We were here at the end of December last year and we’re glad to be back at this charming aire by the river Sarthe in the summer. It was quite full when we arrived last night at around 5 pm, but many of the motorhomes left by 10 am this morning. It’s still only €3 a day with electric hook-up, but we’re a bit too far from the electricity supply stand, so we’re running on gas.
It’s also very pleasant to see the pleasure boats moored at the landing stage, especially the ones decorated with hanging baskets and flower pots: I wonder if the owners live in them permanently or just for the summer holidays. Either way, it looks like a beautiful way to travel too and I wouldn’t mind having a go in one travelling along the canals and rivers.
We finally stayed at the tranquil Bords de Vienne campsite at L’Île Bouchard for 3 days as it’s just perfect for us, with lots of shade, a handy supervised beach on the river, clean facilities, free wifi and a Super U supermarket and other handy shops just outside the camping. It only cost €21 a day including the electricity hook-up, so all in all, it’s very good value for money.
We left the campsite yesterday morning to visit Château Saumur, just under 40 kms northwest of L’Île Bouchard. As usual, the main road D760 between L’Île Bouchard and Chinon was closed and we had to follow the diversion signs south toward Richelieu on the D757 and cut across country back onto the D749 main road and D751 to Saumur.
We found a nice shady car park by the river Loire, just 10 minutes’ walk form the Château and strolled there for our visit. The château is a very impressive fairy-tale-like building on the outside and it’s now a museum for beautiful sets of fine china of various designs and origins, medieval wood-carvings, tapestries and even a collection of taxidermy rare animals, including a huge sturgeon caught in the river Loire.
There was a show going on in the château grounds which ran 3 times a day at 11 am, 3 pm and 5 pm, but we made the most of the peace and quiet inside the building before the crowds arrived after the show.
The views of the town and the river are impressive and we took lots of photos of these stunning views.
Something else that was very curious as we were driving along the Loire were the Troglodyte caves hollowed out in the chalky cliffs where wine is stored these days.
After our visit we intended to stop for the night at the Base de Loisirs of the Retenue de Pincemaille in Rillé, like we did at Easter in 2011, but there was a height barrier at the entrance of the fishing area and we had to park a few metres down the road, which wasn’t very handy for fishing purposes, but pleasant enough for lunch. So, yet again, we had to swallow our disappointment and choose a different place to stop for the rest of the day and after lunch we decided to drive up north to La Suthe-sur-Sarthe, which wasn’t very straight forward from Rillé, following various national, regional and country roads. Still, I was very pleased with my navigating skills and got us here without any wrong turns or getting lost in any way. Who needs SatNav when I am on the map?
We’re going to stay here tonight as well for Adonis to enjoy a spot of fishing again and tomorrow we’ll be heading for Beaumont-sur-Sarthe, where there is a municipal campsite, between Le Mans and Alenҫon on the D338, so it shouldn’t take too long to get there.