Monthly Archives: September 2013

Camping Lac de Carouge, St Pierre d’Albigny, Savoie, Friday 2nd August 2013

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Lac de Carouge

Stunning  Lac de Carouge

 

 It is hard to believe we’ve been going for 4 weeks already! But it’s wonderful to think we still have another 4 to go!!! Yipeeee!

 

Enjoying a meal with John and Julie

Enjoying a meal with John and Julie at Lathuile

 

We spent 3 days at the aire in Lathuile in the end, as Julie and John texted us saying they were coming that way too and we thought it would be wonderful to see them again. They arrived on Wednesday afternoon, so we enjoyed a couple of days in their company and had dinner with them last night.

 

Quaint and beautiful Annecy

Quaint and beautiful Annecy

 

Stunning Annecy

Stunning Annecy

 

Yesterday morning, we took the bus from outside camping le Polé to Annecy for only €3.50 each and just 35 minutes ride. We had a marvellous morning and lunch in that picturesque town, with its canals, old bridges , houses and charming streets, full of just about every kind of shop and restaurant to tempt you inside. We were very happy just to stroll around town, through the gardens and by the lake before enjoying a beer in one of the many café-bars, followed by lunch at the very popular Le Pont Morens, where we had the local speciality of Tarteflette, made of boiled potatoes, bacon and cheese sauce, and a quiche, accompanied by wine ‘de la maison’.

 

Quaint and beautiful Annecy

Quaint and beautiful Annecy

 

As the buses back to Lathuile were not very frequent, we opted for the 2.15 back (the next one was after 5 pm!) and went back to the lake for a swim.

 

Quaint and beautiful Annecy

Quaint and beautiful Annecy

 

Soon after we got back to the motorhome aire, Julie and John arrived from their cycle ride to Annecy (just over an hour) and enjoyed the rest of the evening with them.

 

Annecy

Annecy

 

Annecy

Annecy

 

This morning, we had a bit of a problem with our awning as it would not shut properly on the left (front of van) side, so we had to fiddle with it for a while until it was more or less acceptably shut, but this is something we must look into properly a.s.a.p.

 

Annecy

Annecy

 

A different way to get around in Annecy

A different way to get around in Annecy

 

So we said goodbye again to J & J through FB, Motorhome Facts Forum, and other social media and set off to Albertville on the D1508 and D1212 to stock up on supplies. From there, it was just a short drive south west on D1090 to St Pierre d’Albigny. We were here for 11.30 am, early enough for a swim in this much cooler lake de Carouge, but very soothing still in this heat (35 ºC today). We were lucky again to find a pitch in the shade and the campsite is nice and quiet with direct access to the lake and wonderful and clean shower and washing facilities, as we have been accustomed to. It cost us ₤25 for the night, with electricity, to be paid in advance.

 

The cooling Lac de Carouge

 Enjoying a swim at the cooling Lac de Carouge

 

Tomorrow, we are hoping to go to a France Passion cherry farm south west of here, between Grenoble and Valence, and we’ll be using the motorway (E70/A41) for an easy drive.

 

 

Our shaded and generous pitch at Camping Lac de Carouge

Our shaded and generous pitch at Camping Lac de Carouge

 

 

Lathuile, Lac Annecy, Haute Savoie, Tuesday 30th July 2013

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The beautiful view from Lathuile Motorhone aire

The beautiful view from Lathuile Motorhone aire

 

 

We didn’t make it to Hauteville-Lompness as we had planned simply because it was too hot to try that hill and it seemed more sensible to head for the lakes instead. So we set the Tomtom for Le Bourget-du-Lac and we got there for 11.30am, with plenty of time to enjoy a swim and a cold beer before lunch.

 

Camp International l'Ile des Cygnes

Camping International de l’Ile aux Cygnes

 

The motorhome aire at Bourget-du-Lac, just north of Chambery, is right outside the Camping International de L’IIe aux Cygnes and we paid 21 for 2 nights, with full access to the campsite facilities, including the lake and and free wifi. The system operates by card payment in advance and you get a gate code for going in and out. The pitches are of a reasonable size (big enough to get the awning out) and they are separated by logs screwed onto the ground. We were lucky to park under a tree, which provided welcome and much needed shade.

 

The motorhome aire outside Camping International de l'Ile aux Cygnes

The motorhome aire outside Camping International de l’Ile aux Cygnes

 

It was very hot when we arrived and we enjoyed several swims in the lake throughout the day, but in the evening the storm approached through the mountains, accompanied by heavy rain, which didn’t stop until lunchtime the following day. There was one particular clap of thunder that was right above us in the night which shook the van and made me sit up in bed, as it felt like a bomb had gone off nearby. Fortunately, the storm moved away, if not the rain, and I eventually fell asleep sometime in the wee hours of the morning.

 

Enjoying the sun at Lac de Bourget before the storm

Enjoying the sun at Lac de Bourget before the storm

 

Before the storm, however, we met a lovely couple from Manchester, Julie and John, and had a very pleasant evening chatting, drinking and swapping experiences with them.

 

Part of the Marina at Lac de Bourget

Part of the Marina at Lac du Bourget

 

As it was such a wet morning yesterday, I took the opportunity to catch up with my FB friends and family, as well as checking my mail and Twitter messages.

 

The gardens at the Abbey at Bourget du Lac

The gardens at the Priory at Bourget du Lac

 

The Priory Gardens, Bourget du Lac

The relaxing Priory Gardens, Bourget du Lac

 

The weather improved in the afternoon and we went for a stroll around the town of Bourget-du-Lac and visited the priory and Thomas II Chateau, which at one point, from 1438 to 1456, belonged to the Seyssel family, of local renown and power! Are we related to this family? One can only speculate…

 

Thomas II Chateau, which belonged to the Seysell family for a few years before fire

Thomas II Chateau, which was entrusted to the Seysselfamily for a few years before fire struck

 

Chateau entrusted to the Seyssel family until fire struck

Chateau entrusted to the Seyssel family until fire struck

 

Mr Saysell at the Seyssel Chateau

Mr Saysell at the Seyssel Chateau

 

The views from Thomas II chateau

The views from Thomas II chateau

 

After enjoying the beauty and tranquillity of Lac du Bourget for 2 days and saying goodbye to Julie and John, we left this morning for Lac Annecy. We were planning to stay at the campsite Les Rives du Lac at Sévrier, but it was full, so we kept driving around the lake until we found something suitable, so here we are at this motorhome aire at Lathuile (190 Route de la Porte, 74210), an organic farm just by Bout du Lac, or end of the lake, on the far south shore of Lac Annecy, and very nice it is too! We have water, electricity and plenty of shade under the oak trees, with a short stroll of just over 5 minutes to the lake itself. It costs 8 per night, plus €2 for electricity, collected by the farmer, Michèle Cavagnod, at around 7.30pm.

 

The motorhome aire at Lathuile, Bout du Lac, Lac Annecy

The motorhome aire at Lathuile, Bout du Lac, Lac Annecy.  Plenty of shade here.

 

We might stay here more than one night before heading south again, slowly making our way to Provence.

 

St André-sur-Vieux Jonc, Ain Department, Saturday 27th July 2013

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Although we didn’t plan it this way, this has turned out to be the Holiday of the ‘Wine Routes’.

 

Following the Wine Routes.  Chardonnay grapes

Following the Wine Routes. Chardonnay grapes

 

After enjoying an afternoon walk around the vineyards at Merceuil and our Frankfurters with a cool Bourgogne Rouge in the evening, we carried on south the following morning on the D19 to Calon-sur-Saône, the N6 past Tournus and the D56 slightly south west to the motorhome aire at Lugny, travelling through beautiful Chardonnay country and the Chardonnay village itself, where the wine gets its name from.

 

Passing through Chardonnay

Passing through Chardonnay

 

It was an easy drive and we were there before 11am, which is a good thing, as travelling in the middle of the day in this heat is very unwise. The motorhome aire at Lugny is just outside a very simple and cheap campsite, with loads of shade, so we opted for the latter, as the former was in full-on sun and not really very sensible this time of year, and for the sake of €10 for the campsite it really was a non-brainer decisions.

 

Our shady spot at camping de Lugny only €10 a night.

Our shady spot at camping de Lugny only €10 a night.

 

After lunch, we walked down the hill to explore Lugny itself and ended up at the local Chardonnay Visitors’ Centre and wine tasting shop, totally unplanned, of course! Being unable to decide which variety we enjoyed the most, we settled on a selection of 6 different bottles, which we intend to take back home to England if we don’t succumb to temptation in the next 5 weeks.

 

Enjoying the views over Chardonnay country

Enjoying the views over Chardonnay country

 

View from the road outside Lugny campsite

View from the road outside Lugny campsite

 

The Chardonnay Visitors' Centre at Lugny

The Chardonnay Visitors’ Centre at Lugny

 

We really enjoyed the extremely quiet and cool campsite at Lugny and the fact that there was nobody at the Reception hut to book customers in, relying on people’s honesty once again to put their money for their stay in the envelopes provided, to be inserted in the postbox by hut, just like with the wine the night before at the France Passion site in Merceuil. I just love this laid-back and trusting attitude of the local folk in this part of eastern France.

 

A heavy walk back to campsite after purchasing our wine

A heavy walk back through vineyards to campsite after purchasing our wine

 

 

There was a storm in the night which seemed quite strong and intense for a few minutes, but which I believe sadly heavily damaged some of the vineyards around Beaune, where we’d been the night before, and I understand that the damage could run into thousands of euros in this area that produces some of the finest wines in the world!  What a shame!  I do hope they’ll be able to make up for it somehow.

 

Cluny

Cluny

 

On Wednesday morning, 24th July and Adonis’s birthday, we paid a visit to the historic town of Cluny, following the D82/D15 slightly south west, where we visited the famous Benedictine Abbey and walked around the old streets.  Amazing to think that the monks here had so much power they practically ruled Europe for centuries in the Middle Ages.

 

The Benedictine Abbey at Cluny

The Benedictine Abbey at Cluny

 

From a different angle

From a different angle

 

 

And another angle

And another angle

 

We left Cluny late in the morning for our short drive to Cormoranche-sur-Saône in the Ain Department, about 4 miles south of Macon, as we had been quite impressed with the campsite/base de loisirs here last year. Once again, we really enjoyed the cooling lake for swimming, fishing and rowing our boat and there are, of course, lots of entertainment for young families, including the huge inflatable castles of various shapes and descriptions.

 

The lake beach at Cormoranche-sur-Saone

The lake beach at Cormoranche-sur-Saone with children’s entertainment in the background

 

We had intended to stay 5 nights, but unfortunately, this time round it turned out to be quite noisy in the evening, first with our ‘neighbours’ talking and laughing until the wee hours in the morning, then a duo playing and singing on the beach until 11.30pm and last night a disco that went on till midnight. Although we appreciate that some people enjoy this type of entertainment in a campsite, it is not what we really look for whilst camping, so being Saturday today, we thought they might have another noisy ‘soirée’ and we voted on making a move. The 3 nights here cost us €62: not bad for high season.

 

Beach and larger lake at Cormoranche-sur-Saone

Beach and larger lake at Cormoranche-sur-Saone

 

Sailing and pedal boats at Cormoranche-sur-Saone

Sailing and pedal boats at Cormoranche-sur-Saone

 

An unexpected visitor in the evening at Cormoranche-sur-Saone

An unexpected visitor in the evening at Cormoranche-sur-Saone

 

 

After doing a quick shop at Super U in Pont-de-Veyle, we headed for the lakes a bit further south east on D2.  We first tried Parc des Oiseaux by Villars-les-Dombes, but couldn’t wild camp there and we didn’t fancy another campsite, so we tried other lakes around the area with no success, as parking wasn’t available. As it was almost lunchtime, we decided to head north again on D1083 to this aire just south of Bourg-en-Bresse, which has proved to be just right for us, with shade under the trees and a water supply with a hose, which I’ve just used to have a cold shower to cool off a bit. It’s still 34 °C inside the motorhome in the shade.

 

The free aire at St André-sur-Vieux Jonc

The free aire at St André-sur-Vieux Jonc

 

This aire is free with free water and emptying facilities, but no electricity; the bays are clearly separated by grassy patches and bushes and have gravel pitches: not bad at all!

 

We’re going to try another France Passion site tomorrow at Hauteville-Lompness before heading for the lake at Aix-les-Bains in the Savoie Department.

Domaine Dury, Merceuil, Côte d’Or, Monday 22nd July 2013

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Domaine Dury France Passion site, Merceuil. Motorhomes between hedges in background

Domaine Dury France Passion site, Merceuil. Motorhomes between hedges in background

 

What a find this is! Probably the best France Passion site we’ve been to so far, and they’ve all been pretty good. There are 4 pitches with electricity divided by hedges, water and wifi provided for free. There’s also a hut with a fridge where they sell their various Burgundy wines from and buyers can leave their money in an envelope with their names, emails, etc written on it, which, of course, we have done. Don’t you just love this kind of trust?

 

Enjoying a nice bottle for lunch

Enjoying a nice bottle for lunch in the much needed shade

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

 

We have bought one bottle of Meursault and one of Bourgogne Rouge 2007, which we have already enjoyed for lunch and we really loved the lightness and subtlety of flavour. We are saving the Meursault for Adonis’s birthday on Wednesday.

 

Buying delicious wines from Visitors' hut at Domaine Dury

Buying delicious wines from Visitors’ hut at Domaine Dury

Out pitch surrounded by hedges and large enough for awning.

Out pitch surrounded by hedges and large enough for awning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been very hot today (35 °C in the motorhome in the shade), so we have spent a lot of time in the ‘cooler’ visitors’ hut using the free wifi service and the large table provided. We have also taken advantage of the hose provided to enjoy a couple of much needed cold showers: a real luxury.

 

Helpful sign

Helpful sign

 

There is even a barbecue available and we are tempted to use it for our Frankfurters tonight! What else do you need?

This is definitely a place to come back to and no doubt we will!

 

Burgundy vineyard

Burgundy vineyard

 

Lac de Panthier Camping, Vandenesse-en-Auxois, Côte d’Or, Sunday 21st July 2013

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Lac de Panthier camping

Lac de Panthier camping – Restaurant area

 

 

We have spent 3 very sunny and hot days at this strategically placed campsite ‘with a view’, about 24 miles west of Dijon (Lat 47º 14′ 12” N Long 4º 37′ 40” E). Our very large pitch, No 14, is about 20 meters from the lake beach and amongst the trees, so we have also enjoyed some welcome shade in the heat of the day.

 

Our generous pitch, a stone-throw away from the lake

Our generous pitch, a stone-throw away from the lake

 

Enjoying a paella on our generous pitch so near the lake

Enjoying a paella on our generous pitch so near the lake

 

 

 

Our pitch seen from the lake beach

Camping seen from the lake beach

 

We arrived late on Friday evening after deciding that the parking place at Lac de Liez by Langres wasn’t really appropriate as it didn’t have any shade at all, so we left after lunch, a rest and a swim at 3 pm.

 

Lac de Liez

Lac de Liez

 

 

Again, we have enjoyed some relaxing time swimming, fishing and rowing in the lake and early this morning, just after breakfast, I went on a cycle ride around the lake before the day got too hot. It’s a beautiful ride, which took me just ½ hour, including a few stops to take pictures of the wonderful views all the way round.

 

Views of lake taken during morning cycle ride

Views of lake taken during morning cycle ride

 

Views of lake taken during morning cycle ride

Views of lake taken during morning cycle ride

 

Views around lake taken during morning cycle ride

Views around lake taken during morning cycle ride

 

Views of lake taken during morning cycle ride

Views of lake taken during morning cycle ride

 

 

This site has a shop, a restaurant, an indoor pool (which I made good use of first thing in the morning), a sauna and a fitness room with cycling machines, all included in the price, although I have to say that being so hot outdoors, I don’t really feel like a sauna, but other people were using it. There is also, of course, fishing in the lake and Adonis has been making the most of it, even if he has to walk to the far side of it. I think that, all in all, the daily price of 28 for us in the height of the season with all those facilities provided is very reasonable and I am more than happy to pay for it.

 

Adonis baiting the lake for his fishing sessions

Adonis baiting the lake for his fishing sessions

 

 

Attractive children's play area at camping Lac de Panthier

Attractive children’s play area at camping Lac de Panthier

 

 

Being Sunday afternoon, it’s very busy on the lake right now and we had a bit of a drama earlier on when an ambulance and helicopter were called to assist someone on the beach. I don’t know exactly what happened, as I was happily crocheting away outside our van with my back to the beach, when I suddenly saw a few people coming over to our pitch looking at the lake. Then I heard the paramedics shouting for people to evacuate the beach to make room for the helicopter and I saw another paramedic performing CPR on someone near the water with all the holidaymakers and day-trippers standing on the side of the road or, in our case, from the campsite, as it is higher up and commanded a better view. I think the person in need of help must have been all right in the end, as I also saw the paramedics holding a drip bag above him/her for a while and they all left with a smile and everyone rushed to the beach again.

 

our van high up above lake and under the trees

our van high up above lake and under the trees

 

We followed the Tomtom out of Corre on Friday morning, deciding to take us on the ‘interregional’ and less congested road (yellow on our Michelin atlas) on the D44 to Fay-la-Forêt and the N19 to Langres, where we visited the market and had a stroll in the old town. We then headed for the lake for lunch and a swim, but decided to try our luck with a better parking space at Reservoir de Charmes, but that didn’t work out either. After consulting the camping guide, Adonis chose this 4* site and we have been very happy with his choice, especially after arriving all hot and bothered at 6 pm on Friday evening.

 

Quaint Langres with summer Fete decorations

Quaint Langres with summer Fete decorations

 

 

As we are in the heart of Burgandy (or Bourgogne), we are planning to stay at one of the many France Passion sites in the area, so we’re heading towards Beaune and we also plan to visit Cluny. We might then spend a few days at the lovely campsite of Cormoranche-sur-Saone, like we did last year, as we were very impressed with it.

 

 

Corre, Haute Saone, Thursday 18th July 2013

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Corre Marina

Corre Marina and Capitainerie in background

 

This is another superb motorhome aire right on the Canal de l’Est, next to the Marina. It has room for 32 vehicles with unlimited stay and your €8 daily fee covers the electricity and water supply, plus the usual emptying facilities, and for an extra €1.50 you can have a shower in the Capitainerie block, which are very large and clean and also have washing and drying machines. There is free wifi for the first 24 hours too, for which a password must be obtained from the restaurant bar, where the daily fee is also paid.

 

The roomy motorhome aire at Corre by river and Marina

The roomy motorhome aire at Corre by river and Marina

 

We were going to stay only one night, but we enjoyed it here so much yesterday swimming and fishing in the river, plus the bonus of the wifi, that we decided to stay another night. It was busier yesterday, with about 10 motorhomes, but it’s only 6 of us now and very quiet. Adonis’s been listening to the Ashes cricket match and I’ve been crocheting my new vest from the Simply Crochet magazine, as well as reading, of course.

 

Adonis in his element: fishing again.

Adonis in his element: fishing again.

 

 

Service facilities at Corre motorhome aire

Service facilities at Corre motorhome aire

 

The drive here from Gérardmer was very easy and straightforward and took about 90 minutes, following mainly the D417 south west towards Remiremont, N57 to Plombières-les-Bains and Fougerolles and D417 again.

 

Another view of Corre Marina

Another view of Corre Marina

 

We are planning to go to the market at Langres tomorrow, about 36 miles west of Corre and wild camp by Lac de La Liez if at all possible.

 

 

And another

And another with Capitainerie on the left

 

 

Gérardmer Lac, Vosges, Tuesday 16th July 2013

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The very pleasant Lac de Gerardmer

The very pleasant Lac de Gerardmer

 

 

Since leaving Cornée de Réchicourt on Sunday morning, we’ve been making our way south following the Alsace Wine Route or Route des Vins d’Alsace, with just one stop at the very convenient and attractive aire at Niderviller, still on the Moselle department, right on the Port de Plaisance. We found this a bit pricey at 10 a night plus €2 electricity, but it did include toilets and showers, which operated by a swipe card, to be had for a further deposit of €20. We weren’t at all surprised to find mainly German motorhomes here, as we don’t think the French would pay this much for an aire. We were happy to pay, though, as we had already enjoyed a couple of free nights and a very cheap campsite at Givet previously. So we had a very relaxing day there, as we arrived by 10.30 am and even enjoyed a swim in the canal to cool off, for it has been very hot every day.

 

Port de Plesance at Neverville

Port de Plaisance and motorhome aire at Niderviller

 

 

On Monday morning, we went back towards Sarrebourg to join the N4 east at junction 45 and then south on D1044 and D422 towards Molsheim and D35 to Obernai, where we stopped for the day at the Vallons d’Ehn municipal campsite to start our tour of Alsace, in the Bas Rhin Department. The campsite is very pleasant and with plenty of shade, very much needed this time of year, as well as the usual high standards of maintenance of grounds, shower blocks, etc. It also has a very convenient little shop and they sell fresh baguettes and croissants every morning without needing to order them the night before. There are also various take-away vans that supply the site on different days of the week, like pizzas or roast chicken. The very reasonable daily price of €18.60 also includes wife access, of which we made good use to update FB pages, etc.

Following the Alsace Wine Route

Following the Alsace Wine Route, Obernai

 

The town of Obernai itself is another fairy-tale picturesque town, typical of the Alsace region, with its stunning timber-framed and pastel coloured houses, bursting with geranium window-boxes and original shop signs. Like in Kaysersberg last year, we fell in love with the place and decided to go out for a meal in the evening as a belated wedding anniversary treat. We opted for ‘Le Dime’ restaurant to enjoy a typical Alsace meal and very nice and hearty it was too! We started with an onion tart and green salad for myself and escargots (snails) for Adonis, followed by a beef, pork and lamb stew and a rib of pork respectively. We both struggled to finish our main courses, as the portions were very generous indeed. I reckon mine would have fed 2 people at least! So much so, that I could hardly manage any breakfast this morning and just had an apricot and a coffee.

The incredibly beautiful and picturesque Obernai

The incredibly beautiful and picturesque Obernai

 

Obernai

Obernai

 

Obernai

Obernai

 

Obernai

Obernai

 

 

 

Enjoying an typical Alsace meal

Enjoying an typical Alsace meal at Le Dime restaurant, Obernai

 

My very generous and filling hot pot

My very generous and filling hot pot

 

We left the campsite just after 9 this morning and continued south on the sublime Route des Vins d’Alsace on the D422/1422 out of Obernai, past Sélestat and on to Ribeauvillé on the D1083 south of Sélestat, D42 and D1b. We were there for 10.30 am, so we went for a gentle stroll to admire yet another gorgeous town and where we bought 2 bottles of Alsace Gewürztraminer to enjoy later on. We didn’t really like the aire to stop for the day, so we continued on south west, past Kaysersberg on D415 and admiring the view every kilometer of the way. This is really stunningly beautiful countryside, with all the steep vineyards on the wooded hills and I kept taking pictures as we travelled along.

 

Hill vineyards in Alsace wine route

Hill vineyards in Alsace wine route

 

Rebeauville

Ribeauville 

 

 

Ribeauville

Ribeauville

 

 

An original front of house in Ribeauvillé

An original front of house in Ribeauvillé

 

The road got a bit steep and windy by Col du Bonhomme (over 900 meters high), but eased up after Fraize on the same road. From there we went south on the D8 to Gérardmer, where we stopped for the rest of the day at the motorhome aire near the town centre and only a few minutes’ walk to the beautiful lake.

Lac de Geradmer

Lac de Geradmer

 

We enjoyed a couple of hours swimming and resting on the shore, as it’s been another scorcher of a day, so swimming and shade are a must.

 

Entertainment for the young at Lac de Gerarmer

Entertainment for the young at Lac de Gerarmer

 

The motorhome aire is €4 a night, but there is no electricity and there’s a €2 supplement for water. There are, however, free toilets that ‘clean’ themselves automatically after each use!

The very spacious motorhome aire at Lac de Gerardmer

The very spacious motorhome aire at Lac de Gerardmer

 

High street at Lac de Gerardmer

High street at Lac de Gerardmer

 

Tomorrow we’re heading further west to Corre, in the Haute Saone Department, where we are hoping to stop at the aire on the river leisure centre or Fluvial Loisirs.