Tag Archives: Ardennes

Givet, Ardennes, Sunday 7th July 2013



The much needed lake at Givet after a long drive

The much needed lake at Givet campsite after a long drive



We were supposed to be in Namur, Belgium, for the weekend, but once again, plans had to be changed at the last minute as Belgium didn’t turn out to be as motorhome-friendly as we would have liked and we were forced to head back for reliable, laid-back France.


The crossing from England on the Eurotunnel went without a hitch and we even boarded ½ hour earlier than expected, as it was very quiet, with very little traffic or queues. So we got to Calais by 7 pm and headed straight for the motorhome aire at Gravelines, about 12 miles west of Dunkerque. We were lucky to find a space here so late in the day, but managed a beautiful spot right on the quay at Port de Plaissance facing the warm sunset and with a patch of grass too for table and chairs! We enjoyed a glass of chilled white wine before our pizza and had an early night to have a proper rest before our drive to Mons, Belgium, in the morning.


Enjoying an evening drink at motorhome aire at Gravelines

Enjoying an evening drink at motorhome aire at Gravelines


A well placed motorhome aire at Gravelines

A well placed motorhome aire at Gravelines



The Quay at Gravelines

The Quay at Gravelines


So yesterday morning we set our brand new Tomtom with the address of the Waux Hall campsite in Mons and went merrily on our way. Again, we made very good time following the A16 to Junction 57 to the A25 to Lille, A27 to Tournai (Belgium) and finally A16 again to Mons. I loved the new Tomtom format of telling us the number of the road we were following and in which direction, a major improvement on the old model. This one, the 1005 Camping, is specifically for large/tall vehicles as we want to avoid the problems of past trips, namely around Versailles when we encountered height barriers, narrow roads, etc.

We got to Mons by 11.45 am and were very pleased to have beaten the usual lunch-time closing time of 12 noon, but, alas! Lady luck wasn’t on our side this time and we were dismayed to find the

campsite shut due to ‘major’ works!!!


Lake at Givet campsite

Lake at Givet campsite


We quickly decided to head for our second planned destination at the aire in Namur, another hour due east from Mons and we were making good time again until we encountered a huge traffic jam on the motorway just 5 miles before the exit to Namur. So we snailed our way to Namur inch by inch and arrived to the desired destination by 2 pm. To add to our woes, the road to the motorhome aire was blocked and we had to stop just outside the chateau/restaurant, where apparently the whole town had decided to have a picnic on this very hot Saturday afternoon. We joined the weekend masses for our quick lunch and studied the aires book and map, but couldn’t find anything else in the area, nor any wild camping spots along the way, so we decided to head straight down south for France, where this campsite was indicated just over the border.


Looking for a fishing spot at Givet campsite

Looking for a fishing spot at Givet campsite


We arrived in Givet at around 3.30 pm and headed straight for a much needed swim in the lovely cooling lake, with a sandy beach and all and even areas for fishing! We booked for 2 nights and we have thoroughly enjoyed a day ½ of rest here.


This municipal campsite, like so many others in France, is just simply fantastic and terribly cheap: just 17.40 for 2 nights! It has a café-restaurant, the showers are comfortably hot without being scorching and very clean and there are the usual washing facilities with even indoor washing lines should it rain, not that I need that today.


This morning, I strolled into town to buy a baguette and tobacco for Adonis and took the opportunity to look around this lovely old town on the river Meuse. Unfortunately, I didn’t take my camera, but it’s definitely worth a few hours, with lots of café-bars by the river, a lovely square and Town Hall, church and lots of shops.


I managed to get a picture of the river Meuse whilst leaving Givet

I managed to get a picture of the river Meuse whilst leaving Givet


Somehow I managed to lose my bearings and couldn’t find the road back to the campsite, so I popped into the tourist information office for a plan of the town and the lady on duty clearly marked the road to follow. Just when I thought I was getting better finding my way around places! I think I’ve lost my confidence again or it could be I just got dizzy in the heat and going round and round the town looking at the sites! At least I made up for it the rest of the day by lying in the sun and swimming the the lake.


No idea where we are going tomorrow!

Lac des Vieilles Forges, Ardennes, Saturday 7th July 2012


Beach on lake at Les Vieilles Forges, Ardennes

It’s been a long day driving today, as the aire we had chosen to stop at at lunchtime and for the night at Catillon-sur-Sambre, just southeast of Le Cateau-Cambresis, was shut for the weekend to accommodate a motorbike rally, so we kept on driving and stopped at the canal at Landrecies, where we had lunch, but 2 noisy teenagers arrived and started playing their music and singing along, so we thought it’d be better to move on.

We are now on a completely different route on this holiday, as we are crossing the north of France in a south- easterly direction with the idea of spending some time in the Alsace region before crossing into Germany.  Other than that, we have no plans whatsoever and we haven’t booked any campsites at all, so we are travelling on a whim with no schedules to tie us down.

I must admit I’m finding it very strange not having Bramble with us, as he sadly passed away only 10 days ago, on Wednesday 27th June.   The reason why he was getting sick so often was a tumour that taken over 70% of his stomach lining and was also attached to a vital part of his liver.  He only had a few days to live, so we had to have him put down while he was still under the effects of the anaesthetics.  I miss him terribly and it’s going to be a while before I can enjoy travelling like this fully again.

Arques motorhome aire


Our new route took us on the A26 from Calais to junction 3 and we paid just over €5 for our short journey to Arques, where we stopped on Friday night at the motorhome aire right by the lake.  This is a funny aire, as the facilities are actually just outside the campsite, but the parking area itself is a bit further down on a gravel lane and you need to call at the campsite for the assistant to come and open the barrier at a price of €3, so it isn’t free, as the aires guide claims!  Still, it’s pretty enough and we enjoyed a very peaceful evening and silent night.

This morning we woke up in the beautiful sunshine and already 20°C by 8 am and took some pictures of the swans and coots with their chicks.



Coot’s chicks at Arques by motorhome aire



We needed to stock up on food, wine and beer, so we headed for Béthune on the D943, but found no supermarket there so we continued southeast to Arras and found a Leclerc at Noeux les Mines.  All done by 10.30 am!

After lunch at Landrecies, we followed the SatNav all the way here and I must confess I fell asleep for about 45 minutes and can’t remember much about it, apart from TomTom saying “after 800 metres turn right”.  This is very unusual for me, as I like to follow the map while Adonis drives, but we don’t usually travel after lunch and siesta time got the better of me.


Pitch at Les Vieilles Forges campsite


This campsite is attractive enough, with big enough pitches, without being too generous, and it’s above a lake, but too far for Adonis to go fishing.  Nothing like Lac des Varennes or Ile des Trois Rois, with such large pitches and right on the lake.  All the pitches seems to be under trees, so there’s plenty of shade for when it gets really hot.  It’s been very sunny and hot today for most of the day, but we had some rain just after lunch.


Les Vieilles Forges lake


I must mention I wasn’t very impressed with the shower I had earlier on at about 5 pm, as it was only lukewarm and not very pleasant.  I hope it’s hotter tomorrow, as we’re staying here for 2 nights.  Watch this space!



Yes, a bit strange without Bimble, but it’s still nice to be away.  I’ve been driving a lot today, so we’ll stay put for a couple of nights.  The site is OK and flat, but it’s a bit cloudy, but warm.  We’ll have a look around the lake on Monday and decide from there.  Not really worried, though, because there’s a good aire at Stenay and an (apparently) really nice site at Villey le Sec, where I can fish.  Anyway, I’ll try to have a swim tomorrow in the lake and it’ll be good to do nothing, although there’ll be plenty of that over the next few weeks! (Months!)


Enjoying the sun at Les Vieilles Forges


Morning walk around Les Vieilles Forges lake