Monthly Archives: November 2015

St Germain de la Coudre, Orne, Tuesday 3rd November 2015

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St Germain de la Coudre

 

No matter how small a place is in France, it always has something different and wonderful to offer the visitor.

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Attractive bridge by motorhome aire

 

We have found another lovely free aire at this pretty village on the D7 slightly north west of La Ferté-Bernard, right by the little stream and pretty bridge with easy access to the shops and restaurants. The aire has a borne for water and electricity, but it is out of order at the moment, maybe because the area is under renovation and they are still laying gravel in the aire, which is by a brand new recreation ground for football, basketball, tennis, etc, as well as a children’s playground. All in pristine condition, very clean and tidy.

 

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Motorhome aire at St Germain de la Coudre by new sports grounds and stream

 

As usual, we went for a walk around the village to get our bearings and we admired the quaint old houses and the stream going under some of them. We wondered if they ever get flooded in heavy rain! Still it is a charming little place with a very good boulangerie, which has won a golden award in the last 2 years and where we’ll get our baguette and cake in the morning.

 

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Quaint old houses and a stream runs under them

 

It’s back to Broglie tomorrow for Beano’s check at the vet’s and Le Crotoy on Thursday.

Mennetou-sur-Cher, Monday 2nd November 2015

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Pretty medieval Mennetou-sue-Cher with lift bridge on canal

 

After 3 failed attempts at finding a motorhome aire to stop for the day, we finally found something we liked at this pretty little medieval village on the river Cher on the D976, just slightly north west of Vierzon.  The aire is free and has a borne for water and electricity by the fire station right behind us.  It is by the canal and a lift bridge leading to the village, the canal offering a lovely dog walk as well as fishing.

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Motorhome aire by canal

We’ve just been for a stroll in the village, which is very interesting, dating back to the 6th century, when Ingertrude, daughter of Clotaire I, decided to build a monastery.  The village was then fortified during the 13th century, starting in 1212 by Hervé II, Lord of vierzon, who built a fortress with 5 towers, 3 of which still remain today.

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Joan of Arc’s gate at Mennetou-sur-Cher

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Quaint old building in Mennetou-sur-Cher

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Old buildings at Mennetou-sur-Cher

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Artists hard at work

 

We really enjoyed looking at the old walls and buildings, as well as all the flowers and edible plants cultivated all around the village, some even being offered for free, amongst them parsley, basil, rosemary, calendula and sage.  I would have liked to visit the Art Centre and the Beads shop for my crocheted jewellery, but alas! They were both closed.

Forest Pool to St Germain de Coudre 065Giving away edible plants and herbs!

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Lovely and humourous flower display

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Seasonal plants

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Beads shop. Shame it was shut!

 

We had originally planned to stop at the motorhome aire in Valençay, opposite the château, but it was just a car park behind the Tourist Information Office and we didn’t like the look of it, so we continued further north to Selles-sur-Cher.  Unfortunately, the aire here was closed for the winter and we were forced to continue with our search and tried the aire at Langon, just about 3 miles west of here, but this was practically on the main road and it would have been noisy, making it unsuitable for our needs.  So it was 4th time lucky today!!!  Sometimes, you just have to persevere.

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Our base camp at Forest Pool with lodge on the left

 

After Uzerche, we arrived at Moulin de Bret to meet up with Nikki, Julian’s wife, who was looking after their fishing lakes while Julian went fishing in Bordeaux.  We had to phone her in order to find their house and she very kindly drove to Bret to meet us so that we could follow her to her house for a coffee prior to going to the lake itself.  She also led the way to the lake, Forest Pool, as, again, it would have been impossible for us to find it, being as it is in the middle of nowhere about 20 miles south of Limoges, in the Fôret de Fayat, near Château Chervix.

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The lodge and fishing swim from far side of lake

 

The place was absolutely wonderful, like an oasis in the middle of the forest, with a fine lodge with a big kitchen and living area, a shower/toilet room and a bedroom, although we decided to stay in the motorhome as our living quarters and just use the shower and the sink for washing up and the oven to warm things up.  Around the lake itself, there are 3 bivvies set up for prospective customers, but Adonis just used the one closest to the lodge.  This place would be ideal for 3 friends who want to share the cost of a fishing holiday, as the fishing gear is also included when making the booking.

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Adonis and Beano enjoying fishing in the sun

 

The weather was very warm and sunny during the day and it was lovely just to sit by the lake wearing only t-shirts, but it cooled down very quickly after sunset.  It was also very quiet as there was nobody else there most of the time, with only Nikki and a couple of friends coming round to set things up for a Halloween party on Saturday night, which we helped with too.

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Enjoying a drum fire on Halloween night

 

I was surprised to see how many British people have settled in this neck of the woods, as around 30 people turned up for the party, including children, and they all seemed very happy with their  decision to move to France and had no regrets at all.

 

The party was very lively and we had some wonderful French food like chicken soup, Boeuf Bourguignon and Cassoulet prepared by Nikki herself, all accompanied by great music courtesy of Mark, a friend and neighbour of Nikki and Julian’s.  Most of the ladies and children dressed up and I felt I had to join in the spirit of things and had one of the young girls make up my face like a zombie and she did a wonderful job.

 

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Yours truly turned into a zombie for the night!

 

We went to bed at around 1 am, but the hard-core party goers kept going till 4 am!   I was woken up by Beano wanting to go for a walk at about 8.30 am, so I was glad I had had an ‘early’ night.

 

We left Forest Pool yesterday morning and spent a very relaxing day at Lac de St Pardoux, about 12 miles north of Limoges, to recover from the excesses of the party.

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Peaceful Lac de St Pardoux

 

Tomorrow, we are hoping to get to St Germain de la Coudre in Normandy, south west of Nogent-le-Rotrou.

 

 

 

Uzerche, Corrèze, Tuesday 27th October 2015

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Beautiful old Uzerche

Beautiful old Uzerche

The motorhome aire at Neuillay les Bois was a bit too small and with just one other motorhome and a car parked there, there was hardly any room for us, so we left and tried the one at La Pérouille, but, although it was pretty enough, the parking being on grass, we didn’t feel like taking any chances of being stuck if it rained and decided to try somewhere else again.

Wild camping at Gargilesse Dampierre

Wild camping at Gargilesse Dampierre

Adonis suggested looking at his new app called Park4Night, which showed a nice wild parking space on the river Creuse, so we headed for that and got there just after 12 noon. The place is called Gargilesse Dampierre and very good it was too, making us very glad and relieved to have finally found somewhere suitable for the day and night.

Beano enjoying his new surroundings at Gargilesse Dampierre

Beano enjoying his new peaceful surroundings at Gargilesse Dampierre

It is near the Dam of La Roche au Moine and it is popular with local walkers and picnickers, as there is another larger car park nearby. It is a perfect one-day stop with a lovely dog walk along the river and very quiet in the evening and I think we’ll probably come back here again. There is also a campsite, which seemed to be closed this time of year.

Bridge at Gargilesse Dampierre

Bridge at Gargilesse Dampierre

View from bridge

View from bridge

This morning, we joined the A20 towards Limoges, where we did another big shop at Cora, which turned out to be very reasonably priced, and continued down to Uzerche at junction 44 and then the D920. Again, we were here just after midday and had time to walk Beano on the popular path along the river Vézère and a beer before lunch.

The wonderful motorhome aire at Uzerche

The wonderful motorhome aire at Uzerche

Our parking spot and Vézère river seen from above

Our parking spot and Vézère river seen from above

This is a wonderful free motorhome aire with electric hook-up on a prime location by the river and with easy access to the charming old town. We’ve just been for another walk to re-visit St Pierre’s Church and its 11th century crypt, the oldest crypt in the Limousin. The town itself is very picturesque with its turrets covered in spiky roofs resembling witches’ hats. I simply love this place and the views from the top outside the church are just beautiful.

Views of Uzerche

Views of Uzerche

Uzerche

Uzerche with a typical witch’s hat turret

Admiring the views from high ground

Admiring the views from high ground

The river Vézère at Uzerche

The river Vézère at Uzerche

Eglise St Pierre

Eglise St Pierre

Old door on Eglise St Pierre

Old door on Eglise St Pierre

Insid 11th centure crypt at Eglise St Pierre

Insid 11th centure crypt below Eglise St Pierre

11th century crypt below Eglise St Pierre

11th century crypt below Eglise St Pierre

Strolling around town

Strolling around town

Tomorrow we’ll arrive at our final destination at Moulin de Bret to stay with a friend of Adonis’s from his childhood days in the Forest of Dean and where he’s hoping to do some quality carp fishing.

A pilgrim

A pilgrim

I simply LOVE this

I simply LOVE this

La Ferté Saint-Aubin, Loiret, Sunday 25th October 2015

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Château de La Ferté Saint-Aubin

Château de La Ferté Saint-Aubin

We forgot to put our clocks back one hour last night, so we’ve enjoyed one extra hour of holiday time today! And it really has been a lovely day. We woke up to a sunny, bright and fairly warm morning at Pont de l’Arche and after walking Beano and a visit to the local boulangerie, we were on our way again to St Jean Blanc, just south of Orleans.

Pont de l'Arche view from motorhome aire

Pont de l’Arche view from motorhome aire

On arriving there just after midday and finding it teaming with people and the motorhome aire full of cars, we had to make a quick decision as where to go next and La Ferté Saint-Aubin was the obvious choice, just a few more miles on the same road south, D2020, and we were here by 12.30 pm.

Interesting sculptures near motorhome aire at La Ferté Saint-Aubin

Interesting sculptures near motorhome aire at La Ferté Saint-Aubin

We were very impressed with the location, a wooded park by the river Cosson with a very interesting and original selection of sculptures part of “D’un Bout à l’Autre” (From one end to the other), a joint effort between La Ferté Saint-Aubin and Beachport in south Australia, and it is also very near the Château, which we visited this afternoon. This aire is free and has a borne for water as well as the usual emptying facilities. It is just outside the municipal campsite and has room for 10 vehicles.

D'un bout a l'autre information board

D’un bout a l’autre information board

Interesting and original sculptures part of  D'un Bout à l'Autre project

Interesting and original sculptures part of D’un Bout à l’Autre project

D'un Bout à l'Autre sculpture

D’un Bout à l’Autre sculpture

I loved this exotic looking flower, part of D'un Bout à l'Autre

I loved this exotic looking flower, part of D’un Bout à l’Autre

D'un Bout à l'Autre sculpture

D’un Bout à l’Autre sculpture

D'un Bout à l'Autre sculpture

D’un Bout à l’Autre sculpture

As far as the Château itself, it makes a very interesting and enjoyable visit and we particularly liked the stables, originally built in the second half of the 17th century, the kitchen, where they were doing cooking demonstrations and hands-on activities for children, making the local speciality, honey fairy cakes and, my personal favourite room, the Orangery, with its superb collection of dolls and old toys, which I simply loved. This room can be hired for weddings, receptions and congresses.

Cake making demonstration in the kitchen of the Château de  La Ferté Saint-Aubin

Cake making demonstration in the kitchen of the Château de La Ferté Saint-Aubin

Hands-on experience for the kids

Hands-on experience for the kids

Dolls display in the Orangery

Dolls display in the Orangery

Dolls display at the Orangery

Dolls display at the Orangery

Dolls display at the Orangery

Dolls display at the Orangery

Dolls display at the Orangery

Dolls display at the Orangery

We also liked the park, which covers 80 acres of land, where various traditional games can be played, making it ideal for children and young families.

Waling outside in the gardens of the Château

Waling outside in the park gardens of the Château

Chapel Island in the Château park

Chapel Island in the Château park

The view of the Château from the park

The view of the Château from the park

The drive from home to Calais went without a hitch, except that, once again, the aire at Wissant was full and we had to drive a bit further down to Audinghen, like at the beginning of our summer holiday.

From there, we drove to Pont de l’Arche, where we found that the motorhome aire has now been moved to the other end of the car park, right by the municipal campsite. It is still free, but now there is room for 10 motorhomes and the bays are wider, so it is definitely an improvement.

New grounds for the Motorhome aire at Pont de l'Arche

New grounds for the Motorhome aire at Pont de l’Arche, outside municipal campsite

This morning, I walked to the bakery just a few metres from the aire and, besides the usual baguette, I bought a most delicious 3 chocolates cake, which we thoroughly enjoyed this afternoon.

Delicious 3 chocolate cake bought at Pont de l'Arche patisserie

Delicious 3 chocolate cake bought at Pont de l’Arche patisserie

Tomorrow we only have a short drive to Neuillay les Bois near Châteauroux.