Category Archives: France

Heurteauville, Seine Maritime, Tuesday 31st May 2015

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Motorhome aire by river Seine at Heurteauille

We have booked Beano at the vet at Neufchatel-en-Bray for tomorrow morning, but we are not sure yet whether we’ll stay there for the night or carry on north.  We shall see…

We have found a new and lovely aire in this area of Les Boucles de la Seine (Bends of the Seine) near Jumièges and La Mailleraye-sur-Seine, both of which we have stayed at before, so we knew we would like this one too. 

It was very easy getting here on the A28 all the way from junction 20, north of Beaumont-sur-Sarthe, if not necessarely cheap at €38 (£29), plus another €2 for a very short track of the A13 south west of Rouen to get on to the D313 to Heurteauville.  We were here for lunch and we have just been for a walk along the river Seine with Beano and, despite it being windy and showery, it is a very pleasant walk and site.  It costs €5 a night per pitch plus 50C per person per day and there are extra charges for EHU (€4) and for fresh water and emptying facilities, including chemical toilets at an extra €4.  Registration is requied on arrival and payment is at time of departure, when the manager will open exit gate after transaction.  I find this kind of thing runs more like a campsite than an aire – which offers more freedom of movement and suits our character better – and can’t help feeling conned and probably won’t come here again, as for a couple more euros we could have stayed at a proper campsite with showers, washing facilities, etc, but we didn’t want a campsite this time.

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Afternoon walk along the river Seine

Our original intention was to spend 4 days at the campsite in Beaumont-sur-Sarthe, but the weather was really dreadful and not good for fishing, as river was too high and fast, so we left this morning after just 2 days: a shame, for it is a charming site and village and we love it here too, but it was no fun being shut away in the van for the best part of 2 days, only going out to get baguette and cake and I didn’t even get round to taking any picture

s!

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Quaint farm building by the river Seine

We have booked Beano at the vet at Neufchâtel-en-Bray for tomorrow morning, but we are not sure yet whether we’ll stay there for the night or carry on north.  We shall see

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Parked by the flagpole at Heurteauville mtorhome aire

Quend-Plage-Les-Pins, Somme, Monday 11th April 2016

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Quend-Plage-Les-Pins

It has been a disappointing couple of weeks as far as the weather is concerned, as the initial promise of sun and warmth didn’t actually materialise and it stayed changeable, with loads of rain and wind and short sunny breaks in between.  Still, we did enjoy our relaxing time at Lac de l’Uby and were able to sit outside on and off and even enjoyed a couple of spectacular sunsets by the lake, as usual.  And, of course, Adonis enjoyed his carp fishing, catching a total of 6 fish during our stay.

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Another carp in a lovely sunset

We alternated our shopping between Barbotan les Thermes and Cazaubon and I had yet another puncture on my bike on the way back from the latter, but at least this time I was closer to the campsite.  Time to change my bike, me thinks….

My friend Dani arrived on the Thursday afternoon before we left and, therefore, we only and a few minutes to enjoy together and no chance to have a crochet session like we’ve done in the past.  This was a real shame, as I love listening to her speaking in French, which helps me an awful lot too, as I have to force myself to think in that language.  It is all very well to read magazines and books, but to speak it is a different kettle of fish althogether, which is the main reason why we learn another language. 

Dani had made some mackerel pate and gave us a big kilner jar, which we have been enjoying for the last few days and when I say ‘we’, I include Beano too: he’s got good taste!

A new discovery in Barbotan les Thermes this year was a fantastic little restaurant in the centre of town called L’Estanquet, where we had a lovely Sunday lunch with a jug of their local white wine.  The food was magnificent and it was finished with a delicious Café Gourmand, consisting of a cup of coffee and little samples of various puddings: I highly recommend it!

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My gorgeous café gourmand at L'Estanquet restaurant in Barbotan les Thermes

On Friday morning, after a small shop at Intermarché at Cazaubon, we started our journey back north, our first stop for the night being at the aire in Roulet-St-Estèphe, just off the N10 south of Angoulême.  We were surprised to see how busy it was compared to the first time we came here last Easter, so much so that in the morning there were no more parking spaces left and a motorhome had parked on the other side of the road dedicated to buses and coaches.  It is a lovely free aire in a very pretty location and with a wonderful walk for Beano at the far end and following the stream.  We also saw some large otters feeding on the field right in front of us, which is a very unusual sight indeed!

We continued our journey north on the N10 past Augoulême, Poitiers and Châtellerault on Saturday morning, when we were unfortunate enough to come across the aftermath of an accident that had occurred at around 5 am between junctions 25 and 26, where a large lorry was still on its side, almost straddling the north and south lanes, waiting to be towed away and causing major delays in both directions, adding a whole hour to our journey.

So we carried on the A10 all the way to north of Tours and then the expensive A28 to J. 26 (€6 for just one junction) just to make up some of the time we lost due to the accident.

We spent Saturday afternoon and night at the lovely free aire in Vaas, which was very peaceful and quiet, and continued north to Broglie yesterday morning for our appointment with the vet this morning.

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The magical landscape along the Charentonne river at Broglie

We never get tired of Broglie, no matter how many times we’ve been here, and that walk along the Charentonne river to the water mill has a charm all of its own, which is a great medicine for the heart and soul.  I took Beano for his usual afternoon walk and then I went back again just to photograph that most soothing of views overlooking the valley, river, water mill and half-timbered houses: priceless!

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Fantastic Broglie's water mill

This morning’s visit to the vet was a bit eventful, as Beano wouln’t take his worming tablet required for re-entry in the UK and even my usual trick of wrapping the tablet in a bit of fish mousse didn’t work, nor did the vet’s attempt with a creamy cheese triangle, so in the end we had to opt for an injection, for which purpose Beano had to be muzzled and restrained by myself and the receptionist while the vet did the injecting!  Not a performance I would like to repeat, I daresay!

After that dramatic experience we set off again, this time headed for Quend-Plage-les-Pins, another wonderful aire surrounded by pine trees, as the name aptly discribes.  We came here in January 2015 and it was nearly empty, but again, today it is rather busy, even on a Monday.  The ticket machine is still not working, so we’ve saved €7 again, like last time!

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The charming aire at Quend-Plage-Les-Pins seen from the woods trail

Beano’s afternoon walk today was on the trail through the pine woods, where I was pleased to see some young people doing a tree-top adventure trail, what we know in the UK as Go Ape.  I wouln’t mind having a go myself, as it looks like a lot of fun.

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Adventure trail at Quend-Plage-Les-Pins

Afterwards, Adonis and I walked into town and the sea front and enjoyed looking at the high tide breaking against the promenade walls and the children chasing the waves: great fun!

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Chasing the waves: priceless fun!

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Looking towards the sea from high street in Quend-Plage-Les-Pins

It’s back to Wissant, Pas de Calais, tomorrow and then home.  We’ll be back in May.

Ferme de l’Horloge, Tardinghen, Pas de Calais, Thursday 7th January 2016

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View from Ferme de l'Horloge, looking towards the sea

View from Ferme de l’Horloge, looking towards the sea

 

We are being buffeted by very strong winds on this very wet and wintery day.   We came here after doing our usual shop at Auchan in Boulogne-sur-Mer and trying the campsite at Escalles, Les Erables, but this doesn’t open till 31st March and, as we still want to have E.H.U, we thought we would give this farm a go.  We are parked behind the large barn, which is sheltering us from the wind slightly, and we have wonderful views of the surrounding fields, woods and even the sea at Wissant!  The light keeps changing with the comings and goings of the clouds, making it all very attractive and interesting to look at and I should think that in better weather it would be just marvellous.

 

The light constantly changing

The light constantly changing

 

Our stop at La Suze-sur-Sarthe was lovely as always and we enjoyed our walks along the river Sarthe before moving north to Rugles, where we were able to hook up again in the free motorhome aire and were glad to find all the shops open this time and treated ourselves to a nice pizza Normande, with lardons and Camembert cheese: simply delicious.

 

Yesterday, we stopped at the aire in Neufchatel-en-Bray and took Beano for his pet passport check-up and tablet and were ready for departure by 10.30am.  I must say here that we had a little panic when leaving the aire, as the automated payment machine wouldn’t accept my bankcard.  Adonis tried his, but it was also declined, but was finally able to pay with one of his Visa cards.  We then inserted the exit ticket into the machine by the exit barrier, but the notice kept saying to insert a ‘valid ticket’ and wouldn’t eject the one I had just inserted.  Luckily, there was a plumber working on the newly built extension to the services hut and he kindly used his staff card to open the barrier for us.  Apparently, we inserted our ticket in the exit barrier machine before approaching the barrier fully and even though we drove right up to it after inserting ticket, it just wouldn’t work:  One must drive right up to the barrier before inserting ticket!  Lesson learned and will remember in future.  Other than that, this is an excellent aire for €13 a night in a lovely town and close to supermarkets and an excellent dog walk just outisde that goes for miles as it is part of a cycling route to Dieppe.

 

 

View framed by our motorhome window

 

Due to the leisure battery playing up, we are thinking of crossing back to England tomorrow instead of Saturday, as there are no more motorhome aires in the area providing E.H.U.

 

Wind still blowing fiercely!

 

Safe inside!

Safe inside enjoying the light!

 

Back to France for Easter holidays, destination: Barbotan-les-Thermes!

Châtillon-sur-Loire, Loiret, Friday 1st January 2016

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Lovely mural by Motorhome aire and Marina at Châtillon-sur-Loire organised by the Arterial Association

 

We spent a very quiet New Year’s Eve at this superb motorhome aire by the Marina in Châtillon-sur-Loire and we liked it so much, we decided to spend New Year’s Day here too.  The aire is on gravel, with hard standing access and paved areas with picnic tables between the parking bays, all facing the canal with its charming boats and barges, some beautifully decorated for the Christmas festivities.  The payment of €9 for 24 hours is at machine near the Capitainerie on entrance to Marina and it includes water and electricity, for which you first need to know your bay letter in order to activate the electricity power.  There were 3 other motorhomes here last night, as well as people in some of the boats, but is was so quiet you wouldn’t have known it.

 

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Superb motorhome aire by Marina at Châtillon-sur-Loire

 

Our arrival here was a bit of a labour of love, as access to the town for high vehicles over 2.7 metres is only available from the north due to a height barrier on the south side.  As we were coming from the south east, we were obliged to carry on the D2007 and D952 all the way to Gien, just over 6 miles, to cross the river there and back down south on D951, adding a total of 12 miles to the journey, as well as time.  Still, we were here for 1.30pm and were delighted with the location and thought the extra mileage and time were definitely worth it.

 

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Festive boat on Marina at Châtillon-sur-Loire

 

We didn’t make it to Chiddes, as we had planned, simply because we needed to do our food shopping for last night and today and we didn’t see a supermarket on the outskirts of Château-Chinon after leaving Les Settons.  Therefore, we continued our way west on the D978 and found an Intermarché Contact in St Benin-d’Azy, where we bought some sakate and cooked crevettes for our New Year’s Eve meal, which were absolutely delicious, and two rump stakes for tonight.  I cooked the skate simply à la Romana and served it with new potatoes and we enjoyed it with a bottle of Blanquette de Limoux and a bottle of Touraine and we had a jolly good time with a game of Cribbage and an episode of Boardwalk Empire before retiring for an early end to the year at the tender hour of 9.30pm!!!

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Another charming mural by Marina, Arterial Association

 

Today’s been a lazy day, as it is meant to be, and Adonis enjoyed a spot of fishing in the morning while I did some crocheting, read my Marie France magazine and revised a bit of German on my new app.

 

 

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Depiction of Canal by Arterial Association

 

After siesta, we went for a stroll into town and enjoyed the lovely old houses, Christmas decorations, the stained-glass windows in the church St Maurice and St Posen, dedicated to a 6th century shepherd and hermit, and the original murals all over the town, part of a project to decorate the locality, “Decorer la ville” organised by Arterial Association in order to bring local artists together and closer to the public:  all very attractive and interesting.

 

 

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Quaint old houses in Châtillon-sur-Loir

 

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Église de Saint Maurice and Saint Posen

 

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Beautiful stained-glass window depicting the Adoration of Baby Jesus by the 3 Kings, very appropriate for the season

 

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Street Mural by Arterial Association project ‘Décorer la Ville’

 

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Mural of Robert Louis Stevenson, who spent some time in Châtillon-sur-Loire

 

 

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Mural of Postman

 

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Mural of St Posen outside St Maurice and St Posen churcchurchh

 

Tomorrow, AMBOISE!!!

Les Settons, Nièvre, Wednesday 30th December 2015

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Les Settons

Les Settons

 

We woke up to a beautiful frosty morning in La Porte d’Alsace on Monday, with icicles hanging from the wheel’s arch below the heating outlet, with the thermometer saying -2°C.

 

We set off on the D419 again and A36 past Belfort and Montbéliard to junction 7, as we needed to do a shop, and tried our luck on the national road D633 and got lucky at L’Isle-le-Doubs, where we found an Intermarché to buy provisions for the next 3 days.  From there, it was a short drive to Baume-les-Dames, which we found covered in frost and were spoilt for choice of pitches at this large aire, as there was only one more van getting ready to leave.  We hooked up and filled up with water and, after lunch, had a lovely long walk along the canal and river Doubs.  The Reception hut at the motorhome aire opened at 5.30pm for payments, by which time there were about 8 motorhomes to stay for the night.  The fee was €9.90, which is a fair price to pay this time of year, as it is good of them to keep the water and services running in freezing weather.

 

Our spot at aire in Baume-les-Dames

Our spot at aire in Baume-les-Dames

 

Motorhome aire and Marina from far side of canal

Motorhome aire and Marina from far side of canal

 

Beautiful colours in Baume-les-Dames

Beautiful colours in Baume-les-Dames

 

Baume-les-Dames and bridge

Baume-les-Dames and bridge

 

I loved the original Christmas decorations outside this house!

I loved the original Christmas decorations outside this house!

 

We left in the morning a bit later than usual to give the frost a chance to melt and carried on the A36 past Besançon and Dole to Seurre in the Saône-et-Loire, where we stopped for the day yesterday.  The aire here has been moved to behind a line of alpine trees and it is not on the Marina itself and, as there was an old caravan parked there, we decided to park closer to the Capitainerie to enjoy the view of the Marina and the river.  This is a very pleasant stop with a nice walk along the river and into town, but not much to do there, as the museum and church were both shut, which we thought would have been interesting to visit. Maybe some other time…

 

The lovely walk on the river Saône at Seurre

The lovely walk on the river Saône at Seurre

 

Pretty Seurre on river Saône

Pretty Seurre on river Saône

 

From Seurre, we followed the D973 past Beaune to Autun, where we had anextended coffee break this morning at the aire by lake and Roman Theatre.  The lake had been drained to get all the fish out, but the walk through the Roman Theatre was quite a treat, despite the heavy fog, and we thought it might be nice to return in spring when the lake has been filled again and to visit the rest of the town.  On the way out, we saw the two Roman Gates too, which are quite impressive.

 

A very atmospheric Roman Theatre in the fog, Autun

A very atmospheric Roman Theatre in the fog, Autun

The Roman Theatre at Autun

The Roman Theatre with stage at Autun

 

You have to admire these ancient walls

You have to admire these ancient walls

 

Close up of Roman bricks

Close up of Roman bricks

Roman gate at Autun

Roman gate at Autun

 

Roman gate on our way out of Autun

Roman gate on our way out of Autun

Still seeking a lake, we headed north on the D960 to Lac des Settons, near Montsauche-les-Settons, part of the Grands Lacs du Morvan, where we finally stopped for the day and night.  It really is beautiful here and I can see this would be a very popular summer holiday resort, as there are various outlets for boat rides around the lake, as well as bars, restaurants, hotels and a campsite.  We went for a long walk around the lake and both sides seem perfect for a family summer holiday.

 

Walking around Lac Settons admiring the beautiful colours

Walking around Lac Settons admiring the beautiful colours, motorhome aire in centre background

 

Light and shade contrast

Light and shade contrast

 

This gorgeous building houses the Tourist Information Office

This gorgeous building houses the Tourist Information Office

 

It’s been a bit warmer today, temperaturesrising to 7°C, and we’ve had a lovely sunset.  Tomorrow, we are heading for Chiddes, about 18 miles south of Château-Chinon.

Obernai, Bas Rhin, Alsace, Thursday 24th December 2015

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Pretty Obernai

We made it to Alsace for Christmas as we intended and we are certainly not disappointed with our choice. We loved Obernai when we came here in the summer a couple of years ago and we just knew it would be beautiful at Christmas. The whole place’s got a very special atmosphere, all made possible by the Christmas market stalls, the street and houses decorations, the festive people and, of course, the mulled wine!

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Our first view of the town

We arrived at the Camping Municipal Vallon de l’Ehn yesterday morning and, after hooking up and giving Beano a little walk around the campsite, we set off to explore the town and soak up the spirit of Christmas, so beautifully done here. We loved the whole thing: the various wooden huts selling all kinds of goods, the Manger with life size figures and real sheep and donkey, the train ride and carrousel for children and seeing everyone enjoying themselves sipping a glass of mulled wine and munching on roasted chestnuts, which added to the seasonal atmosphere with the lovely scents.
We bought a couple of bottles of Crémant and Cordon Bleu Snitzels for tonight and came back to the van for lunch and Beano’s afternoon walk.

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The life size Manger with real animals

 

We returned to the town in the evening to see it all lit up and enjoy a glass of Bière de Noël and, of course, the ubiquitous mulled wine to make time for dinner.

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Beautiful and original Christmas decorations

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The town in full swing

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One of many lovely seasonal stalls

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You just have to love this!

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We tried a couple of restaurants, but they were fully booked, but struck it lucky on our third attempt at La Halle aux Blés, where we had a hearty meal of spare ribs and chips for Adonis and Escalope Viennoise for me, all accompanied by a lovely pitcher of Riesling. We were delighted with our choices and the generous portions and felt a bit too full for pudding, which we decided to leave for Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

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Wreath over our heads at La Halle aux Blés

So we staggered back uphill to the campsite and had a good night’s sleep with just the slightest threat of a headache that, thankfully, didn’t go full blown.

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We sat here on our way back to enjoy atmosphere before bed

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This morning, we took the bus into town and bought a chicken for tomorrow and a veal pie for Boxing Day. The idea was to buy an already cooked chicken, but as we hadn’t seen any outlets yesterday and we didn’t want to risk going without on Christmas Day, we bought a fresh one from the local Traiteur, only to find later on that the full-on market was on with no less than 3 outlets for ‘Poulet roti’!!! We had a good laugh about that and now we know for next time.

It’s a lovely sunny day with blue skies today and, although it is not frosty, it is just perfect for Christmas. We’ve just taken Beano for a long walk along the stream and are enjoying a refreshing beer in the sun.

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Aire at Catillon-sur-Sambre

The drive here went without a hitch, stopping at a very empty Wissant aire the first night, by the canal at Catillon-sur-Sambre east of Cambrai on D643 on Saturday and 2 nights at Stenay, the first night by the Capitainerie, as there was no-one to give us the code to enter the proper aire, but the guard came in the evening and gave us the code for the next day after paying our €9 fee. Stenay was also cheerfully decorated for the season.

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Parked by Capitainerie at Stenay

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Festive lights at Stenay

Finally, we stopped for one night at Harskirchen by the Port de Plaisance, all very quiet and peaceful and free this time of year.

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Aire at Harskirchen

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.

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.

La Fresnaye-sur-Chédouet, Sarthe, 27th August 2015

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Our parking spot at the aire in La Fresnaye-sur-Chédouet by La Forêt de Perseigne

Our parking spot at the aire in La Fresnaye-sur-Chédouet by La Forêt de Perseigne

We made it to Parthenay early on Sunday morning, but, although the motorhome aire looked very good and right by the lake, we didn’t stay, as it was raining, windy and it felt a bit cold, so we decided to carry on driving and ended up in Étang de la Tricherie, just off the D160, about 20 miles north west of La Rochelle and just south east of Les Herbiers, south of Cholet. We were there for midday and soon after the weather improved considerably, so we spent a very warm sunny afternoon by the lake.

Enjoying a walk around the Étang de la Tricherie

Enjoying a walk around the Étang de la Tricherie

Being a Sunday, the area around the lake was buzzing with families picnicking, fishing, swimming or having fun on paddling boats. Adonis enjoyed a spot of fishing and Beano and I a long walk all the way around the lake. We finished this fine day with a BBQ courtesy of Adonis and first and last of the summer holiday, but we must definitely do this more often. Come to think of it, it’s the first time ever that Adonis has cooked in all the 6 years of our motorhoming life!

Plenty of water activities for the whole family at Étang de la Tricherie

Plenty of water activities for the whole family at Étang de la Tricherie

The aire at the Étang de la Tricherie is free and very large, with spaces on grass and hard standing, the services being by the shops, amenities and restaurants.

Motorhome aie at Étang de la Tricherie

Motorhome aie at Étang de la Tricherie

Monday morning started wet again and we intended to stop for the day at the aire at Brissac-Quincé, just south of Angers. We were there early enough to go for a walk around the lovely gardens of the Château during a break in the rain. The Château de Brissac is the tallest castle in France, boasting 7 floors, and it is quite impressive from the outside, but we just fancied a stroll outside and didn’t do the full visit, but no doubt we’ll be back, as the motorhome aire in town was quite adequate and free.

I simply loved this ivy-covered house at Brissac-Quincé

I simply loved this ivy-covered house at Brissac-Quincé

The impressive Château de Brissac

The impressive Château de Brissac

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A gentle stroll around the gardens of Château de Brissac

A gentle stroll around the gardens of Château de Brissac

After our visit to the château’s gardens we continued a little bit further north west to spend the rest of the day at the lovely aire at Bouchemaine in the Maine-et-Loire Department. We were surprised to see how much the fee has increased since we were here last, jumping up a whopping 5, costing now a total of €13.50 to include electricity, water and showers. Not too bad, I suppose, when you consider we paid €26 for the Sosta at La Villa/Stern in Italy back in July. Here, we just enjoyed the long walks along the rivers Maine and Loire and made the most of the showers, although the water was only lukewarm when I had mine and I wished I had taken it in the van instead, where the water gets really hot.

Wonderful (if pricey) motorhome aire at Bouchemaine

Wonderful (if pricey) motorhome aire at Bouchemaine

Bouchemaine

Bouchemaine

After Bouchemaine we intended to stop at the municipal campsite at Sablé-sur-Sarthe, but the access road the SatNav took us on was too narrow and too busy and we couldn’t get through, being forced to get out of town again. A bit annoyed by this, we continued on the A11 and A28 to Beaumont-sur-Sarthe, at junction 21 north of Le Mans, and stopped at the municipal campsite there instead. We came here back in 2012 and had really liked it and it has changed little since, except that there is now a coffee shop with a bread and pastries service, a large TV and book borrowing service at one end of the excellent shower and washing facilities block, which has also got access for the disabled.

Disabled access to wonderful shower and washing facilities block at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe campsite

Disabled access to wonderful shower and washing facilities block at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe campsite

The weather here was a bit mixed with showers and sunny spells, but we managed to have lunch outside and Adonis enjoyed some fishing, culminating with a prime catch of a 34lb carp!

We stayed here 2 nights, but it didn’t stop raining last night and it was still pouring down this morning and by 11 am we had had enough and decided to leave. The bill came up to €32.32 for the 2 nights, which is quite reasonable considering the idyllic location.

Beautmont-sur-Sarthe

Beautmont-sur-Sarthe

We only drove for a mere 40 minutes to about 5 miles east of Alançon, where we’ve found this little aire by the Forêt de Perseigne, which is absolutely lovely. It’s been raining most of the day, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying a long walk with Beano through the forest, as the tall and mature trees made perfect umbrellas!

Perfect for walks rain or shine, Forêt de Perseigne

Perfect for walks rain or shine, Forêt de Perseigne

It’s only been 15ºC outside today, so for the first time ever we’ve put the heating on in the Hymer and I’m very pleased to report that it works perfectly well and it’s very efficient and quick.

Due to this wet and cold weather, we’ll be having that tin of Cassoulet that’s been on the shelf ever since we left home 2 months ago. Only 5 days left of this holiday and we have already made an appointment for Beano’s Pet Passport at the vet in Broglie. It really feels now like our long summer holiday is coming to an end. Where did the time go and were we really that hot in Italy and Croatia?