Tag Archives: Broglie

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.

Le Crotoy, Somme, Thursday 5th November 2015

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Le Crotoy Bay at low tide

Le Crotoy Bay at low tide

Our stay at Broglie was very quiet and peaceful, with only one other motorhome staying for the night. We enjoyed our usual walks around the water gardens, where we fed the ducks, and along the Charentonne river to the old water mill, with Beano off the lead now, as he is getting very good with his recall, long last!

After our visit to the vet first thing in the morning, we set off from Broglie at about 9 o’clock and followed our usual route to Le Crotoy, still one of our favourite spots on our return journey.

 

Too many potholes at Le Crotoy motorhome aire

Too many potholes at Le Crotoy motorhome aire

We were a bit disappointed, however, with the poor state of the motorhome aire, which is in desperate need of repair, being as it is full of potholes, made a lot worse by the recent rain, and one needs to constantly change direction to avoid them: it really felt like a mine field. Given that the aire is always busy and that the fee has increased to €6 a day, there is no excuse for such poor maintenance and it seems a bit complacent on the part of the local council, as motorhomers also spend a fair bit of money in the bars and restaurants in town, which no doubt helps the local economy. We can only hope that Mayor will take notice and carry out the necessary repair work.

 

The entrance to the motorhome aire: simply not good enough

The entrance to the motorhome aire: simply not good enough

Our walk around the bay had a totally different feel to it today, as the tide was completely out and the landscape looked completely alien. It was lovely, though, and we thoroughly enjoyed it, as usual.

Walking around bay at Le Crotoy

Walking around bay at Le Crotoy

 

Bay of the Somme

Bay of the Somme

Bay of the Somme and Le Crotoy

Bay of the Somme and Le Crotoy

In the evening, we went to the Restaurant du Port and enjoyed a most exquisite seafood dinner of mussels in Roquefort sauce, fresh prawns and sole. I can’t wait for next time!

It’s shopping at Auchan in Boulogne-sur-Mer and Wissant for the rest of the day tomorrow, with our Eurotunnel crossing on Saturday. We’ll be back on the road on 18th December for our Christmas holiday in Alsace!

Wissant, Pas de Calais, Tuesday 1st September 2015

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Attractive Rugles

Attractive Rugles

We arrived at Wissant’s aire early enough this morning to be able to pick and choose a bay for our day and overnight stay, which is quite a luxury here these days, as the last couple of times we tried, it was absolutely packed and we ended up in Escalles or Audinghen, but, as it happens, there were only 3 other motorhomes on our arrival at 11 am. I am very pleased about this because I really enjoy our walks on the wonderful beach and it looks like the weather is brightening up a bit after a very wet day yesterday at Le Crotoy.

motorhome aire at Rugles

motorhome aire at Rugles

After La Fresnaye-sur-Chédouet, we travelled just a little further north east to the very attractive motorhome aire at Rugles, right by the park and the old water mill, which was free and also provided a free electricity hook-up and water, which is very unusual indeed! It was a hot day again and we enjoyed strolling along the old village and park, although we were slightly disappointed about the fact that most of the shops, including the butcher and pizza takeaway, were closed so I ended up making a Spanish omelette after a quick visit to the local grocery store, which was open, fortunately.

Water mill in background at Rugles

Water mill in background at Rugles

Looking toward the village from Rugles Park

Looking toward the village from Rugles Park

From Rugles it was only a short drive slightly north west to Broglie, where we spent all day Saturday and Sunday and, luckily, the weather remained sunny and very warm and we were able to eat outside and walk Beano along the Charentonne river to the lovely old water mill. On Sunday morning, there was a car boot sale by the aquatic gardens and we went to have a look, but there wasn’t anything of particular use to us.

Quaint Broglie

Quaint Broglie from Aquatic Gardens

Broglie

Broglie

Broglie

Broglie

Feeding the ducks in Broglie

Feeding the ducks in Broglie by aquatic gardens

The wonderful motorhome aire at Broglie

The wonderful motorhome aire at Broglie

I took Beano for his Pet Passport check at the vet’s on Monday morning and we left Broglie just after 9 am for Le Crotoy, which we so much like and always makes the end of the holiday that little bit more pleasant. The weather turned nasty again though, raining most of the morning and early afternoon, but it cleared sufficiently to allow us a long walk along the bay with Beano, where we can safely let him off the lead so that he can enjoy a good run to his heart’s content.

Beano's walk on the Bay of the Somme

Beano’s walk on the Bay of the Somme on a bleak summer’s day

We went for another seafood meal at Le Saint Pierre restaurant on the seafront and, as always, we were most impressed with the quality and freshness of the food, as well as the friendly and efficient service.

A very wet Le Crotoy, but beautiful all the same

A very wet Le Crotoy and motorhome aire, but beautiful all the same

I’ve just been for another walk with Beano on the newly built promenade at Wissant, but I hadn’t been there very long when a young gendarme approached me on his bike and told me the dog wasn’t allowed on the promenade and that I had to walk ‘in the street’. Very surprised by this, I got off the promenade and started walking on the road, following another dog walker a bit further on, but to my astonishment, the gendarme came cycling behind me again and said the dog wasn’t allowed there either!!! I felt most indignant about this and took off to a side street and started walking back to the aire without having been able to take any pictures and cursing under my breath at this most ridiculous of rules and I fear that until Beano and I develop the ability to fly, we won’t be going to Wissant’s promenade ever again!

The tide was right up and there wasn’t a patch of sand available, but I bet dogs won’t be allowed there either now that it has been all tarted up. I still think this goes absolutely against the wonderful and relaxed French attitude of ‘laissez faire’. Quel dommage! 

And so it ends a wonderful holiday that last lasted for 8 weeks and 4 days and I feel I am ready to start all over again, but it is home tomorrow morning and we’ll be back on the road again on 23rd October for 2 weeks for our autumn half-term break.

Quend-Plage-les Pins, Thursday, 1st January 2015

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Sand dunes on Quend-Plage-les Pins

Sand dunes on Quend-Plage-les Pins

On this first day of the new year, we find ourselves back at the motorhome aire at Quend-Plage-les Pins, as when we came here last Saturday, the weather was rather atrocious and we didn’t get to enjoy a long walk on the beach as we had intended. So, after 4 very cold days at Broglie and La Suze-sur-Sarthe, we thought we would like to give it another go and we haven’t been disappointed.

The stunning setting sun at Quend-Plage-les Pins

The stunning setting sun at Quend-Plage-les Pins

We’ve just come back from said second attempt and it was just absolutely lovely, with a beautiful sky lit by a stunning setting sun and the tide completely out, which gave us masses of sandy beach to stroll on and for Beano to enjoy some proper ball-chasing time. It is obviously a very popular area for walkers, judging by the number of people joining us, even on this cold, winter day.

Belle Dune Eco Village

Belle Dune Eco Village

On the way down, we walked through what looks like a brand new Eco Village by the motorhome aire, and very charming it looks too, but I have the feeling that it is more a holiday complex rather than permanent homes, as most of the houses looked quite small. Still, it is very pretty indeed.

Closer

Closer

So we went back to Broglie yesterday after our two-day stay at La Suze-sur-Sarthe, which turned out to be free after all, as nobody came to collect fees and the paying machine was out of order. At Broglie, we took Beano for his pet-passport check and worming tablet, which made him very sick, and spent another very pleasant afternoon at the aire and walking along the Charentonne river to the water mill and beyond.

Christmas Break 2014 029

This morning, we got talking to a couple of ladies parked next to us on their 8-week break heading for Almería in south east Spain, as their 2 leisure batteries had packed up and their van wouldn’t start, so Adonis helped with a jump-start so that they could go merrily on their way to warmer climates. It just made us feel very grateful for our Elddis Autostratus serving us so well and not letting us down in the freezing cold. Our heating has worked very well, both on gas and electric, and it only takes a few minutes first thing in the morning to warm it up enough for me to get out of bed.

A very cold morning at Broglie's motorhome aire

Broglie’s motorhome aire

This is it for now. We’ll do our shop in Auchan in Boulogne-sur-Mer tomorrow and then we’ll spend the rest of the day at Wissant, where we hope to go for another long walk on the gorgeous beach.

The start of a stunning sunset at Quen-Plage-les Pins, seen from the motorhome aire

The start of a stunning sunset at Quen-Plage-les Pins, seen from the motorhome aire

Take 2

Take 2

Take 3: fire in the sky!

Take 3: fire in the sky!

We’ll be on the road again at Easter and we hope it’ll be much warmer then.

La Suze-sur-Sarthe, Sarthe, Tuesday 30th December 2014

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Charming La Suze-sur-Sarthe

Charming La Suze-sur-Sarthe

We have spent two very cold, but with bright blue skies, days at this charming (and one of our favourites), motorhome aire (N47° 53.333′ E000° 01.850′). It would normally cost 5 a day to include overnight stay, water and electricity, but the paying machine is out of order and the water’s been turned off due to the freezing weather, although the electricity hook-ups are still working, thank goodness, as we have needed the heating on all the time and it would have used up a lot of our gas. The aire was full last night at the far end (8 vehicles), but there would have been ample more space right by the river if needed.

All spaces taken up at the motorhome aire at La Suze-sur-Sarthe

All spaces taken up at the motorhome aire at La Suze-sur-Sarthe

We have enjoyed lovely leisurely walks along the river Sarthe and Adonis has had a couple of fishing sessions, albeit in short bursts, due to the biting cold. We walked into town in order to buy some bottled water from the local Carrefour Market, as we fancied a shower today and didn’t want to use up all our reserves in the tank. The funny thing is, as I started writing this, it looks like the water has been turned on again and we have now topped up, which will see us for the next 3 days.

The quaint bridge at La Suze-sur-Sarthe

The quaint bridge at La Suze-sur-Sarthe

Looking upstream from the bridge with quay and motorhome aire on left

Looking upstream from the bridge with quay and motorhome aire on left

Enjoying the peaceful sights along the River Sarthe

Enjoying the peaceful sights along the River Sarthe

Which one to pick?

Which one to pick?

We also had a very pleasant stay and long walks along the Charentonne river at beautiful Broglie, where we probably spent the coldest night ever during our motorhoming trips. It’d been -5°C during the night and yesterday morning we woke up to frost on the inside of the windows in the above-cabin sleeping quarters! It really was a shock to the system and it was a while before I got up after Adonis bravely climbed ‘downstairs’ to switch the heating on. Tonight, as we have electricity, we intend to leave the heating on, so, hopefully, it won’t be so unpleasant in the morning.

Walking along the Charentonne river at Broglie

Walking along the Charentonne river at Broglie

The Charentonne River

The Charentonne River

While at Broglie, I walked to the vet’s to make an appointment for tomorrow, as we’ll be going back to England on Saturday morning and Broglie is the most convenient place to take Beano for his pet-passport check, they are very friendly and they know us now.

The water mill at Broglie, where time seems to have stopped

The water mill at Broglie, where time seems to have stopped

This short break is going all too fast from my liking. Sometimes I wish I could just stop time…

Motorhome aire at Broglie

Lovely soothing light Motorhome aire at Broglie

Dinan, Ille-et-Vilaine, Tuesday 19th August 2014

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Charming Medieval Dinan

Charming Medieval Dinan

 

This is our second, and sadly, last day in Brittany, as there has been a slight change of plans and we are returning home a couple of days earlier than anticipated.

 

Soaking up the atmosphere in Dinan

Strolling on the cobblestone streets in old Dinan

 

We have enjoyed our short stay in this stunning region very much as it hasn’t been as crowded as we feared this time of year and neither has it been too hot to make it uncomfortable, so we’ll probably come back at some other time in the future and go further west, as I would have liked, as far as Finisterre, the most westerly point in France. Still, that leaves us with something to look forward to in the future.

 

Chateau Dinan

Chateau Dinan

 

Dinan is a beautiful medieval town with half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets as well as a very impressive castle, Château Dinan, which contains a collection of traditional Breton lace headdresses, but we preferred to walk around the charming old streets and have a drink at one of the many bars. I really enjoyed my Kir Breton, which contained cider, a very refreshing and delicious drink indeed.

 

The Chateau walls

The Chateau walls

 

We are staying at the Municipal Campsite for only 15.10 a day and I have to say that I’ve just had the worst ever shower on my travels (now on our 5th year): only a trickle of water reached me from the high shower head and perhaps I should have moved to the next cubicle, but not knowing if it would be any better, I stuck with it till the bitter end. The funny thing is that one of the reasons why we like to stay in campsites is to have the ‘luxury’ of hot showers without having to use up all our water in the van, so if these facilities are not good, there’s little point in coming. Well, I suppose we also have electricity and we can charge up our mobile phones and Kindle, so let’s look on the bright side!

 

Savouring the local flavours: Gorgeous and refreshing Kir Breton

Savouring the local flavours: Gorgeous and refreshing Kir Breton

 

Yesterday, we visited another charming medieval town with an impressive castle: Josselin, and again, we went for a long walk around the town, along the river Oust and the town’s gardens, with a trail for children to follow and stunning hydrangeas with conical flowers, the like of which I had never seen before. Funny how neither of us was in a mood for visiting the castle, but sometimes a gentle stroll getting lost in a new place is just as much fun and, after all, we have seen and visited our fair share of châteaux!

 

Josselin Chateau on the River Oise

Josselin Chateau on the River Oust

 

I love how these castles were built on natural rocks and cliffs

I love how these castles were built on natural rocks and cliffs

 

We stayed at the free motorhome aire by St Martin’s Church, which was a tad too busy for our liking, but still quiet at night and we both had a good night’s sleep.

 

The busy but free motorhome aire at Josselin by St Martin's Church

The busy but free motorhome aire at Josselin by St Martin’s Church

 

View of Josselin from the town bridge

View of Josselin from the town bridge

 

Half-timbered house in Josselin

Half-timbered house in Josselin

 

Josselin en Fete

Josselin en Fete

 

Amazing conical hydrangea flowers

Amazing conical hydrangea flowers

 

The gorgeous hydrangea bush with conical flowers

The gorgeous hydrangea bush with conical flowers

 

 

The day before that, we stayed at the motorhome aire at St Philbert de Grand Lieu by a lovely lake, around which we took Beano for a long walk. It had no electricity, but it did have free water, it was peaceful and on hard standing. There was a huge municipal campsite nearby which might be useful for future reference.

 

Motorhme aire at St Philbert de Grand Lieu by the lake

View of Motorhme aire at St Philbert de Grand Lieu by the lake

 

Wakling around lake

Walking around lake at St Philbert de Grand Lieu

 

Tomorrow, we’ll be heading east again to the lovely La Ferté-Macé before moving north again to Broglie and our usual visit to the vet.

We’ll be back on the road during the October half term!

Broglie, Le Crotoy and Wissant, 16th-18th April 2014

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Bhe Bay of the Somme at Le Crotoy

Bhe Bay of the Somme at Le Crotoy

 

We finished our Easter escapade staying at the usual reliable motorhome aires. Broglie’s aire is an excellent base to take Beano to the vet’s for his check up before returning to England and to have a relaxing walk along the Charentone river. The aire is beautifully kept, with hard standing, but grassy areas for picnics and is still only 5 a night (same price as 4 years ago), which is collected by a guard in the evening, and it has a borne for water and electricity that works with a jeton or token. It has room for 8 vehicles, but we were the only ones there for most of the day. It is just a little gem of a place and the village is also quaint and picturesque, with all the facilities one could need.

 

The charming aire at Broglie by the Charentone river

The charming aire at Broglie by the Charentone river

 

Quaint and charming Broglie

Quaint and charming Broglie

 

We spent a hot day at a very busy aire at Le Crotoy. We had never seen it so busy and it felt a bit crowded, but with such wonderful views of the Bay of the Somme and the town itself, it is hardly surprising that it’s so popular. We went on our usual walk around the bay and, as always, my camera seemed to be working overtime, as it is a kind of place that seems different every time we go due to the light changing. I just can’t get enough of this place.

 

Broglie to Wissant April 14 014

 

The forever beautiful, Le Crotoy

The forever beautiful, Le Crotoy

 

This gull crossed my path just as the camera was shooting

This gull crossed my path just as the camera was shooting

 

Broglie to Wissant April 14 004

 

My favourite photo of the holidays.

My favourite photo of the holidays.

 

At Wissant, we were surprised and disappointed to see how many motorhomers show complete disregard for local residents and rules, parking in the zones clearly marked for buses, even when there wasn’t any more room in these either, and causing total chaos when the buses finally arrived at the end of their day. We watched in amazement and dismay as the buses struggled to get in the aire, as it had been blocked by one of the ‘illegally’ parked motorhomes, and felt sorry for the bus drivers knocking on the vans’ doors, but the occupiers had gone into town and there was nobody to move these vehicles. Totally shameful and unacceptable, in our opinion. I fear that this kind of inconsiderate selfish people will spoil it for the rest of us in the long run and tighter measures will be introduced. I hope the aire won’t shut altogether, but it wouldn’t surprise me either. We might stop up the road at Escalles on our next trip, as we keep seeing in on our way down and it looks more spacious. We’ll see.

 

Unacceptable parking at Wissant aire

Unacceptable parking at Wissant aire

 

Buses struggling to get into aire due to bad parking

Buses struggling to get into aire due to bad parking