Tag Archives: Angoulême

Clérac, Charente Maritime, Friday 3rd April 2015

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The lovely motorhome aire by pond at Clerac

The lovely motorhome aire by pond at Clerac

It’s been a funny old week during which hardly anything has gone according to plan, in as much as we have a plan.

We set off last Saturday morning and caught an earlier Eurotunnel crossing than anticipated with the hope of getting to Auchan in Boulogne-sur-Mer early in the evening in order to to our weekly shopping, but alas, this is where things started going pear-shaped.

We were surprised to find exit 31 on the A16 closed without prior warning, so we had to carry on to the next available exit at J.29, where we saw a big Leclerc. Not being familiar with the layout of this hypermarket, our shop took a bit longer than expected and I was a bit disappointed at not finding a magazine section to get my ‘must-have’ Marie France to read during the next few days and, as things turned out later on in the week, I really missed.

A wet arrival at Le Portel

A wet arrival at Le Portel

With the shopping out of the way, we carried on to Le portel, as it was off the same J.29, to try the motorhome aire there, which we found very pleasing, even though it was dark and raining quite heavily when we arrived. We quickly got on with warming up our dinner for the night (paella from the delicatessen counter) and had an early night after a long day driving. This aire costs 5, payable at the entrance barrier).  Before leaving on Sunday morning, Adonis enjoyed a very windy walk with Beano on the dramatic seafront, perfect for wind turbines.

Early morning walk on seafront at Le Portel

Early morning walk on seafront at Le Portel

We spent Sunday at lovely Pont de l’Arche, still in the rain, but this cleared by the time I took Beano for his afternoon walk and, unusually, I didn’t come across anybody walking along or fishing by the river, even though it was Sunday. Something to do with the clocks going forward the night before or it being a wet day?

Only the ducks came to say hello today at Pont de l'Arche

Only the ducks came to say hello today at Pont de l’Arche

Our first proper destination for this Easter holiday was Etang Neuf at Neuilly-sur-Eure, where we arrived just after 11 am on Monday morning, but were unable to drive onto the pitch itself due to the wet grass. We first tried our bread crates to help us into position, but our efforts failed, so Adonis went off to get some help and came back with two very nice and friendly young men from the north of England and, with Adonis at the wheel, the crates under the tyres and the 3 of us pushing the van, we got nowhere fast, either forwards or backwards and only succeeded in making a muddy mess on the ground. The next move was to get Didier, the farmer, to tow us in with his 4×4, but this too ended up with the ground churning up below the van and not moving an inch.

Being towed by 4x4

Being towed by 4×4 at Etang Neuf

As a last resort, Didier set off on his 4×4 to fetch his tractor and a few minutes later we were finally into position on our pitch Number 4 hoping it wouldn’t rain and soften the ground even further for the next four days.

Being towed by tractor, this time successfully!

Being towed by tractor, this time successfully!

Luckily, Monday was a mixture of sun and clouds with no rain and we were optimistic enough to put the awning out with the wind-blockers on either side, but the wind picked up in the evening and seemed to turn into a gale-force storm during the night, to the point where the awning was flapping about so much that Adonis had to get up in the wee hours of the morning to put it all away again!!!

Enjoying a drink in the sun at Etang Neuf

Enjoying a drink in the sun at Etang Neuf

Tuesday was still a very windy day, with no chance of me sitting outside after mid morning coffee, to the extent I couldn’t even cycle to the village to get our daily baguette and, although Adonis kindly offered to go himself, he had a puncture on the way up and had to walk the rest of the way and back (about 4 miles altogether). Luckily, he bought a very big baguette that saw us through lunch for the next couple of days.

Lovely morning light on Wednesday morning at Etang Neuf

Lovely morning light on Wednesday morning at Etang Neuf

Etang Neuf from side nearest the farm house

Etang Neuf from side nearest the farm house

The weather didn’t improve much on Wednesday and I spent most of it inside the motorhome with no internet or 3G connection and NO Marie France magazine: I was really missing it by now… Well, at least I managed to work on my crochet and make a necklace and bracelet set and read my kindle and my brother’s book ‘Huyendo de Occidente’. The best thing that happened was Adonis catching 2 carp in one day. The first one was around 14lb and the second around 20lb, so at least we both got something out of our stay at the lake.

Adonis's first catch

Adonis’s first catch

Adonis's second catch

Adonis’s second catch

As we were feeling a bit dead in the water, we decided to cut our stay short and left a day early on Thursday and once more we had to be pulled away by tractor after packing our very muddy belongings.

Yesterday morning, we bit the bullet and payed for the motorway tolls on A28 from Le Mans to Tours and A10 to south of Poitiers at J.30 for Château Larcher, driving for over 4 hours and skipping lunch, with a quick stop at Super U at Vivonne. We love the motorhome aire at Château Larcher and the walk around the pond and it already felt much warmer with neither wind nor rain. It finally began to feel like the holiday had started at last and my spirits lifted immediately. The local guard came to collect the 5 fee in the evening, a small price to pay for such a charming aire with free water, electricity and very good recycling facilities.

This morning, we left Château Larcher at about 9.30 am and joined the motorway again at Vivonne to head south of Angoulême, where we did another big shop at Auchan at La Couronne and bought 2 spare inner tubes for my bike – just to be sure – as I’ll definitely need it to cycle into Barbotan-les-Thermes from the campsite at Lac de l’Uby, our next big destination.

We wanted to try the motorhome aire at Montlieu-la-Garde, just off the N10, but it was shut, so we’ve come here instead and very nice it is too. This aire at Clérac is lovely and quiet, with a pleasant walk around pond and beyond for Beano and it’s free, very well maintained and with a very large and clean toilet to boot!

Our quiet spot at Clerac motorhome aire

Our quiet spot at Clerac motorhome aire

Barbotan-les-Thermes tomorrow: Oh Yeah!

Amboise, 31st December 2012

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A Festive Amboise

This is our third time at this very convenient and well equipped motorhome aire with a fantastic view of Amboise Château.  We had such a wonderful time last New Year’s Eve that we decided to come back and welcome 2013 at one of our favourite places in France and, where better that right on the banks of the river Loire?  We were more than happy to pay the €20 for our two-day stay here, as it has clean water and electricity included in the price, not to speak of the extremely pleasant walk all around L’Île d’Or, right in the middle of the river, dividing the north and south parts of the town.

 

A festive Amboise

A festive Amboise

 

We arrived yesterday after spending one night at Vars, practically on top of the Charente, as the river was so swollen it had burst its banks and the place we had chosen to stop for the afternoon at Le Portal was badly flooded and we were worried that if it rained again, we might get stuck.  Still, we spent a very pleasant afternoon there and Adonis managed to do some fishing for the first time this holiday and caught two roach.  Vars is just about 10km north of Angouleme, as we were quite keen to find a new overnight stop in the Charente area in order to have more options for the future.

 

The swollen rive Charente at Vars, our overnight stop

The swollen river Charente at Vars, our overnight stop

 

A flooded Le Porta,l where Le Charente burst its banks

A flooded Le Porta,l where Le Charente burst its banks

 

From Vars we went back on the A10 north of Poitiers, Châtellerault and Tours, where we came off at junction 22, south of La Loire and east on D751 to Amboise in time for lunch.

 

Sasha enjoying a good run by the Loire on L'Ile d'Or

Sasha enjoying a good run by the Loire on L’Ile d’Or

After our afternoon walk with Sasha around L’Île d’Or, we went into town to admire the Christmas decorations and enjoy a beer in one of the many lively café bars along the main street by the Château.

 

Christmas lights at Amboise

Christmas lights at Amboise

 

Christmas lights at Amboise

Christmas lights at Amboise

 

This morning I went on a long search for mussels and king prawns, as we fancied these as our last supper of the year.  I first went into the town on the south side of the river, but I couldn’t find a fishmongers or a supermarket selling fresh shellfish, but plenty of oyster sellers on little stalls on the street.  I asked a gentleman who looked local, as he had a carrier bag with shopping in it, and he told me to cross the bridge to the north side and find the market there.  I followed my instinct out of town until I saw signs for Aldi and Intermarché.  I tried the first, but had nothing in the way of fresh fish and so I carried on to Intermarché in Villeret, where I struck lucky and got what I needed.  I was surprised to see it was nearly noon by the time I got back to the van, as I’d left at 10am!

 

Posing by Leonardo da Vinci Statue at L'Ile d'Or

Posing by Leonardo da Vinci Statue at L’Ile d’Or

 

I quickly got changed and we set off to visit Château du Los Lucé Parc Leonardo da Vinci, home to the Artist/Genius from 1516 to 1519 and where he died on 2nd May 1519.  We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the place and it seemed quite surreal to be standing where he’d lived and worked and by the bed in which he died.  We particularly enjoyed the models (both small and life-size) of the inventions he dreamt of, tanks and aeroplanes included.  We loved the fact that there is an exhibition of interactive life-size models in Leonardo’s Garden for people to admire and enjoy and we couldn’t resist the temptation of trying them out: great for children of all ages (especially those pushing 50!).

Trying out one of Leonardo's inventions (an early tank)

Trying out one of Leonardo’s inventions (an early tank)

 

The prototype for a helicopter

The prototype for a helicopter

 

A parachute

A parachute

 

Car and bicycle

Car and bicycle

 

Double staircase: you can see people on the opposite side, but you never meet!

Double staircase: you can see people on the opposite side, but you never meet!

 

Various models of Leonardo's inventions

Various models of Leonardo’s inventions

 

Tank model

Tank model

 

A paddle steamer in Leonardo's Garden

A paddle steamer in Leonardo’s Garden

 

Leonardo's study

Leonardo’s study

 

Leonardo's bed

Leonardo’s bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made it back to the van for 2pm for a later than usual lunch, followed by a quick siesta and another walk around the island and we are now going to get ready to celebrate New Year’s eve with the king prawns and mussels I walked so far to get.

I wonder if we’ll come back here next New Year’s eve again!

 

 

 

Sireuil, Saturday 23rd April 2011

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Sireuil aire and lake

We’ve found another lovely overnight stay bay the Charente river, just 10 km west of Angoulême, on the D699.  Our original plan was to stop at Nersac, but the aire there was by a block of flats and we didn’t like it very much, so we more or less followed the river until we found a suitable place.  This is just by the pleasure boats stop and it’s provided with picnic tables and bins and the grass is cut short and well maintained.

Adonis is trying to fish again, but so far nothing has been landed.

The aire last night was very quiet and welcome after the night before at campsite in Léon.  We slept well and were up just after 8 am, had breakfast and were ready to go by 9.15. 

We drove all morning with usual quick stop for daily baguette and cake and arrived in Nersac for 12.30, but finally stopped for lunch just after 1 pm.

 

 

 

We are again between farmland and the river and it couldn’t be more charming and peaceful.  tomorrow we’ll be heading for a France Passion site just north of Poitiers, so it should be an easy morning’s drive.

Sireuil aire

 

I’ve almost finished sewing puppy soft toy, but need some cotton for filling before I can finally stitch it all up.

I am going to read some more:  Just Dickens and me now!

Sigh at Sireuil aire and lake