Tag Archives: Barbotan-les-Thermes

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.

Lac de l’Uby, Gers, Thursday 31st March 2016

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Stunning sunset at Lac de l’Uby whilst Adonis enjoys a spot of evening carp fishing

 

We have been on the road for a whole week now, but we have finally arrived at our holiday destination at Les Rives du Lac, Lac de l’Uby, between Barbotan les Thermes and Cazaubon, in the heart of Gascogne country.  We got here on Tuesday morning, but we had to wait for the campsite to open for the season yesterday, so we spent a very plesant and sunny afternoon at the motorhome aire by the Tourist Information Office in Barbotan les Thermes and gardens before driving to the lake for the evening, as Wednesday morning is market day in town and parking is not allowed there, as some of the market stalls are placed in that car park.  It was just lovely being parked near the lake and we were able to take Beano for a walk along the shore.

 

The wonderful thermal baths at Barbotan les Thermes

The wonderful thermal baths at Barbotan les Thermes

 

 

Early Wednesday morning, we thought we’d make the most of the warm and sunny weather and we walked into Barbotan to buy some food at the market and came back with a tub of Paella, a punnet of delicious ripe strawberries, some radishes and, of course, our daily baguette and cake.

 

By the time we came back, the campsite had already opened and we duly checked in and set up for the week.  We were able to have lunch and dinner outside in the sun and indeed spent all afternoon and early evening outdoors by the lake, soaking up the much needed rays of sunshine and loving the early spring warmth.

 

Setting up camp for the week

Setting up camp for the week

 

Our pitch seen from across the lake

Our pitch seen from across the lake

 

Adonis got very lucky with his fishing on our first day here and caught a 19 lb (9 kg) carp soon after our evening meal and his luck has continued today with 3 more carp of 17, 25 and 29 lb respectively, even though the sunny weather has left us for now and it has been a very wet and blastery day.  Still, the weather is supposed to improve again for the weekend and we still have another week here, as we are leaving on Friday 8th April.

 

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The first carp of the holiday at Lac de l’Uby in the early evening

 

On the journey down, we stopped at our usual motorhome aires at Wissant, Pont de l’Arche, where we bought some lovely Nids de Pâques (Easter Nest cakes) for our morning coffee break, Villedômer, Verteuil-sur-Charente and a new one for us, Capian, near Bordeaux.

 

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Delicious Nids de Pâques from Pont de l’Arche bakery

 
 
 

Villdômer motorhome aire, one of our favourite stops

Villdômer motorhome aire, one of our favourite stops

 

We really liked the aire at Capian, which also offered a nice dog walk for Beano, past the cemetery and on the edge of the vineyards towards the woods at the far end.  We didn’t visit the Châteaux this time as we still had quite a bit of wine from our shop at Bouloge-sur-Mer, but we’ll make a point of buying some of the local products next time we are in the area.

 

The very attractive motorhome aire at Capian amongst the vineyeards

The very attractive motorhome aire at Capian amongst the vineyeards

 

We also tried stopping at La Bastide d’Armagnac aire, but it was mainly on grass and, as it had been raining, we didn’t think it would be very sensible to park there, although it would have been lovely in drier weather.  We finally stopped briefly at Notre Dame des Cyclistes chapel, but it was closed and couldn’t visit inside, althogh we still managed a couple of photos outiside in the rain.

 

Getting wet at Notre Dame des Cyclistes

Getting wet at Notre Dame des Cyclistes

 

I loved this gate at Notre Dame des Cyclistes

I loved this gate at Notre Dame des Cyclistes

 

I am afraid to say I have a bone to pick with the Lady of the Cyclists as I had a puncture on my bike this morning on the way back from the wonderful bakery at Cazaubon, just opposite the Château, and had to walk back (about 15 minutes), but Adonis has replaced the inner tube and hopefully, I’ll cycle into Barbotan les Thermes tomorrow and take some pictures of this most charming of towns.

Camping Lac de l’Uby, Gers Department, Wednesday 9th April 2014

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Beautiful weather at Lac -de-l'Uby

Beautiful weather at Lac -de-l’Uby

 

We have spent a wonderful week here with lots of sunshine and hot weather, reaching 24 ºC with exception of last Thursday, when it rained all day, but luckily it cleared by Friday afternoon and we’ve been wearing shorts and t-shirts for the most part.

 

Enjoying 7 days of fishing

Enjoying 7 days of fishing in the sun

 

This is a magnificent place to relax and that’s mainly what we’ve been doing all week: Adonis fishing (he’s caught 7 carp varying in sizes, the biggest one being about 12 kgs) and I’ve been reading my French magazines and my kindle and crocheting.

 

A successful fishing session

A successful fishing session

A 12 Kg Catch!

A 12 Kg Catch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the reasons for coming here was for me to enjoy some of the treatments at the Barbotan-les-Thermes Spa and last Saturday, I spent 2 hours there, where I had the marvellous Soin Sérénité or Serenity Treatment, which consisted of a choice of 3 among their essential treatments and I opted for the jet shower, the massaging shower, the massaging bath and the kaolin bath, all fantastic and more than enough to leave anyone feeling like new: it was worth every cent of the €79 that it cost and I’d highly recommend it.

 

A lovely flower display at Barbotan-les-Thermes

A lovely flower display at Barbotan-les-Thermes

 

 

I cycled every morning, either to Barbotan or to Cazaubon, as we are in between these two towns, to get a baguette, cakes and drinks and this morning I had a stroll through Barbotan’s Wednesday’s market, where I bought lots of local produce (all very reasonably priced) as well as a double portion of paella for tonight’s dinner, which was absolutely delicious.

 

Lazy Sunday afternoon at Lac de l'Uby

Lazy Sunday afternoon at Lac de l’Uby

 

One of the highlights of the week for me has been meeting Danielle, a fellow camper and crocheter, and we’ve been showing each other our crocheted items and swapping ideas. She makes small figurines in cotton, which she sells at Christmas markets, and she’s given me one of her elves to hang on my Christmas tree. She caught me by surprise earlier on, so I intend to give her one of my wire bracelets in return. She also told me about these various crafts workshops they do at Barbotan’s Tourist Information Office and this afternoon I joined her on a ‘Quilling’ workshop, making flowers out of thin coloured strips of paper and then turning them into pictures or greeting cards. We were there for 2 ½ hours and the time flew by as we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We have swapped email addresses, so I hope we’ll keep in touch. I have to say that all this has been wonderful for my French too as nobody spoke English there!

 

The Quilling picture I made at Barbotan's Tourist Information Office

The Quilling picture I made at Barbotan’s Tourist Information Office

 

We have also enjoyed some stunning sunsets, when every minute seems to be an opportunity for a picture.

 

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Never too late to fish!

Never too late to fish!

 

 

 

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Tomorrow we’re heading for the lake at Biscarrosse and I hope to stay at the motorhome aire at Gastes. I hope the weather holds!

 

A walk around Lac de l'Uby

A walk around Lac de l’Uby

 

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St Nicolas-de-la-Grave, Tarn-et-Garonne Department, Tuesday 1st April 2014

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Lake at St Nicolas-de-la-Grave

Lake at St Nicolas-de-la-Grave

 

We spent a lovely day at Meung-sur-Loire on Sunday after an easy drive from Pont-de-l’Arche following the N154 past Evreux, Dreux and Chartres to Orleans and then took the A10 south west to J.15.

 

Attractive Motorhome aire at Meung-sur-Loire

Attractive Motorhome aire at Meung-sur-Loire

 

Collegiate at Meung-sur- from motorhome aire

Collegiate at Meung-sur- from motorhome aire

 

 

We really loved the free motorhome aire there by the river, sports facilities and with lovely views of the Collegiate and the Château, which we visited in the late afternoon, having forgotten that the clocks had gone forward and it was already 5 pm and not 4 pm, as we thought. Still, we paid our €8.50 entry fee and, although the château was supposed to close at 6 pm, nobody came looking for us and they let us finish our visit undisturbed. We finally came out at 6.40 pm with the attendants waiting by the gates ready to lock up. 

 

Meung-sur-Loire

Meung-sur-Loire

 

The Chateau at Meung-sur-Loire

The Chateau at Meung-sur-Loire

 

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The modern façade of the chateau

The modern façade of the chateau

 

 

It’s amazing how each château has something different or unique to offer, and on this one, we really enjoyed the loft, where the laundry would have been dried, and the Medicine and Herbal rooms. There was also a short video in the dungeons, 7 metres below ground, with a brief history and information about the place. Well worth the visit!

 

 

The Medicine room

The Medicine room

 

The Herbal room

The Herbal room

 

The attic/laundry room

The attic/laundry room

 

All set for a special feast

All set for a special feast

 

The dungeons, where a short video is shown

The dungeons, where a short video is shown

 

 

Yesterday, we turned east to join the A71 south of Orleans to Vierzon and the A20 south to Châteroux, past Argentan and La Souterraine to J.25 to Lac de St Pardoux, where we spent a relaxing afternoon and Beano enjoyed a swim and a play with his ball in the lake. It was lovely to see him run on the grass and the sand after having spent a whole month in the crate and having only short walks on the lead. His leg seems to be fine now and we hope he’s not going to have any future problems with it.

 

St Pardoux lake

St Pardoux lake

 

 

St Pardoux was beautiful and quiet and we enjoyed a very peaceful evening with a chilli con carne followed by the second episode of series one of ‘House’, which we have bought especially for this trip, and very good it is too!

We are also very happy with our new ‘All the Aires in France’ Vacarious guide book, as it has pictures and brief information about the location of each aire, as well as GPS co-ordinates, except that our new TomTom has packed up and it’s absolutely useless at the moment. We are annoyed about this, as we spent over £300 before the summer holidays last year, so it’s only barely 6 months old and have hardly used it! We might have to send it back.

 

Wild camping at St Nicolas-de-la-Grave

Wild camping at St Nicolas-de-la-Grave

 

 

This morning, we topped up with water at the bourne, which works with a jeton (token) to be bought from the Information Centre, and we set off again at 9 am back on the A20 south past Limoges, Brive-la-Gaillarde, Cahors and Montauban, where we took off at J.65 (only £13) west on D958, past Castelsarrasin and a short distance north to St Nicolas-de-la-Grave. We were here on our Christmas holiday 2012 with Sasha and it had been very wet and I didn’t get to enjoy the place, but today it’s been very hot and sunny (25 ºC in van) and I took Beano for a long walk by the beautiful lake and came back when he started panting. I then sat outside in the glorious sunshine for nearly 2 hours until the wind picked up and it cooled down. The parking is free, but there’s no bourne here, as we are in the Plan d’Eau and not actually in the proper aire, so I expect we’ll go there to empty tomorrow before going to Barbotan-les-Thermes, our first proper stop of the holiday at a campsite.

 

Beauty Therapy at Barbotan-les-Thermes Health Spa, Gers, Wednesday 3rd April 2013

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Barbotan-les-Thermes Health Spa

Barbotan-les-Thermes Health Spa

 

I had a bit of a rush this morning, when I realised we hadn’t put our watches and clocks forward yet  (3 days overdue) and it wasn’t until I heard the church bells that I realised it was already 9 am!  Good job we had got up early anyway, so I had time to finish my breakfast and cycle to the Spa at Barbotan, where I had my appointment for a kaolin bath and a facial cleansing at 9.30 am.  It is also very fortunate that it’s a very easy and short cycle ride there, even though the market was on and I couldn’t really cycle on the road that leads to the Spa, so I had to push my bike and walk even faster than my usual pace (which isn’t very slow, I hasten to add).

 

Barbotan-les-Thermes Health Spa

Barbotan-les-Thermes Health Spa

 

I made it on the nick of time with a few minutes to spare and got ready for my treatment, which was prompt and just as heavenly as I expected.

We started with the kaolin bath (€30), which I had never had before.  The very friendly therapist explained how the treatment would proceed and gave me some information about the minerals contained in this very light and white clay as she was brushing my whole body with it, which felt just wonderful, like a hot cream being spread.  After I was covered in kaolin from my neck down, she wrapped me in the plastic sheet I was lying on and switched on the floating bed, making the mattress sink slightly to meet the hot water below, giving a gentle massage which lasted for 20 minutes.  This has to be one of the most relaxing and enjoyable things I’ve done in my life and I would have gone to sleep if it’d lasted any longer.  I was really loathe to leave, but I still had my facial to look forward to.

So after a shower in the same cubicle, I proceeded to my next treatment (€8 for a simple facial) and a different therapist.  I’ve always enjoyed this and they used to be part of my monthly treats once upon a time, but I hadn’t had one in a few years and, again, it was just magical.  I love the scents of the products used and the light finger touch around my eyes, forehead and jaw: another little pleasure in life.

After the treatment, the therapist gave me a leaflet with the Décleor products she used for every step of the treatment: the cleansing milk (with lavender oil essence, orange and kiwi), the exfoliation cream (jojoba and cardamom), the eye lotion and the moisturising cream with flower nectar.  I bought this last one as an extra treat and I look forward to using it in the coming weeks.

All I can say now is that I left the Spa wanting to make another appointment to try other treatments of the many offered there, from thermal waves to manicures: pure heaven!

 

Barbotan

Barbotan

 

The rest of the day has been very relaxing indeed, adding to it that it has been the hottest day of the year for us so far and we enjoyed a bit of sunbathing, wearing shorts, hats and sunblock, as the sun was really biting by mid-afternoon (26°C in the van).

 

Barbotan

Barbotan

 

View from Barthelemy Gardens

View from Barthelemy Gardens

 

Adonis’s caught another carp: this time 18lb (9kg) and I’ve finished another motif for my crocheted tablecloth.  A very productive and fulfilling day all in all.

 

Another carp (18lb - 9kg)

Another carp (18lb – 9kg)

2 more nights to go here at wonderful Barbotan-les-thermes.

 

Pond at Barthelemy Gardens

Pond at Barthelemy Gardens

 

 

Barbotan

Barbotan

 

Barbotan

Barbotan

 

Barbotan

Barbotan

 

Crocheting and relaxing in the sun at Camping Lac de l'Uby, Barbotan

Crocheting and relaxing in the sun at Camping Lac de l’Uby, Barbotan

 

 

 

 

 

Cazaubon Motorhome Aire, Sunday 12th August 2012

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Cazaubon motorhome aire

What can I say?  Yet another superb motorhome aire right by Lac de L’Uby, more or less half-way between Cazaubon and Barbotan-les-Thermes.  It only costs €6 a night, plus a €60 deposit at the Tourist Information Office in Barbotan-les-Thermes, where it is necessary to report in order to get the key for the barrier, as the aires guide book rightly informs.

 

Cazaubon motorhome aire

 

 

I have to say this is the most attractive TIO I have ever seen, as well as the biggest, in a lovely square with ample space for parking and with very friendly and helpful staff.  You book in, pay your deposit and they let you choose, pointing at the map of the aire and lake, between shaded, semi-shaded or sunny pitches for the motorhome.  You then get a key with a pitch number according to your choice.  We got number 26, which is under two mature weeping willows, just perfect for this hot weather and only a few metres away from the lake.  The price also includes electric hook-ups and, of course, there is fresh water and emptying facilities, as well as toilets of the stand-up variety, which are not to my liking and better suited for men.

Plenty of shade at Cazaubon motorhome aire

The aire itself is within cycling distance of the Base de Loisirs (outdoor leisure facilities such as canoeing, sailing, etc) and the campsite, as well as the two villages mentioned above.  The pitches are large and there are lots of picnic spots under trees and wooded areas for walks with dogs, riding or just relaxing.  Not bad at all for just €6 per night.  When will England learn to be so welcoming to motorhomes?

 

A helping hand with a heavy carp

 

This is our second day here and we’re planning to stay tomorrow as well, especially after Adonis caught a 15kg carp this afternoon.  It really was the event of the day, as other fishermen came to help to land this beautiful specimen as well as a number of spectators who found the whole thing very exciting and were taking pictures too.  It’s a shame Adonis wasn’t taking part in the fishing competition going on on the opposite side of the lake:  I’m sure he would have won a prize!  Still, he was the star of the show on this side, which made him happier than a child on Christmas morning!  He was really in his element and it’s wonderful to see him enjoying himself so much.  Well earned, I think.

 

A helping hand with a heavy carp

 

 

The biggest excitement of the day!

A delighted husband with his 15kg carp

This morning, I cycled to both villages, first to Barbotan-les-Thermes, which is obviously mainly dedicated to thermal baths, being a spa town.  All the shops seemed to be closed, so I enjoyed a gently stroll through the quiet streets and the gardens, where I was amazed at some of the aquatic plants growing in the large ponds: they were enormous and I’d never seen anything like it.  They must have been an exotic variety of water lilies, but upright, with large pink flowers at the end of long, upright stalks.  I must find out what they are.  Shame I didn’t have my camera on me.

After that, I cycled in the opposite direction back to Cazaubon, where a carboot sale was being held and where I bought a very pretty net curtain for our motorhome door as well as our daily baguette.  I took the opportunity to wander about the XII century streets too and then I cycled back to the aire.  My t-shirt was soaked in sweat after almost 2 hours cycling, so I really welcomed a swim in the Uby lake.  This is just a wonderful oasis in very hot land and a real find.  It has got everything we need: good weather, a lake for fishing and swimming, lots of shade in the woods, tranquillity and all between two charming little towns.  I’ll certainly remember the thermal baths when I get older and start suffering from aches and pains: a delightful place to heal.

 

Like a child at Christmas!

There are also lots of activities going on in Cazaubon for the summer fêtes, like ‘Concours Landais’, a sort of bull-challenge, wildboar meals, beach rugby, concerts, fireworks, etc, so all kinds of entertainment to please everyone.

We will definitely come back here again, but it’s only open from 1st March to 30th November.  I bet it would be fantastic in the winter too…