typical "loaded" look of our car and guess what is inside beside our camping stuff.
France is also the country of good cooking and eating. We like to buy at the local markets where the autumn offers "cèpes"
which are edible mushrooms (boletus), delicious but expensive.