Tag Archives: Dompierre sur Charente

Niort, Deux Sèvres, Saturday 22nd August 2015

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Original Dragon sculpture in central Niort

Original Dragon sculpture in central Niort

Bourdeilles (Dordogne Department) was absolutely lovely: a little medieval town with an impressive château dating back to the 14th century still preserving its medieval gardens, growing all kinds of medicinal herbs and other edible plants like rhubarb, courgettes, etc and with access to some spooky caves which we entered to accompany a couple of little girls who asked me very kindly and sweetly if I could go in with them. Luckily, they had a torch on their phone and we were able to see into the depths of these ‘caverns’. I was surprised to see that there were blankets in the ground in a couple of them, so it looks like they are still being used!

Medieval Bourdeilles on the river Dronne

Medieval Bourdeilles on the river Dronne

View of river and town from bridge

View of river and town from bridge

Enigmatic rock carvings on Château walls

Enigmatic rock carvings on Château walls

Enjoying the views in Bourdeilles

Enjoying the views in Bourdeilles, looking down on Medieval Gardens

Medieval Gardens at Bourdeilles Château

Medieval Gardens at Bourdeilles Château

About to enter caves in Medieval Gardens

About to enter caves in Medieval Gardens.  Do you dare?

Exploring the caves using a mobile phone light!

Exploring the spooky caves using a mobile phone light!

Bourdeilles from a bit further up the river in afternoon light

Bourdeilles from a bit further up the river in afternoon light

We stayed at the motorhome aire by the Municipal swimming pool, right by the river Dronne, with easy access to the town over the quaint ancient bridge and with lovely views of the château and town. Nobody came round to collect the 4.50 daily fee, maybe because we were not exactly in the official aire, which was a few metres away on grass or because it was Sunday. Either way, we spent the night for free at this most charming of places in the Périgord.

Motorhome aire seen from bridge expanding river Dronne

Motorhome aire seen from bridge expanding river Dronne

View of Bourdeilles from motorhome aire

View of Bourdeilles from motorhome aire

On Monday, we drove to the Municipal campsite of La Fontaine du Pre St Jean at Dompierre-sur-Charente, near Cognac, as we really like it there, and we booked for 5 days, which came to a grand total of ₤54.70!  We usually enjoy this site for its peace and quiet, easy access to the river for swimming, fishing for Adonis, the Bac crossing the river and long walks along the Charente for Beano, but this year the usual tranquillity of the place was shattered by a group of young teenagers and children who came to the picnic area by river just outside the camping in the early afternoon and stayed till the evening, being rather too loud for our liking and accompanied by a dog that would not stop barking. This certainly was the case on our last night, Friday, when the rowdy group arrived at around 2.30 pm, waking us up from our siesta, and they were still there 5 hours later, with an almost constant bark from the wretched dog. We felt annoyed about this, as we were paying customers and they weren’t, and they really spoilt it for everyone, so much so that we were actually glad to leave in the morning. Shame!

The peaceful Municipal Camping of La Fontaine du Pre St Jean at Dompierre-sur-Charente

The peaceful Municipal Camping of La Fontaine du Pre St Jean at Dompierre-sur-Charente

The picnic area by the Charente river outside campsite

The picnic area by the Charente river outside campsite

The 'bac' providing a river crossing service during the summer months

The ‘bac’ providing a river crossing service during the summer months

I couldn't resist this happy sunflower by the river Charente

I couldn’t resist this happy sunflower by the river Charente

After our shopping in Leclerc this morning, we carried on north on the free A10 to Niort and were very glad to find a couple of available pitches at this wonderful motorhome aire, attractively separated by old stone walls and hedges for privacy and so near the city centre over the bridges: a real bargain for ₤7.50 a night, to include electricity and water. The fee is collected by guardian in the evening.

Our pitch at Motorhome aire at Niort, with hedges and stone walls separating parking bays

Our pitch at Motorhome aire at Niort, with hedges and stone walls separating parking bays

I really enjoyed my walk with Beano in the park along the river Sèvre Niortaise by the aire while Adonis cycled 5km out of town to get some fishing bait. It is a very attractive leisure area for families with a well equipped children’s playground, fitness course and pony rides.

Niort seen from park

Quaint Niort 

After Beano’s walk and Adonis’s cycle ride, we walked into town just to look around and cool down with a beer at one of the many bars at the Esplanade du Jardin de la Brèche.

The Esplanade du Jardin de la Brèche in N

The Esplanade du Jardin de la Brèche in Niort

Niort really is a very charming city, with a mixture of old and new and even the shabby-looking old houses only seem to add to the overall charm of the place, with a great feeling of space and laid-back attitude. Les Halles de Niort Market near the Donjon (or Château de Niort) are open every day except Mondays, offering all kinds of specialities of the region and are worth a visit. We didn’t go inside the Donjon this time, as it was getting late, but it is something I would like to do on our next visit.

The Donjon de Niort

The Donjon de Niort

We also discovered on our way back to the aire an Indian restaurant and thought it would be a good idea to try it, but then Adonis read a good review of another one, The Taj Mahal, also very close to the aire, and we decided to go there instead, but, although the starters were very good (a selection of Samosas, Onion Bhajis, prawn puri, etc) the main courses did not quite hit the mark and they were definitely not a patch on what we are used to at home in England. Nevertheless, it was still a good evening out and the service was courteous and efficient and the prices reasonable.

Shabby façades in Niort only add to the charm of the city

Shabby façades in Niort only add to the charm of the city

Water mill near the motorhome aire

Water mill near the motorhome aire

Tomorrow, we are heading north to Parthenay, only 45 minutes away!

Soubise, Charente Maritime, Saturday 16th August 2014

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Charming Soubise

Charming Soubise with motorhome aire visible on right of picture

 

Alfter spending 5 very lazy days at the tranquil municipal campsite of Fontaine du Pre St Jean at lovely Dompierre-sur-Charente, we are now ready to make our way to Brittany, which we intended to do on the first week of our travels, but the weather changed our plans then and we thought we could do it on our way back north instead.

The tranquil Fontaine Pre de St Jean

The tranquil Fontaine du Pre St Jean on the banks of the Charente river

 

We didn’t do much at all at Dompierre other than fishing, reading, crocheting and walking Beano along the river. The weather was a bit temperamental and nowhere near as hot as last time we were here and visited Cognac in the sweltering heat. This time, we had a combination of sun, wind, showers and storms, maybe because of Hurricane Bertha coming from the west, but we still managed to lounge around outside the van and eat outdoors everyday.

 

the idyllic river Charente by Dompierre

the idyllic river Charente by Dompierre

 

We really like the simplicity and laid-back feeling of the place and watching passengers on the ‘bac’ (barge) crossing the Charente river on their cars and bicycles, all the more enjoyable for being the only working ‘bac’ left in France!

 

The 'bac' on the Charente, the last of its kind

The ‘bac’ on the Charente, the last of its kind

 

 

The campsite itself is basic with adequate toilet and washing facilities and just by the river with direct access through a back gate. It only costs 11.16 a day for a pitch with electricity, so what’s not to like?

It certainly seems to be getting more and more popular as, despite the dogey weather, it was fairly busy with campers, caravanners and motorhomers, but still very quiet, peaceful and idyllic.

 

A flooded reserved pitch due to unseasonal weather

A flooded reserved pitch due to unseasonal weather

 

This morning, we left heading for Rochefort, past Saintes on D24 and D137 and did our weekly shop at Super U in Toonay-sur-Charente, just east of Rochefort. We then joined the motorway for just one junction (32 to 31) and south on D733 to Soubise’s motorhome aire. This is another wonderful aire for only €7 a night, with electricity, water, showers, toilet and washing facilities, all included in the price! There is plenty of shade, a charming pond with fishing and a lovely dog walk. Weird to think we are so close to the mouth of the river Charente, just a few kilometres north!

 

Motorhome aire at Soubise, with lovely walks around

Motorhome aire at Soubise, with lovely walks around

 

The fishing pond at Soubise

The fishing pond at Soubise

 

There is also a restaurant here right by the Capitainerie on 2 Rue Henri Drouet called Lestran and that’s where we’ll be eating tonight as it looks absolutely lovely and authentic. I’ve seen they’ve got ‘Moules Frites’ for only €7, as well as crêpes!!!

 

 

Enjoying a walk around motorhome aire

Enjoying a walk around motorhome aire

 

The 'Yacht' park

The ‘Yacht’ park at Soubise

 

Old cannons by Marina

Old cannons by Marina

 

Tomorrow, we’ll be heading towards Nantes and hope to stop at the motorhome aire at St Philbert De Grand Lieu.

L’Île Bouchard, Monday 20th August 2012

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Our pitch at Les Bords de Vienne,  L’Ile Bouchard

 

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years and 4 ½ months since we came here for the first time on our first ever trip to France in our motorhome and we had Pepo and Bramble with us then.

The place is just as charming and relaxed as we remember it, with the stunning willow trees on the bank of the river Vienne and loads of space around us.  The river is much lower now and there is a little beach with a sort of cordoned area for safe swimming, as the current is really fast.  The municipal campsite is a lot more lively now in the height of summer, with a few young families having fun playing, swimming and jumping from the floating pier to cool off from the heat.

Young families cooling off

Last time we were here on 5th and 6th April 2010 it was just us and another camper from Cornwall: happy memories already flooding back.

The truth is we weren’t planning to come here today, but to V.I.P. Pêche on the Plan d’Eau at Ayron, near Poitiers, but we were extremely disappointed to find it was shut when we got there.  Apparently the contract was terminated in April 2012 and, although there is still fishing in the lake, both the campsite and the shop/bar were permanently shut.  We couldn’t believe that it’d all happened so quickly, as we were only there last October when they were holding a fishing competition, which seemed to be very popular, judging by the number of fishermen on the banks of the lake.

L’Ile Bouchard and the river Vienne

So it was that we had to think quickly and come up with plan B and, after a glance at the map, I saw my circle round L’Île Bouchard, just over 1 hour’s drive north on the A10, from J.29 at Migné Auxances to Châtellerault at J. 25 and then just about 10 km west towards Chinon.  It was a good move, for we arrived at this campsite, Les Bords de Vienne, for 1 pm without feeling too tired and the calm and beauty of this place is enough to fill anybody’s heart with joy.

We’ve booked for 2 nights, but we might stretch it to 3, as there’s no rush to go anywhere.

So hot even the cows went for a swim

After leaving Dompierre-sur-Charente yesterday, we headed north on the D150 past Saintes and St Jean-d’Angely and the D950 past Aulnay to Melle, where there is an aire outside the municipal campsite, but it wasn’t quite appropriate and we headed for the Base de Loisirs de Lambon, just northwest of Melle, where we found another lovely lake, very popular with the Sunday pick-nickers and fishermen alike, so that’s where we stopped for the day to enjoy the shade and the fishing.  Everyone left between 8 and 9 pm, so we had the place all to ourselves again in another little gem of the French countryside at Deux-Sevres.

Sunset at L’Ile bouchard

 

 

Sunset at L’Ile bouchard

 

Evening entertainment at L’Ile Bouchard

 

Going …

 

Going …

 

 

 

Gone!

 

Willows trees at L’Ile Bouchard

 

L’Ile Bouchard

 

 

 

Base de Loisirs de Lambon

 

 

 

Punta Lago Campsite, Leon, Landes, Sunday 17th April 2011

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Punta Lago campsite, Leon, Landes

A very hot day here in southwest France and we intend to stay here for a week, so I hope the weather holds.

The meal in Amboise was absolutely fabulous.  We sat in the conservatory, which seemed to be full with British people mainly, but there were also a French couple and two young men who sounded American.  The restaurant was called L’Alliance, run by Pamela and Ludovic Meunier, and it couldn’t be more pleasant, with very friendly service too and reasonable prices.  We decided to go for the menu at 22E plus an aperitif of Kir de la maison and a bottle of Vouvray.  I had the ‘Noix de St Jacques’ and the Coc-au-vin with tagliatelle and Adonis had the stewed beef and a fillet of fish (sandre), followed by some fruit in a cream sauce slightly brulée on top.  All together it came to about 70E, which we paid very gladly  and satisfied with everything.

We should have waited to go to bed a bit longer, as I think we were both a bit too full to sleep properly and I had a slight headache, which kept me up for a couple of hours at least after 1.00 am.  We got up early and left for La Charante, where we stopped again for the night at Dompierre with a prior stop at Chey aire for lunch (on the D611 , about 25 km east of Niort and 40km south west of Poitiers), which was very convenient and clean, with free water.  I was a bit too tired and after eating pizza, I read for a bit and went to bed while Adon did some fishing, although he didn’t catch anything.  

Another early morning start today and left river by 9.30 am, with a quick stop and boulangerie for baguette and cake, this time pear tartelette, which we’ll have tonight after steak haché and saute potatoes.

Steak Hache and saute potatoes

Lac de Leon, Landes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We arrived at the campsite at 12.30pm and set up before lunch, then we went for a walk and a swim in the lake.  I am doing my first lot of washing and I’m waiting for machine to finish, which can’t be much longer now.  No doubt everything will dry very quickly here.

Leon, Landes

 

Swimming in lake at Leon, Landes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adonis is trying to get the internet going, but we’ve just discovered it’s 8 E a day or 22 E a week and we agree it’s not worth it.  I am going to check my washing!

Dompierre-sur-Charente, Monday 23rd August 2010

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Wild camping in Dompierre sur Charente.

Here we are again by the bank of the Charente river as we were on 14th July.  We left the campsite at Leon just after 9 am and made it here before 1 pm, so not a bad run altogether, with exception of some slow traffic at the exits near Bordeaux.

It’s nice and cool and much more pleasant than further down south.  We had lunch and a nap and just taken Bramble for a walk and Adonis’s had a swim, so he’s drying outside while I write.

We saw a copule of majestic storks while walking Bramble and Adon managed to take some pictures of them on the ground and in the air.

 

 

It should be a quiet night, just heating up some leftover chicken from last nights’s dinner and I’ll be making patatas bravas.  Off to somewhere north of Tours tomorrow, as we don’t seem to be able to come up with a suitable aire where to stop the night.

Swimming in the Charente river

                                                                                                                       

Stork in flight

Storks on the ground