Well, there never was a game of petangue at La Héronnière campsite on Monday as planned. Adonis and I duly turned up at the ‘arena’ at 5pm as advised, but nobody else did. We waited for a bit, but not even the manager who had invited us showed up, so feeling a bit foolish, we went back to our pitch and relaxed for a bit before going for a swim at the pretty beach just outside the camping itself. It was quite hot by then – the hottest day so far on this holiday- and the swim was a welcome respite from the sun. The water felt warm where the sun was heating it, so I kept swimming backwards and forwards on the sunny stream watching the red kites flying overhead: very calming indeed. In the evening after dinner, we packed our tables and chairs and brought in the awning ready for an early start in the morning.
We left La Héronnière by 9.30am and did a quick shop at Auchan at Sennecy-le-Grand to see us through the next 4 or 5 days, then we carried on south on D906 and joined the A6 at Tournus (J27), past Macon and Lyon, where there was a major delay due to the sheer volume of traffic. We virtually crawled for about ½ hour and it was beginning to feel very hot after 11am, so it was a great relief to leave the city behind and drive along the river for a while. We finally arrived at the free motorhome aire at Boulieu-les-Annonay just after midday and thoroughly enjoyed a cold and refreshing beer before lunch.
We went for a stroll around this charming little medieval town, surrounded by a wall with 7 round towers still remaining and soaked up the lovely views of its surroundings. The air provides 6 pitches separated by hedges, but there is also more parking available and this morning there were 10 motorhomes which had obviously spent the night at this welcoming stop. There are 2 water taps free of charge and emptying facilities, but no electricity and we thought it was a perfect stopover on the way to the south.
This morning, we followed the D82/86 to Tournon, where we joined the N7 south, past Valence and Montelimar to join the D133 east at Notre Dâme de Montcham and then D571 to this aire at Clansayes (N 44º 22.161′ E 004 47.807′).
I have to say that, even though it is a beautiful and peaceful place to stop, we felt a bit ripped off as the motorhome aires guide says it is €10 a night plus €4 for electricity and there is a swimming pool and showers. What it doesn’t say is that there is an extra €4 charge for the use of the pool and a further extra €4 for the showers. We also had to pay €1.50 for Beano, bringing the total to €15.50. I also ordered a baguette for tomorrow and I was charged €1.20 for it! The worst thing, however, was when we parked in the shady area under the trees and the manageress I had just paid all this money to came running after us saying we couldn’t park in there because that area had electricity hook-ups, which we hadn’t paid for and, although we explained we were not going to use the electricity, but we wanted the shade because of the hot weather, she made us move to the full-on sun area. I simply felt outraged at this and felt like asking for my money back and leave there and then, but it was nearly midday and we had been driving since before 9am and really needed a break, so we managed to find a spot with a small tree that provided some shade and put the awning out. I just feel her attitude was really mean-spirited and out of order, as there is only one more motorhome here in that shady area and room for at least 5 more. It is now gone 4pm and the only other van that arrived earlier decided not to stay: I wonder why??? It’s a real shame that the natural beauty of this tranquil spot has been ruined by the meanness of its owners; I mean, who refuses shade to anyone on an scorching summer day? It seems totally inhumane to me especially since we paid almost a campsite price. Whoever heard of paying a premium for shade? There is nothing like pleasing your customers and I certainly won’t be recommending this site to anyone and perhaps the Vicarious All The Aires France Guide book ought to update their information about this particular site. Would be customers need to know!
Tomorrow, we shall be arriving at Aix-en-Provence, where we are hoping to stay at the Arc-en-Ciel campsite with direct access to the river, which sounds great.