Monthly Archives: February 2012

Neung-sur-Beuvron, Wednesday, 17th August 2011


Lots of space at Neung-sur-Beuvron campsite


Back in this wonderful municipal campsite.  We had a lovely hot evening last night and really enjoyed Moules Marinière and salmon with garlic and rosemary.  We got up early this morning and left aire at 9.15 am.  We had a quick stop to buy baguette and made it here for 11 am.  I did a lot of washing (€4, which included tumble drier), had a shower and relaxed until lunchtime.





It rained heavily after lunch and we had a siesta.  Wifi is free here and I’ve just checked my FB messages, etc.  It will be nice to catch up with the news later on, as we’ve been unable to get a British paper.  Have the riots ended yet?


Enjoying a swim in campsite grounds

Adonis cycled into town and bought me Marie France magazine, so I look forward to reading that.  I’ve also started reading ‘The Memory Game’ by Nicci French and I am enjoying that too.

Hear the peace and quiet!

‘House Rules’ by Jodie Picoult was excellent, but I did guess the end!  Cooking pork chops and chips tonight and tomorrow we’re hoping to have a relaxing time in campsite and maybe cycle to town.

Long dog walk


Enjoying the sun (taken Easter 2010)


Les Bordes, Tuesday 16th August 2011


Shady motorhome aire at Les Bordes


It’s been a long drive today and we didn’t stop for the overnight stay until 3.30 pm, so we were a bit tired when we finally arrived.  It’s a lovely aire with shade, free water, a small lake and a good dog walk.  I think we’ll enjoy our stay here, especially as it’s central France and the weather is very good indeed: 30 °C in the shade!







yesterday we found a superb spot at Lac D’Orient, just 20 km east of Troyes.  We were right on the dge of the lake, with

Wild Camping at Lac D'Orient

some marsh land with loads of wagtails and just a few meters away from the sandy beach, cafes and toilets, although Ididn’t use those as they were the stand-up variety, which I find very uncomfortable.  We were facing south and had the sun all day, since we arrived at about 11 am.  We had usual rest and beer, lunch, nap and dog walk along foot and cycle track towards Lac du Temple, but I found this path too busy with too many bikes that spoilt the tranquility of the woods.







Sandy beach at Lac D'Orient


I cooked some pork loins marinated in ‘Masai’ sauce, which were delicious, and served it with couscous.  It was a beautiful hot evening with a gorgeous sunset and we stayed out till about 9 pm.

Bird watching at Lac D'Orient

When we got up this morning, Adonis noticed the official van taking pictures, so we assumed they were checking who was parked there and for how long, so we decided to move on.  I must mention now that there is an official aire about 100 meters away from here, but it’s not right on the shore and it was a bit too cramped for our liking.

Sandy beach at Lac D'Orient


Perfect for dogs to cool down.

This morning we headed for supermarkets on the Troyes ringroad, following the D619 and D610 and we got a bit muddled with exits 17a and 17b looking for Geant at Barbery.  We took the wrong exit and had to go all the way round again.  We did our shopping and trying to get back on course proved also difficult as it was a one-way road and had to drive about 5 km before being able to turn around.  We finally joined the N77 before St Florentin, Joigny and Sépaux, where there’s supposed to be a lake or étang, but we couldn’t see it from the road and must have missed a turning, so we stopped for lunch at Château Renard for an hour before carrying on through small D roads to join the D961 again at Thimory, passing Lorris and finally here, to the lovely little aire by the lake.

Beautiful dog walk around lake at Les Bordes


We had a quick beer and took Bramble for a walk through the woods.  I spotted a fishing area for Adonis and he’s going to have a go now!

Perfect for fishing too at Les Bordes




I am cooking salmon tonight.


Giffaumont-Champoubert, Sunday 14th August 2011


Motorhome aire at Giffaumont-Champoubert



On the Lac du Der Chantecoq, by the sailing school.  It’s a lovely place with a sandy beach and good swimming spots, but so far we’ve been unable to find the facilities to empty the chemical toilet or fill up with water.






It’s been a very warm and mainly dry day, with just a shower on the way here and some drizzle just now.  We got to the lake at around 11 am, but we couldn’t find a wild place to stop for the night, so we had to come to this very busy aire, we had coffee and then lunch, siesta, walk with Bramble, swim in the lake, beer and I’ve just been for a long walk across the bridge to the other side by the church erected to remember the 3 villages that were swallowed by the lake.


The bridge at Giffaumont-Champoubert

We’d stay here another night, but the lack of facilities is a problem and we might try the north side of the lake tomorrow at Ste Marie du Lac Nuisement, and if we don’t like it, we’ll move south west towards Troges and Joigny on the riverYonne.

Sandy beach at Giffaumont-Champoubert


Sandy beach at Giffaumont-Champoubert


Sandy beach at Giffaumont-Champoubert




The bridge on the lake at Giffaumont-Champoubert


Pont-à-Mousson, Saturday 13th August 2011


Motorhome aire at Pont a Mousson - La Moselle


Back in France.  After a good look at Germany’s weather forecast, we decided to head back to France, where it looked better, so we set off this morning at about 9.30 am and only stopped at Trier for a coffee.  The aire had been taken over by a car-boot sale and we had to stop at a huge car park that wasn’t very welcoming, so we carried on the A1 down south, through Luxembourg and into France.

We made very good time and made it here for 1 pm, with a quick stop at Match supermarket, just outside the town, which proved very adequate, with a good choice of fresh meat, fish and vegetables, as well as a fresh bakery.  We stocked up on essentials and arrived in aire before 2 pm and quickly set up for lunch.



After Bramble’s walk and swim in the Moselle, we went for a walk in the town, with a visit to the beautiful Gothic church of St Martin, whose exterior is riddled with WWII bullets and where there’s a magnificent sculpture of the burial of Christ surrounded by 12 other people and overseen by 8 angels hanging from the ceiling of the niche.  I’ve never seen so much detail in a sculpture before and I particularly loved the hair and beards, with all the curls and hairlines.  It dated back to the early 15th century and it just makes you feel very humble.

St Martin's church at Pont a Mousson

Bullet riddled exterior of St Martin's church













After that, we crossed the new bridge built after the original was destroyed in WWII and Adonis bought some bait for his fishing, so he’s happy now despise the fact I got slightly annoyed when he obliviously went merrily on his way leaving me  behind while I was taking pictures.  I really had to make a run for it to catch up with him and it was hot!

Detailed sculpture of the Burial of Christ










The angels hanging for the ceiling in niche


We’ve just had a nice beer and I’m going to cook fresh trout with new potatoes and we have raspberry tart for dessert.

We are off to a lake further south tomorrow.  We must remember this aire for future reference, as for €7 we get free electricity, water, WC and hot showers and it’s right by the Moselle, with lovely views of the town and loads of swans on the river bank.





Pont a Mousson - Mosel


Pont a Mousson - Mosel


Pont a Mousson - Mosel


Pont a Mousson - Mosel

Bremm, Mosel Valley, Friday 12th August 2011


We followed the Rhine north towards Koblenz and then crossed west just north of Rhens towards Waldesch and Dieblich.  We then carried on down the east side of the Mosel to Treis-Karden on the B49, where we crossed the bridge and carried on south passing Klotten, Cochem and Eller before arriving at Bremm.


This is another first class aire, with electricity and a toilet and shower block.  It was sunny when we left Bacharach this morning, but we’ve had a couple of showers this afternoon.  Still, I took Bramble for a long walk through the pretty village with immaculate front gardens and down the Mosel.  I didn’t even mind the rain, although it stopped soon after we started our walk




Both Adonis and I had a shower at €1 each and then connected to the internet.  I’ve been on Facebook and Twitter and managed to post some pictures of the last few days.

Some interesting pole somewhere on the road

On the road to the Mosel













The weather’s going to turn for the worst, so we might move back to France earlier than expected, but are thinking about staying here tomorrow for the wine festival!

I spoke to Pepo on Skype earlier: he’s happy and well and busy cooking.  It can only be good for him and I am very proud.






St Nicolas d’Aliermont, Wednesday 15th February 2012


Rouen' Cathedral


Today has been a bit of a frustrating day.  We left Jumièges at 9.15 and followed Les Boucles de la Seine on the D65 and D982 to Rouen, where we found easy access and free parking right on the quay of the river Seine, within walking distance of the cathedral that we so much wanted to visit and the main reason of our journey here, to admire Richard the Lionheart’s eponymous heart and the tomb of the Viking king Rollo.






The approach to the old city centre was very pleasant, lined with old half-timbered houses among the modern buildings.  I took lots of pictures all the way, including the big barges on the river, the old streets and the first glimpses of the cathedral, its exterior and façade.  But when we tried to enter the said building, there was a notice on the door saying that there would be an ‘exceptional’ closure of the cathedral on Tuesday14th and Wednesday 15th February.  I couldn’t believe my rotten luck.  Of all the days in the year when it could have closed, after all the times we just travelled past this city saying ‘next time we’ll stop and visit it’, it had to be TODAY!  Today of all days, when we are actually here!

Buildings approaching the Cathedral


After this major disappointment, we decided to visit the Old Market Place, where poor Joan of Arc was burned alive and where an amazingly shaped church has been built in her honour.  We followed the Rue du Gros-Horloge (Big Clock), admired the arch gate and gold-plated clock and arrived at this most charming square, surrounded by stunning half-timbered houses.  We paid our respects on the spot whre Joan of Arc was martyred, marked with a plaque and a 20 meter-high cross, but couldn’t visit the inside of the church as there was a funeral in progress: more rotten luck.

Rouen's half-timbered houses



We had a lovely coffee served in dainty dishes in a café facing the church and market, bought a baguette and Tarte Normande and walked back to motorhome along the Seine.


Rouen's half-timbered houses


It was an easy and quick exit out of Rouen and we took the A28 northeast past Neufchatel by junction 9 and onto the D1314 to Bailleul-Neuville, where we wanted to make use of our France Passion membership and stop at the wild boar and deer farm of Ferme du Grémonval, but the access there was too muddy and difficult due to the melting snow and again our intentions were thwarted for the third time in one morning.  We quickly had to decide where to stop for lunch and the rest of the day and decided to head west toward Dieppe, past Londinières and on to the D920 to Envermeu and finally D56 southwest here.

Joan of Arc's Church


This aire is situated by a car park near the industrial estate, but at least it has free water and wifi connection, so we’ve topped up the water tank and checked our e-mails.  The internet is a bit slow, but it was good to keep up with what’s going on with friends and family.





The Old Market Square

Adonis’s been trying to seal a leak on the bathroom sink, as water keeps dripping into cupboard below.  We might need to replace the entire unit, as cracks keep getting bigger.


The place of Joan of Arc's martyrdom


Joan of Arc's martyrdom spot

Tomorrow we’ll head for Boulogne-sur-Mer to do our big shop at Auchan before returning home and then we’ll drive to Wissant’s aire to spend the night and have easy access to the Channel Tunnel terminal.

The Gros Horloge

We’ll be back at Easter!

Rouen's cathedral



The River Seine at Rouen


Jumièges, Tuesday 14th February 2012


Jumièges, Regional Parc de Brotonne

We are at the aire and cark park by the Base de Loisirs du Parc Regional de Brotonne on Les Boucles de La Seine Normande.  It’s very well kept and it has hedges deviding the various pitches for a bit of privacy, even though we are the only ones here.  The only drawback is that there is no water supply this time of year and even the tops of the taps in the washing-up block have been taken off.

In fact, We haven’t been very lucky in the water department today.   We tried to top up our water tank at Broglie’s aire this morning, but the jeton (token) got stuck in the slot on the machine and it wouldn’t start the water supply.  Adonis tried to dislodge it using a sharp knife, but to no avail.  We were a bit annoyed that we had wasted our  €2.50 for nothing and Adonis covered the slot with masking tape to prevent other users from wasting their money too.  Hopefully the maintenance people will see it and fix it soon.



We started our way back north on the D438 to Bourgtheroulde-Infreville, where we  joined the D313 northwest to Le Pont de Brotonne to cross to the east side of the river Seine.  We stopped briefly at La Mailleraye-sur-Seine to try our luck with the water, but once again, after  using another €2.50 jeton, which actually dropped in this time, the water failed to flow again.  We were really annoyed at this for wasting €5 in total trying to top us our supply of the essential mineral and feel these machines should be better maintained in the winter or just close them altogether instead of making people waste their hard-earned money this way.  We don’t know if this cold weather has frozen the water or the pipes, as we don’t think the supply would have been cut off, as the aire is supposed to be open and ready for use all year round.




So angry and frustrated, we stopped at a nearby Lidl and I bought 6  2-litre bottles of mineral water for €1.12, which should be plenty for 2 days.

It’s warming up now and the snow is beginning to melt, but I’d rather keep buying bottled water than wasting our jetons:  we’ll save them for the Easter holidays.  I wouldn’t normally buy bottled water, as it goes against my environmentally-friendly principals, but this was an emergency and couldn’t be helped.


We are hoping to drive into Rouen first thing in the morning to visit the cathedral and then we’ll head up northwest again.

I’d like to mention that the ‘Memory Foam’ mattress we bought to go on top of the overhead bed mattress really works a treat and we are both sleeping much better and are not suffering from backache any more.

Parking at aire at Jumièges

Broglie, Monday 13th February 2012




Amazingly, this place is even more stunning in the snow.  We are used to seeing it in the sun, with the well-kept lawns, but it certainly hasn’t lost anything in this unusual cold spell, quite the opposite.

It snowed heavily for a while last night and then it turned into rain.  In the end, our neighbour didn’t leave: he was just emptying his water tank, then another one arrived late in the evening and, when we got up this morning, there were 2 more, so ‘ The Hollywood of the Atlantic Coast’ wasn’t just for us after all!




We felt tired and went to bed just after 8 pm last night, after watching another episode of the 2nd series of ‘The West Wing’ and didn’t get up until 8.30 this morning.  The Gendarmes came to check we had a ticket as I was tidying up ready for departure and Adonis was out walking Bramble and, after the usual chores, we set off at the late hour of 9.45 am on the D939 to Étaples, where we did a small shop for groceries and wine at Carrefour Market.  We then joined the A16 motorway south to Abbeville (€7.10) and then the A28 to Rouen, the E402/46 past Oissel and west to junction 24 to join the D438 past Bernay and finally here for 2 pm.



The whole way and countryside were covered in snow, which surprised me this far south and west.  We’ve just made an appointment with the vet at Broglie so that we don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the journey.  It’s a good thing that the law has changed in that respect and pets can have their worming tablets 5 days before the journey back to G.B. and there’s no need for the spot-on flea treatment, which makes it a lot cheaper too (€38 last time, compared to €50 previously).





Quaint water mill at Broglie


I really enjoyed my long walk in the snow with Bramble along the Charentonne river, past the quaint water mill and charming houses on the hill overlooking the river.  I took losts of pictures again, as I was completely bowled over by the sheer beauty of the place.

Earlier on the caretakers of the aire came by to try to clear the snow off the pitches with shovels, but they gave up after a while.  They came back later to collect the €5 fee for the overnight stay and I also bought some jetons (tokens) for the water machine (€2.50 each) as you never know when you’re going to need them.




Woods walk at Broglie

Easy meal tonight of burger and chips.  Tomorrow after vet we will try and wash the van, as it got filthy in the snow.  We’ll then drive up north again towards the Seine, to Jumièges aire, and the Rouen itself to visit the cathedral, which I’ve been wanting to do for some time.

walk near aire at Broglie











Houses near Charentonne river


The Charentonne river bank


Aire at Broglie in the snow

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, Sunday 12th February 2012


We are parked in the snow at the aire by the Sailing Club on the coldest day by far we’ve been in the motorhome.

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage motorhome aire in the snow



It’s funny to see it so empty and quiet – there is only one other motorhome next to us – as last time we came here at Easter 2011, it was chock-a-block with RVs, even down the road, parked like sardines.  There were quite a few people walking earlier on, but they’ve all left now, as it’s getting late in the afternoon and it will be dark within one hour or so.





We’ve just been for a very pleasant walk on the sand dunes and it seemed almost surreal to see them covered in snow.  Once again, we got carried away taking pictures, but it is such an unusual sight, that one feels compelled to catch and immortalise the moment.

Snowy sand dunes at Le Touquet-Paris-Plage


We got up very early this morning (6.30 am) in order to catch the 11.20 am crossing to Calais from Folkestone.  We left the house at 8.15 am, after filling up with water and packing last minute items.  It was too cold to leave the water in the tank last night, as we didn’t want to risk it freezing and wrecking the water tank or pipes.  We made very good time and arrived in Folkestone at 10.40, but the train was delayed by 20 minutes and we finally arrived in Calais at 1.1 5 pm local time.

Snowy sand dunes at Le Touquet-Paris-Plage





We didn’t feel like driving too far and, as it was snowing and the roads were covered in the white stuff and ice, we just settled for Le Touquet and were here just after 2.30pm.  I felt very tired and went straight for a siesta, while Adonis took Bramble for a walk in the snow.





I am really enjoying the peace and quiet here.  It looks like our neighbours are getting ready to depart, so we might well be the only ones camping here tonight.  Imagine that:  The only campers at Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, the Hollywood of the Atlantic Coast!:  That’s definitely one for the books.

Snowy sand dunes at Le Touquet-Paris-Plage

Snowy sand dunes at Le Touquet-Paris-Plage










This aire costs €9.50 for the night, plus €2 for 100 litres of water and electricity hook-up for 1 hour, which we don’t need as batteries are fully charged and water tank full.  I must note here that the Gendarmes come to check that you have a parking ticket!!!

Bramble chasing his ball on the snow.


Le Touquet-Paris-Plage


Just like the Alps


Le Touquet-Paris-Plage

Bacharach, Thursday 11th August 2011


The Rhine


It’s been an easy drive following the road north along the Rhine, so we arrived here for mid-morning coffee and cake and are parked on the Stellplatz facility right by the river: an excellent position.








Bacharach is the most beautiful little town I have ever seen with loads of timbered houses of different colours and styles, the likes of which I have never seen before.  It is just like a fairy tale, very well looked after and pristine clean.  There are surprisingly few tourists here, but there’s about 20 vans on the aire, which cost €7 a night, as we didn’t bother with electric hook-up.  Still a bargain when you consider the position we are in and there is a campsite just a few meters down the road.

Bacharach's timbered houses

It is nice to watch the pleasure boats going up and down the river and it reminds me a bit of the river Seine, but it’s bigger.  I suspect this is one of the best spots to stay on the Rhine and I am glad we found it.  Tomorrow we’ll move on to our first stop on the Mosel river.

Bacharach's fairy-tale-like houses

The Youth Hostel at Bacharach













I’ve been souvenir hunting, but came back empty-handed as they were either too tacky or too expensive, but I went round the ruined priory and followed the walk up the steep hill to the amazing Youth Hostel, with marvellous views of Bacharach from above, as well as the river.  Shame I didn’t take camera (as I wasn’t expecting to do this at all, for I found walk by accident), so I couldn’t take pictures of rooftops, etc.

One of Bacharach's old gates

An old bridge at Bacharach












The journey down was a bit precarious and I was worried I might twist my ankle yet again, but I made it back in one piece!













Cooking chili con carne tonight!











I just love this sign