Monthly Archives: December 2011

Condette Woods, Friday 3rd June 2011


Camping wild at Condette Woods

We are somewhere between Hardelot-Plage and Le Portel (Boulogne-sur-Mer).

It was very hot yesterday, spent totally in campsite, sunbathing, reading and swimming in pool, and finished with a lovely couscous meal in the town’s couscousserie.  Thus we finished our stay in Les Andelys and felt very sorry to leave again.

So we set off this morning just after 9 am and headed for Montreuil-sur-Mer to take Bramble to vet again before returning home.  The appointment was for 2 pm, but when we got there we found 3 other people waiting with their pets and were not seen till about 2.30.  After buying orange juice and tobacco for Adonis, we were on our way again just before 3pm headed for Le Touquet-Plage, but it was absolutely chock-a-block with caravans, some even parked outside aire near the exit road, really packed like sardines, so we decided to try St Cécile Plage by Camiers and some dunes nearby, but it was all banned to motorhomes, so we started heading north towards Le Portel, where there’s supposed to be another aire, but we found this parking space in the woods and decided to stop for a walk for Bramble.  We should be alright here tonight too, as there are no signs saying otherwise.

Condette Woods

Condette Woods

Tomorrow will be just a short drive to Boulogne hypermarket and then Wissant’s aire, so we may spend one day on the beach yet, wind permitting.





Jus drinking bottle of cider (Cidre Bouché fermier Le Pressoir d’Or, Silver Medal 2009) given to us as a gift by the management at L’ÎLe des Trois Rois campsite: lovely and sweet after a hot and tiring day. THANK YOU.  Thinking of you now!

île des Trois Rois, Les Andelys, Wednesday 1st June 2011


Monet's Garden and house

We had a lovely morning visiting Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny.  We got there before 10.30 am, but there was already a small queue, like 10 people before us.  It was quite an experience to see his painting hanging on the walls as he had them while he still lived there:  I didn’t expect so many and they were all beautiful, full of life and poetry.  I didn’t expect quite so many people either, with coach loads from schools, American and Japanese tourists, etc.  By the time we left at midday, it was positively heaving with visitors and more coaches were arriving.  I felt we were leaving at the right time.




The gardens are gorgeous, of course, very much like an English country garden, but much much bigger, and the famous bridge over the water lily pond with barge is just spectacular, surrounded by tall bamboo and all kinds of wild flowers: a real treat for the eye.      I was particularly taken and impressed by the blue Canterbury Bells, which I’d never seen before and I’ve promised myself I must get some to plant next spring.

Water lily pond

We took lots of pictures, although we had to wait a bit to get a good spot on the bridge without getting lots of other people in it!  I am glad we went at this time of year when there are so many different varieties of flowers adding to the colour palette of the garden.

Posing on famous water lily pond and bridge










It’s been a hot day, but the wind has lifted again this evening.  I made bacon with saute potatoes and French omelette for dinner and it almost turned out to be another day of disaster in the kitchen.  First I dropped an egg, which broke and spilled its contents almost under the fridge, making almost impossible to pick up and clean.  Then I burned my hand on handle of saucepan, at it was above grill, which shoot flames and heat upwards.  After that, I dropped small frying pan just before I cracked my egg for my omelette and, finally, I slipped on step outside van when I was serving and taking things out.  Why do all these things happen all at once?  It’s like a butterfly effect or a domino rally: one things falls after another.  Luckily food was well cooked and delicious and I didn’t get hurt.

Water lily pond

Adonis (Peter) at Monet's Garden



We are going to spend another day here and then head off for Montreuil-sur-Mer again for ritual visit to vet before returning to England.  We might try and stop the night at Le Touquet-Paris-Plage for a change and do shopping at Boulogne: we’ll see.







Water lily pond

Poppy field in Giverny

Beautiful Canterbury bells

Les Andelys, Monday 30th May 2011


Chateau Gaillard seen from campsite

So here we are again in gorgeous and perfect Les Andelys, at the île des Trois Roys campsite.  I’ve just been enjoying the use of the latest addition to the site a FREE outdoor gym: absolutely brilliant and great fun!  It also comes with a magnificent view of Chateau Gaillard on the hill top.

Trying out the new gym at the campsite

We got here on Saturday lunchtime after spending the night at Wissant aire.  We were schedules on the 6.50 pm crossing, but we somehow jumped the queue and set off half an hour before allocated time!

Trying out the new gym at the campsite

Wissant was slightly less windy than last time, but I still wouldn’t like to spend too long there, beautiful as it is, unless I was surfing, of course. It’s been very tranquil here since we arrived, with just a couple of outings into town to get bread and groceries.  It was Mother’s day here yesterday and I was given a red rose at the Carrefour supermarket: What a beautiful gesture!  Only in France! We have also got internet access, so Adonis has been checking the weather forecast, which seems set to be sunny and warm.  It’s been trying to rain for about an hour now, but only a few drops have actually materialised.   Adonis’s been fishing most of the time and I’ve been reading my ‘Marie France’ magazine and revising my German, so I can get both languages flowing, hopefully.

Adonis' fishing swim at campsite

We plan to stay here till Friday morning, when we have to take Bramble to vet yet again!

working out at campsite

Wissant, Saturday 30th April 2011



Our last day of the holiday at what seems to be a new aire between Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez, just 20 minutes south of Calais.  It’s spacious and very busy; there were only a few vans when we arrived here at 1 pm, but it’s pretty full now, perhaps as many as 30 vans.  It’s very windy, as always in this area, but it makes a change from Carrefour car park.  

We’ve just  been for a walk through the village and onto the sea front and were surprised to see so many wind and kite surfers, but I suppose it makes sense with all that wind.  At least it’s sunny, without a cloud in the sky and no sign of a storm yet.

We left Montreuil-sur-Mer just after 10 am and headed for Boulogne, where we did our shopping and filled up with diesel.  We left at around noon and followed the A16 north all the way here.  We bought a nice quiche for tonight, so cooking and washing up should be easy for our last night.

I’ve just uploaded the last few pictures since we left Broglie onto laptop, mainly of surfers on the beach, and will now finish reading the excellent ‘Old Curiosity Shop’.

Surfers and kite surfers at Wissant

Wissant village










Until next time: hopefully end of May!


Wissant motorhome aire

Montreuil-sur-Mer, Friday 29th April 2011


Pitch at La Fontaine des Clercs at Montreuil

Here we are again before before our return home for the obligatory visit to the vet.  We arrived at lunchtime after following the A28 and A16 from Broglie, so it was an easy drive all the way.  We were surprised that nobody came to collect the daily fee for the aire, so we saved 5 Euros!

I was hoping to watch the Royal Wedding on television when we got to campsite, but we couldn’t get a reception, so I asked Pepo to tape it for me, which he has, and I look forward to watching it when we get home on Sunday.  I also tried the internet, but the reception was weak and had to knock that on the head too.  So I spent the afternoon reading while Adonis had siesta and then I took Bramble for walk.  Again I was frustrated in my efforts, as walk around ramparts had been closed for maintenance and we couldn’t follow the usual route around city walls that we enjoy so much.


City walls at Montreuil-sur-Mer

We took Bramble to the vet at 6 pm and then had a drink outside café on the square, where a storm started raging 2 hours ago and hasn’t stopped since.  We tried to sit it out while we drank, but as it didn’t look like it was going to stop any time soon, we took our chances and ran all the way to campsite, getting drenched in the attempt, but made it back in one piece at least.     It sort of reminded me that this is the place where ‘Les Miserables’ was set, and it did feel pretty miserable. We quickly dried ourselves and heated up chili con carne and rice for dinner.  Pepo phoned while I was getting dinner ready and said he had friends round and sounded very happy.

Montreuil in the rain






I am going to read some more and then will go to bed.




Montreuil-sur-Mer in the rain

Having a hug with Bramble

Broglie, Thursday 28th April 2011


Lac de Pincemaille at Rillé

We were so impressed with that little picnic place at Rillé that we decided to stay there for 2 nights.  It was lovely and quiet and Adonis spent most of the time fishing and made friends with a French fisherman named Tony, who happened to be an asparagus farmer and lives in Allonnes, right in the middle of the Loire wine growing region.  They swapped bait and fishing stories and we now have an invitation to visit and fish from a boat in the Loire!

The first day was very hot, but it cooled down rather a lot yesterday, although we still managed to eat outside, some gorgeous barbecue chicken kebabs.

We left early this morning and followed TomTom to Broglie, with a couple of detours  looking for an aire to empty chemical toilet and fill up with water.  That wasted a lot of time for nothing, as neither of the indicated places seemed to exist, but we finally managed to fulfill task just north of Le Mans, at a rest place called La Bazoge that had toilets and water taps.

Charentonne River walk at Broglie

Without further ado, we arrived here at 1.20 pm, had lunch, siesta, Adon walked Bramble and I sorted out dirty clothes for washing when we get home.

Another pizza tonight, so an easy evening.

Ample space for dogs to run at Broglie's aire

It’s definitely colder here, 16 °C, and I fear we might need heating on tomorrow.  It’s been raining too, but it’s dry at the moment.  It really begins to feel like the end of the holiday.

Nice and spacious pitches at Broglie's aire

Villandry Chateau, Tuesday 26th April 2011


Villandry's exquisite gardens

A beautiful day today visiting Villandry’s Chateau’s gardens, probably the most stunning and exquisite gardens I have ever seen.  We went there after lunch and left by 3 pm, a good thing too, as there was a bit of a queue to get in by then, whereas, when we went in just before 2, there was nobody else.

We are now at the Pincemaille Lac, just outisde Rillé, about 25 km southwest of Chateau du Loir.  It’s just charming and quiet and a perfect place to stop the night.

Villandry's chateau and gardens


We stayed at Bouchemaine for 2 nights and enjoyed a swim in the river Loire, as well as a cycle ride along its banks and a beer in the quiet square by old port.  It was a bit of a luxury to have an aire with hot showers and washing facilities and it was well worth 8 Euros per night.

So we left this morning at about 9.15 am and headed for supermarket.  After a fruitless search for a Super U at Ste Gemmes, just south of Angers, we ended up in Les Mosquetoirs a bit further on, managing to get lost at Trélazé on D4 due to bad sign posting and coming off road at wrong exit.  We eventually found our way back on the D347 and arrived at Villandry just after 12 noon.  We parked in the aire by Tourist Information Office opposite the chateau, but decided to look for a place in the wild rather than a car park.

Louis XIV style mirror pond




I loved that star!







We are relying on the TomTom tomorrow to avoid getting lost and any subsequent arguments and will be heading for Broglie again: it should take 3 and 3/4 hours.  We are really on our way back now!


the vegetable garden at Villandry

Camping in the wild at Pincemaille Lac, Rillé

Bouchemaine, Easter Sunday, 24th April 2011


Aire of the Year!  By the rivers Loire and Maine.

Bouchemaine aire

What a wild-goose chase of a day it’s been!  It all started really well with an early start by the river: breakfast, dog walk and ready to leave by 9;15 am.  We stopped for bread and then again for cakes, as the first boulangerie was a bit empty in the cake department, not even croissants for breakfast!

The original idea of stopping at a France Passion site at Blasley ( just off the D347, 15 km northwest of Poitiers) had to be cancelled as no-one seemed to be there and we didn’t like the parking place next to a huge heap of manure.  We thought we’d try an aire at Mirebeau, just 5 km north of Blasley, which was very well sign-posted at several places, but when we got there, it seemed to belong to a private property, with a gate locked with a chain!  It was lunchtime by then, so we decided to try our luck going all the way to south of Angers and enjoy the facilities of the aire of the year, which is lovely and full up.  We were lucky to find a parking lot on the grass, although you are not supposed to, but other people have, so we’ve done the same (when in Rome…).

Charming walk along the river

We got here for 3.30 and took Bramble for long walk along the river, where the Maine and the Loire meet.  The facilities here are great, with showers, basins, wash cubicles and sinks for the washing-up.  We wonder if it might have been an old municipal campsite.

I must also mention the very pretty aire we stopped at for coffee at Vivonne, right by the canal and about 15 km south of Poitiers, on the N10, where we emptied chemical toilet and also had public toilets.

We are thinking of spending a couple of nights here, if we can, as we still have 5 days to make it to Montreuil-sur-Mer to take Bramble to the vet before returning to England.

I also want to mention the delicious ‘

Nid de Pâques Easter cake

‘ cake we shared with our coffee this morning: just as the one I bought for Pepo last year!  Amazing how quickly it’s gone!  




Tranquil waters, where the rivers Loire and Maine meet.

Sireuil, Saturday 23rd April 2011


Sireuil aire and lake

We’ve found another lovely overnight stay bay the Charente river, just 10 km west of Angoulême, on the D699.  Our original plan was to stop at Nersac, but the aire there was by a block of flats and we didn’t like it very much, so we more or less followed the river until we found a suitable place.  This is just by the pleasure boats stop and it’s provided with picnic tables and bins and the grass is cut short and well maintained.

Adonis is trying to fish again, but so far nothing has been landed.

The aire last night was very quiet and welcome after the night before at campsite in Léon.  We slept well and were up just after 8 am, had breakfast and were ready to go by 9.15. 

We drove all morning with usual quick stop for daily baguette and cake and arrived in Nersac for 12.30, but finally stopped for lunch just after 1 pm.




We are again between farmland and the river and it couldn’t be more charming and peaceful.  tomorrow we’ll be heading for a France Passion site just north of Poitiers, so it should be an easy morning’s drive.

Sireuil aire


I’ve almost finished sewing puppy soft toy, but need some cotton for filling before I can finally stitch it all up.

I am going to read some more:  Just Dickens and me now!

Sigh at Sireuil aire and lake

Sanguinet, Friday 22nd April 2011


Sanguinet exquisite aire

We are now right in the National Park of Landes de Gascogne, in a small aire by the Lac de Cazaux et de Sanguinet.  We are parked under some trees and it’s very quiet and peaceful.

As we feared, the campsite at Leon got a bit too busy and noisy, with the two families camped right behind us having a bit of a party until nearly midnight.  The pool was also crowded in the afternoon and we felt the lovely tranquil atmosphere was lost and didn’t feel like staying any longer.  Still, we enjoyed 5 days of peace and quiet and can’t complain.

So we packed after breakfast and left soon after 10.30 am, with a quick stop at Carrefour in Léon, and then followed the A652 to Mimizan (nice to see it in the sun, as last time we were there 9 years ago it rained for 6 days solid), then the D626 to Pontenx-les-Forges and finally the D46 here, just over 30 km northwest of Mimizan Plage.

Welcome shade at aire of Sanguinet

A walkway between the lakes










It’s now 5.50 pm and has just started to rain: the first proper rain we’ve seen since we left England.  Adonis’s been injured on his leg by Bramble launching forward and catching him between his chair and the chain Bramble was attached to.  To be honest, Adonis looks like he’s been in the jungle, with lots of scratches, spots and now a wound for good measure, on both legs!

Chalets at Sanguinet lake beach