Tag Archives: Auchan

Escalles, Pas de Calais, 15th April 2015

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The beautiful walk up the hill from Escalles

The beautiful walk up the hill from Escalles

After our pleasant stay at Veigné, we went straight to Pont-de-l’Arche for our appointment with the vet on Tuesday to get Beano ready for our return to England, but again, things didn’t quite go according to plan. I duly turned up for my morning appointment, but while I was waiting, the receptionist received a call and, judging by what she was saying to the person on the other side of the phone, I knew it was bad news for me. Indeed, when she got off the phone, she very apologetically explained to me that the vet on duty had been held up with an emergency at their other surgery and she wouldn’t be able to see me at the appointed time but that I could return at 5 pm if I wanted. I knew immediately that that time wouldn’t work for us and I replied I would check with my husband back at the motorhome aire and I would ring back confirming or cancelling the appointment. Back at the aire, Adonis wouldn’t even consider this new arrangement even for one moment, so I phoned back as promised and explained we had to go.

A quick search on the internet informed us of a vet in Neufchâtel-en-Bray (2 Boulevard Industriel) and I phoned hoping to get an appointment for that day, which we did at 4pm, but at least we were that bit further up north and well within the time limit of 24 hours after the vet’s check-up and worming tablet for Beano to be allowed back in the UK on Thursday morning. We were delighted with their efficient and helpful service and even more delighted when I actually went there and found that the vet could speak perfect English, which always helps, even though I can manage quite well in French. So we have now made a note of this newly discovered vet surgery and might make it a regular thing.

Whilst in Neufchâtel-en-Bray, we stayed at the new and wonderful motorhome aire by the camping Sainte Claire which we discovered last year. This aire is gated and costs 12 for 24 hours, payable on departure, and includes water, electric hook-up and the best recycling facilities I have seen anywhere so far in our travels. It is also very close to Leclerc hypermarket and other retailers, so it’s very handy for shopping, as well as within walking distance of the town and the vet. It was a very hot day and we made the most of the sun enjoying our meals and drinks outdoors, both in the sun and shade (when the sun proved too hot) and wished we could have stayed there another day.

I had to laugh when we were ready to leave the aire at Neufchâtel-en-Bray and I went to the payment machine only to find that it was out of order and I had to phone the guard, who came after a couple of minutes on his bike to collect cash from me and open the gate manually, so that was very efficient too.

From Neufchâtel-en-Bray, we carried on to Auchan in Boulogne-sur-Mer for our usual big shop to stock up on enough wine, beer and cheese to see us for a few weeks until we return and we were happy to see that Junction 31 was open again, al least on the northbound side of the motorway.

The magnificent view from Mont Hubert over Cap Blanc Nez and Cap Gris Nez and Wissant

The magnificent view from Mont Hubert over Cap Blanc Nez and Cap Gris Nez and Wissant

Our final stop of the holiday was to be at Escalles, where we stayed for the day and night at the big car and coach park, at the foot of Mont d’Hubert, which is popular during the day for walkers who wish to enjoy the magnificent views of Cap Blanc Nez from the top of the cliff. It is not an official aire as such and not many motorhomes stop for the night, but we have done a few times now and we have been allowed to stay, so until an official guard tells us otherwise, we shall carry on stopping there, as it is more pleasant than the one at Wissant, which has got too overcrowded in the last couple of years.

The car and coach park at the bottom of Mond d'Huber at Escalles

The car and coach park at the bottom of Mond d’Huber at Escalles

Before our 'last supper' in France at Escalles with Dover, UK, in the background

Before our ‘last supper’ in France at Escalles with Dover, UK, in the background

We treated ourselves to a wonderful meal at L’Escale Hotel and Restaurant, just down the road from the car park and, although initially we were told they were full, while we were having a drink at the bar, the barman came back to say they had now a free table if we still wanted it, which of course we did. We both ordered from the set menus, which work out very economical, starting from 16.50 for 3 courses, and thoroughly enjoyed our ‘last supper’ in France. A bientôt, ma cherie France!

Pont-de-l’Arche, Eure Department, Saturday 29th March 2014

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Church of Nôtre Dâme des Arts, Pont de l'Arche

Church of Nôtre Dâme des Arts, Pont de l’Arche

 

We are back at this lovely motorhome aire, one year to the day, and it looks even better today, as the sun’s been shining all day and it’s hot – 24 ºC inside – and very pleasant indeed outside. For the first time this year, we’ve gone out for a walk in shorts and t-shirts and sat outside a café in town and enjoyed a beer in the sun. I hope this will keep up for the next 3 weeks, but that’s too much to hope for…

 

Going for a strol in town in the sun

Going for a stroll in town in the sun

 

Old half-timber houses at Pont-de-l'Arche

Old half-timber houses at Pont-de-l’Arche

 

We left England yesterday evening on the 5.20 pm Eurotunnel crossing as always, which wasn’t very busy at all. We only just made it by the skin of our teeth, for the traffic on the M25 was bad and we had to crawl along for a while. So we were in Calais for 7 pm, local time, and found a very busy aire at Wissant, with only the bus lanes available, which we are loathe to use as you could be moved on, so we parked on the far side from the road by the houses and the little lane leading to the town, which is not a proper bay but not really in the way of traffic flow.

 

Enjoying a beer in town outdoors

Enjoying a beer in town outdoors

 

I had made a pizza at home to cook in the van and, although I kept turning it every few minutes, somehow it managed to catch fire and in a matter of seconds the van was engulfed in smoke and I could hardly see Adonis at the other end. After opening the windows, moving the shelf a bit higher and turning the oven control down, I got busy with a tea-towel waving it and shaking it about in order to clear the smoke. 10 minutes later, we had our lovely home-made pizza, slightly charred at one end on the bottom, but very edible and tasty, which we enjoyed with a bottle of Californian Cabernet-Sauvignon. Must remember to move shelf up next time at the beginning of cooking time, but I believe the pizza base caught fire because I put a generous amount of olive oil when making dough, as it makes it taste a lot better. Live and learn.

 

Old Wall Tower at Pont de l'Arche

Old Wall Tower at Pont de l’Arche

 

We had an early start this morning, as Adonis woke up and came down at 7.30 am and I followed some 15 minutes later and we were ready to leave Wissant by 8.30 am en route to Auchan at Boulogne-sur-Mer, where we tend to do our big shop for the week and fill up with diesel. We were out by 10 am and didn’t stop until we got to Pont-de-l’Arche (just south east of Rouen) at 12.30 pm, so very good going indeed.

 

View of river from the hill

View of river from the hill

 

We were surprised to see that the field adjacent to the motorhome aire had been taken over by travellers and at lunch-time there were quite a few cars and caravans coming in and out of their camp, which was a bit irritating as they turned in and out of it just behind us with a very narrow margin and I feared they might hit us, but luckily they were good drivers and no accident occurred and it’s all quiet now at 5 pm. They were very good neighbours.

 

The river Eure by motorhome aire

The river Eure by motorhome aire

 

This is still a beautiful aire by the river Eure and with lovely views of both, the river bank and the town itself, with the church of Nôtre Dâme des Arts on the hill right above. The campsite at the other end of the aire is open now and it looks very pretty, with lots of blossom on the trees at the moment, so that could be a possibility if the aire is full.

 

Campsite by the river Eure at Pont-de-l'Arche

Pretty Campsite by the river Eure at Pont-de-l’Arche

 

 

We are going to Meung-sur-Loire tomorrow, south of Orleans, a new route for us and I am really excited about going to a new place.

 

 

 

St Valerie-en-Caux and Le Crotoy, Thursday 21st Feb 2013

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Le Crotoy

Le Crotoy Quay with motorhome aire in background

 

It looks like fate has brought us back to this lovely town of Le Crotoy again, as our intention was to stop for the day and spend the night at Le Tréport, about 20 miles further south, but the motorhome aire on top of the cliff by the cable lift, or funicular, was a bit too exposed to the elements – if with beautiful views and good facilities – and being such a  bitterly cold day, we thought we might be better off at sea level, so here we are again, protected from the wind by the sand dunes and the town within easy reach.

Sea-side houses on Le Crotoy beach

Sea-side houses on Le Crotoy beach

 

How is this for a holiday resort home?  Le Crotoy sea-front

How is this for a holiday resort home? Right out of a fairy tale.  Le Crotoy sea-front

 

We’ve just been for a long walk along the beach and through the town, as it’s more sheltered than the marshes.  Back on 3rd of January, when we last came here, we had Sasha the Saluki with us and I can almost see her leaping about in the marshes, chasing the birds.  I am saddened that we no longer have her, as she turned out to be so destructive in the house when we were back at work.  Still, it’s just Adonis and I again doing the long walks, like in the good old days.

 

Le Crotoy beach

Le Crotoy beach

 

Yesterday, we stopped the night at the magnificent aire on the pier at St Valerie-en-Caux (free off season), right below the cliffs that remind me so much of Dover.  Again, it was a brilliant sunny, if cold, day and we enjoyed a long walk on the sea front and the marina.

 

St Valerie-en-Caux motorhome aire

St Valerie-en-Caux motorhome aire

 

St Valeir-en-Caux motorhome aire and lighthouse

St Valeir-en-Caux motorhome aire and lighthouse

 

 In the evening, we went for a wonderful meal at ‘Le Restaurant du Port’, run by Véronique et Olivier Warin, on 18 Quai d’Amont, right opposite where the fishing boats moor.  Earlier on in our walk we’d seen the fishermen arrive and unload their catch, so we knew the seafood served at the restaurant would be very fresh.  The restaurant is very pleasant indeed, smartly but simply decorated.  The hostess/waitress was charming and very friendly and efficient and the food was absolutely superb and delicious.  I had the Flan aux Poireaux (leek and smoked fish mousse) followed by the Poisson du Marché (or catch of the day), which consisted of 3 different kinds of fish (cod, sea bream and tuna) and to finish I had the mouth-watering crème brulée.  Adonis had a paté made of pig’s trotters and black pudding in a vinaigrette sauce, followed by scallops and a selection of cheeses.  We couldn’t have hoped for a better meal or setting and it was just the perfect treat to see us on our way back home.

 

Henry IV house and museum at St Valerie-en-Caux

Henry IV house and museum at St Valerie-en-Caux near Marina

 

St Valerie-en-Caux port and fishing boats

St Valerie-en-Caux port and fishing boats bringing in their catch

 

St Valerie-en-Caux Marina

St Valerie-en-Caux Marina

 

We reluctantly left the warmth of the restaurant to face the chilly night on our way back to the motorhome aire and slept peacefully all night, to be woken up by the sound of seagulls and the rising sun: total bliss!

 

Motorhome aire on cliff top at Le Treport

Motorhome aire on cliff top at Le Treport

 

It was an easy drive this morning from St Valerie-en-Caux to Le Crotoy, following the D925, past Dieppe and Le Tréport, where we only stopped for coffee and to fill up with water at the aire on the cliff top.  It was handy that payment at the services borne is done with credit cards and there is a choice of several services (stopping for 24 hours, 48 hours or just use the water and electricity for 1 hour for only €2.

 

Le Treport seen from cliff top

Le Treport seen from cliff top

 

So, after coffee and a few moments to enjoy the scenery and take pictures of marvellous view, we were on our merry way again and got here soon after midday.  It’s going to be another spectacular sunset today, as it’s been the whole week, ever since last Saturday at Boulogne-sur-Mer, where we’re heading for our final shop at huge Auchan once more tomorrow.

 

Le Treport from cliff top by funicular

Le Treport from cliff top by funicular

It will be Wissant’s aire (free all year round, but no water or electricity available) again after that for an early rise and departure from the Eurotunnel back to England on Saturday morning.

We’ll be back at Easter, so watch this space…

Honfleur, Calvados Dept, Sunday 17th February 2013

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Honfleur quaint harbour

Honfleur quaint harbour

 

We have spent a most wonderful day at this very attractive and popular sea-side town of Honfleur in northwest France.  We arrived here shortly after 1 pm following the A16 from Boulogne-sur-Mer to Abbeville, A18 to southwest of Neuchatel-en-Bray and A29, crossing the magnificent and impressive Pont de Normandie.  The Motorhome aire costs €10 a day and it includes electricity and water in the price.  It is within a few minutes walk of the harbour and it commands wonderful views of the Normandy Bridge and surrounding marsh land.

 

Crossing the Pont de Normandie

Crossing the Pont de Normandie

 

We’ve just been for a long walk around the town, its public gardens and quay in the very welcome sunshine and blue skies, which I was so much in need of.

 

Strolling through Honfleur

Strolling through Honfleur

 

The town was heaving with tourists and the café terrazas were full with customers enjoying a drink in the winter sunshine.  We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our gentle stroll around the resort, a favourite amongst painters and affluent Parisians.  It was from here that explorers set sail for the New World and from where the Normans transported their goods back to England.  Samuel de Champlain left here in 1608 on his way to found Quebec City and in 1681 Cavalier de la Salle set off to explore the New World and, finding the mouth of the Mississippi, called the region Louisiana in honour of Louis XIV.

Honfleur Harbour

Honfleur Harbour

 

We loved the harbour and old buildings, as well as the Public Gardens with the Jardin des Personaltiés, where various busts of famous personalities with a connexion to Honfleur are placed within boat-shaped hedges.  We finished our walk with a nice beer in the harbour, sat outside just after 5 pm in the sun and, even though it wasn’t exactly cheap (€8.40 for 2 ½ pints) we felt it was worth every cent.

Le Jardin des personalites

Le Jardin des personalites

 

I just loved this fishing boat with its nets drying in the sun

I just loved this fishing boat with its nets drying in the sun

 

A different view of Honfleur harbour

A different view of Honfleur harbour

 

 

The Motorhome aire at Honfleur with the Normandy Bridge in the background

The Motorhome aire at Honfleur with the Normandy Bridge in the background

 

We had another smashing day in Boulogne-sur-Mer yesterday after doing our usual shopping at Auchan (junction 31 off A16).  We stayed at the motorhome aire on the cliff-top as we did 3 years ago when we first started motorhoming in 2010.  The co-ordinates are Lat 50° 44’ 39” N  Long 1° 35’ 50” E.  It’s good I can quote co-ordinates now, as we bought our new Guide Officiel Aires de Services Camping Car 2013, which for the first time includes this very useful information, even though we already knew about this particular one.  The overnight stop cost €5.25, which we paid to the very friendly gendarme who came at around 9 am on Sunday.

 

The motorhome aire on the clifftop at Boulogne-sur-Mer after sunset

The motorhome aire on the clifftop at Boulogne-sur-Mer after sunset

 

Once again, we set off to explore the sea-front promenade and we were delighted to find a couple of seals playing and splashing about in the sea very close to the shore.  I took a few pictures, despite the fact that it was hard to capture the exact moment when they popped out of the water.  We continued our walk all the way past Nausicaá, http://www.nausicaa.co.uk/ the local aquarium, and round back again to capture the most spectacular sunset, which I was very proud to photograph for posterity.  It was very interesting to see all the freshly caught fish stalls by the harbour, so we must remember this for next time we come.  We had already done our shopping, so we didn’t need it this time.

 

Seal playing in the water

Seal playing in the water

 

Seal waving in the water

Seal waving in the water

 

sea-front houses and restaurants at Boulogne-sur-Mer

sea-front houses and restaurants at Boulogne-sur-Mer

 

Nausicaa, the local aquarium

Nausicaa, the local aquarium

 

I loved all the sea birds gathered on the quay

I loved all the sea birds gathered on the quay

 

A cormorant drying its wings in the setting sun

A cormorant drying its wings in the setting sun

 

Spectacular sunset at Boulogne-sur-Mer

Spectacular sunset at Boulogne-sur-Mer

 

This has to be my best picture ever! Priceless sunset at Boulogne-sur-Mer

This has to be my best picture ever! Priceless sunset at Boulogne-sur-Mer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are heading for the landing beaches tomorrow and might make it as far as Utah Beach if time permits.

 

 

 

Le Crotoy, Thursday 3rd January 2013

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Le Crotoy as seen from motorhome aire.

Le Crotoy as seen from motorhome aire.

 

My first entry of the year happens to be on the Bay of the Somme on a misty, but warmish afternoon.  The thermometer in the van reads 17 °C and, as we haven’t had the heating on since 1.30 pm and it’s 4.45 pm now, the temperature inside can’t be very different from the outside.

 

Motorhome aire as seen from the Bay of the Somme

Motorhome aire as seen from the Bay of the Somme

 

We’ve just come back from a long walk with Sasha around the bay and the marshes and Sasha had a whale of a time leaping about, chasing the seagulls and the ducks.  I took lots of pictures all the way as I never tire of the beautiful sight of the town of Le Crotoy from the motorhome aire and the marshes.

 

Sasha enjoying herself on the marshes of the Bay of the Somme

Sasha enjoying herself on the marshes of the Bay of the Somme

 

 

Enjoying a long walk around the Bay

Enjoying a long walk and a run around the Bay

 

The aire still costs €5, plus €2 for the water and electricity borne if needed.  There are 8 vans here at the moment and it’s hard to imagine now how busy it was in the summer, with hardly any spaces left, even though the parking area is quite big, with room for 200 vehicles!

 

The Bay of the Somme

The Bay of the Somme

 

The Bay of the Somme

The Bay of the Somme and Le Crotoy

 

We thoroughly enjoyed our break at Amboise, as always, and left on 1st January for Montbizot, north of Le Mans, following mainly the D938/338 from the north of Tours.  Montbizot has a little aire with enough room for 6 motorhomes, but the water and electricity supply borne was switched off for the winter, but as we had topped up in Amboise, it didn’t really matter.  Again, the river Sarthe was overflowing and the walking area and path were waterlogged and flooded in parts, so walking was difficult and Wellington boots were a must!

After Montbizot, we carried on north on the D338 past Alenҫon and D438 to Broglie, where once again we had made an appointment with the vet to have Sasha wormed and checked before returning to England.  The guard came early in the evening to collect the €5 fee and we also bought a jeton (token) for water for €2.50 to last us until the end of the journey.  We were glad to see that everything was in working order.

It felt very strange this time round not to have Bramble with us, as we’ve been here so many times with him, especially during the walk along the Charentonne river.  Even the vet asked about him.  Still, Sasha loved the walk too and I hope it will be the first of many happy walks in this lovely village.

The vet was booked for 8.30 am, so we made an early start this morning and got here for 12.30 pm, following the A28, joining it at junction 14 north of Bernay and on past Rouen, but we had to take the A150 for a little while as the bridge was still closed on the Eastern side of the city and the traffic was diverted westwards.  We joined the A28 again at J.11 and followed the usual route past Abbeville to J.1 and D40 to Le Crotoy without any further disturbances to the traffic.

 

Le Crotoy

Le Crotoy

 

Various aquatic birds at the Bay of the Somme

Various aquatic birds at the Bay of the Somme

 

We are off to Auchan at Boulogne-sur-Mer for our final big shop to stock up on wine and beer before our final overnight stop at Wissant and going home.

We’ll be back in February!

Our parking spot at the motorhome aire of Le Crotoy

Our parking spot at the motorhome aire of Le Crotoy