Tag Archives: France Passion

Plage de Pampelonne, Côte d’Azur, Var, Tuesday 23rd July 2014

Standard
Amazing yachts at Plage de Pampelonne

Amazing yachts at Plage de Pampelonne

 

I really wanted to see what all the fuss was about in this area and I certainly have! Adonis wasn’t so sure about driving anywhere near la Côte d’Azur, but we were so near that is was a shame not to. We have been suitable impressed by the gigantic yachts that must cost millions of pounds moored just off shore and close enough to swim to. I must admit that while I was enjoying a swim in the gorgeous warm Mediterranean sea, I was tempted to swim up to one of them and ask them for a refreshing, cooling beer, but I managed to control myself even though the famous jingle of “Two pints of larger and a packet of crisps, please” kept ringing in my ear. I wonder who owns these monsters of the seas and what you have to do in life in order to be able to afford one if you are not Royalty or a Hollywood star! The mind boggles…

 

Close enough to  swim to

Close enough to swim to

 

We arrived here just before midday today after spending a very quiet and peaceful day a the France Passion site of Château des Demoiselles between Mui and La Motte, where we had a very warm reception by the hostess and where we did some Rosé and white wine tasting and, as usual, we walked away with half a dozen of their fine and refreshing product. We were told we could stop a couple of nights if we wanted (with plenty of shade at no extra cost) which was good to know, but we really wanted a water source for swimming and cooling off, so the obvious choice was to drive to the coast, a mere 12 miles away as the crow flies. We chose to come to this beach just south of St Tropez, hoping it would be a little quieter and not quite so manic as St Tropez itself or Ste Maxime to the north.

 

Our shady spot at Chateau des Demoiselles

Our shady spot at Chateau des Demoiselles France Passion site

 

Plenty of space around us

Plenty of space around us at Chateau des Demoiselles

 

The lovely and peaceful vineyard

The lovely and peaceful vineyard around us

 

Closer

Enjoying a walk through the vineyard

 

As expected and warned by the hostess at Les Demoiselles France Passion site, the moment we hit Ste Maxime the traffic slowed down to snail pace and we were bumper to bumper for about half an hour all the way to port Grimaud and les-marines-de-Cogolin, where we cut across on minor road D61 to Ramatuelle, a very pretty old town where we stopped for baguette and some Parma ham for lunch, as we are running low on supplies and need to stock up very soon.

 

Driving through Ste Maxime at snail pace

Driving through Ste Maxime at snail pace

 

We did not enjoy our drive on D559 at all, even at 10am, as it was already becoming unbearably hot, but it is the only and compulsory route between Ste Maxime and St Tropez. As the traffic was so painfully slow, I did manage to snap a few shots of the towns, which I think might be quite good.

 

Ste Maxime

Ste Maxime

 

Beano is not having a good time of it either, as I don’t think this intense heat really agrees with him and he’s had a runny tummy to boot. Goodness know what he’s scoffed down!

 

Trying to keep Beano cool swimming in the Med!

Trying to keep Beano cool swimming in the Med!

 

The traffic did ease out after Cogolin and I really enjoyed walking in the charming town of Ramatuelle, even though I didn’t have much time, as Adonis and Beano were waiting in the van on top of the hill in the baking sun.

We were lucky to get in this very busy aire, only 200 metres away from the beach, and were very happy to pay the 8 for the day, as it has water, toilets and cold showers (very welcome in this heat). It is also a very pleasant walk on the sandy path to the beach and we even have room to put out the awning!

 

The motorhome aire 200 metres away from the beach!

The motorhome aire 200 metres away from Pampelonne beach!

 

Our pitch at the motorhome aire.  Just about enough space for awning!

Our pitch at the motorhome aire: just about enough space for awning!

 

We have decided against going any further east and into Italy due to the awful traffic, so we’ll be going west again towards Portiragnes in the Herault Department to visit Adonis’s parents. Not sure where we’ll be staying tomorrow yet. Qué será, será…?

Vaas, Sarthe Department, Tuesday 15th April 2014

Standard
Vaas seen from bridge

Vaas seen from bridge

 

We didn’t go as far as Richelieu yesterday as we had originally planned, for it was getting a bit late in the morning after doing our shopping at Vivonne, just south of Poitiers on the N10, so we decided to drive the 4 kms east out of town to Château Larcher instead.

 

The very efficient motorhome aire at Château Larcher

The very efficient motorhome aire at Château Larcher

 

We were very impressed with the motorhome aire there, right by the football grounds and with an easy walk to the Château ruins and round the lake, all very picturesque and with the usual charm these small villages tend to have. The aire is only 4 a night, with electricity and water included in the price, to be paid either at the Mairie or to the guard that comes round in the evening (he came about 7 pm), who speaks good English. There is also a bread service van in the morning and that’s how we got our baguette today for just 90 C. The area was very quiet and, although there is room for 10 motorhomes, only 4 vehicles spent the night there, including us.

 

A very pleasant walk around Château Larcher

A very pleasant walk around Château Larcher

 

The ruins of Château Larcher

The ruins of Château Larcher

 

I just liked this building

I just liked this building

 

Enjoying a stroll around lake at Château Larcher

Enjoying a stroll around lake at Château Larcher

 

We left Château Larcher after 9 this morning and made the mistake of sticking to the national road bypassing Poitiers, but this turned out to be incredibly slow due to so many traffic lights and roundabouts, so we must remember to use the motorway next time. So a bit tired and exasperated with such slow going, we joined the A10 at J. 25 south of St Maure-de-Touraine after a coffee stop at Dangé-St-Romain, and stayed on it up to north of Tours, where we came off at J. 20 looking for the France Passion site at Parçay-Meslay (Domaine de Vodanis), but there didn’t seem to be enough parking space, which would have been by the road anyway, so we decided to keep going north to find something more attractive and to our liking. We joined the motorway again at J.19 and took A28 north. After a quick look at our new ‘All The Aires in France’ Vacarious guide, we opted for Vaas, just west of Château-du-Loir and only 4 km off the A28 at J.26, only paying ₤6 for the privilege of such good road.

 

Vaas

A hot afternoon walk in Vaas

 

We made it here at about 1.15 pm and, again, we are very impressed with this aire by the camping and Espace Culturel. It’s free and has an Euro Relay bourne for water if needed.

 

The motorhome aire at Vaas

The motorhome aire at Vaas

 

 

The River Loir at Vaas

The River Loir at Vaas

 

We’ve just been for a lovely walk along the river Loir, past the campsite both ways east and west and stopped to admire the ancient water mill and the views from the nearby bridge. It’s still quite hot (24 ºC inside van) and the sun’s still shining and, although the holiday is slowly coming to an end, we can’t complain about the weather or the lovely spots we’ve discovered so far.

 

The ancient water mill at Vaas

The ancient water mill at Vaas

 

The Water Mill wheel

The Water Mill wheel

 

 

It’s Broglie tomorrow, where we have an appointment at the vet’s for Beano at 9 am and after that it will be Le-Crotoy and Wissant, as usual.

We’ll be back on the road again at the end of May, when we’re hoping to visit Van Gogh’s grave, Rouen Cathedral and stay a few days at Les Andelys, if time.

Carro, Bouches du Rhône, Friday 9th August 2013

Standard

 

Motorhome aire at Carro, right by the Mediterranean

Motorhome aire at Carro, right by the Mediterranean

 

 We have made it to the Mediterranean at last and it’s only taken us 5 weeks! We’ve been here for 2 days at the motorhome aire on Quay Vérandy. We thought this aire was actually going to be in Martigues, which is where we were hoping to stay, but after driving around in Martigues looking for it without success, we entered the co-ordinates given on the aires guide book (‘Le Guide Officiel Aires de Services Camping Cars’: Lat 43º 19′ 46” N Long 5º 2′ 23” E) and it brought us here, about 6 or 7 miles further south!

Taking a walk on the rocky landscape

Taking a walk (and a beer) on the rocky landscape – motorhome aire in background

 

The drive from St Remy de Provence was very easy, following the D99 west to join the D570 south to Arles and from there gently south east on N113 and N568. We just had a quick stop at Supermarché to stock up on food and we were here for 12 noon.

 

Carro

Carro beach

 

It’s still hot here, but very windy, maybe experiencing some of that famous Provençal Mistral, so much so that the wind pushed the motorhome off the levelling blocks earlier on when we were actually inside! It definitely rocked us like never before!

 

Cove and beach

Cove and beach – great for snorkelling

 

Still, it’s been very sunny for the last couple of days and we have enjoyed a few swims in the warm Mediterranean sea. We have also made the most of our snorkelling gear and have enjoyed a very peaceful time spotting the various fish around the rocks surrounding the beach. There is something very special and magical about swimming with the fish, oblivious to everything else, listening only to the sound of your breathing: it’s almost like being on another planet.

 

Strange sights at the fish market

Strange sights at the fish market

 

Carro is mainly a fishing village and this morning we bought some mussels directly from one of the port’s fish stalls by the aire. It was definitely the most popular stall in the market and we had to queue for a few minutes to get our kilo, which I cooked à la Marinière for lunch: fresh and delicious!

 

Preparing the mussels for lunch.  Can't get them fresher than that!

Preparing the mussels for lunch. Can’t get them fresher than that!

 

 

We feel really privileged here on this aire right by the sea: we’re a mere 50 metres from the water’s edge and just 5 minutes’ walk from the little beach in the cove, nicely sheltered and supervised during the day. It’s funny, though, how only around the corner from here, in the open sea, it’s really rough and a few people are enjoying windsurfing and body boarding in the strong current and waves.

 

The rough sea round the corner, perfect for windsurfing, etc

The rough sea round the corner, perfect for windsurfing, etc

 

This aire costs 10 a day, payable at the entrance by credit card: same system as in Bourget-du-Lac, and there is no electricity either, but plenty of water.

 

I just like this seagull hovering over the boats

I just like this seagull in the sun

 

Tomorrow we’re heading for a France Passion bull farm in the Camargue, which should be really different to everything we’ve seen so far.

 

Seagulls enjoying a meal

Carro and marina

Camping Lac de Carouge, St Pierre d’Albigny, Savoie, Friday 2nd August 2013

Standard

 

Lac de Carouge

Stunning  Lac de Carouge

 

 It is hard to believe we’ve been going for 4 weeks already! But it’s wonderful to think we still have another 4 to go!!! Yipeeee!

 

Enjoying a meal with John and Julie

Enjoying a meal with John and Julie at Lathuile

 

We spent 3 days at the aire in Lathuile in the end, as Julie and John texted us saying they were coming that way too and we thought it would be wonderful to see them again. They arrived on Wednesday afternoon, so we enjoyed a couple of days in their company and had dinner with them last night.

 

Quaint and beautiful Annecy

Quaint and beautiful Annecy

 

Stunning Annecy

Stunning Annecy

 

Yesterday morning, we took the bus from outside camping le Polé to Annecy for only €3.50 each and just 35 minutes ride. We had a marvellous morning and lunch in that picturesque town, with its canals, old bridges , houses and charming streets, full of just about every kind of shop and restaurant to tempt you inside. We were very happy just to stroll around town, through the gardens and by the lake before enjoying a beer in one of the many café-bars, followed by lunch at the very popular Le Pont Morens, where we had the local speciality of Tarteflette, made of boiled potatoes, bacon and cheese sauce, and a quiche, accompanied by wine ‘de la maison’.

 

Quaint and beautiful Annecy

Quaint and beautiful Annecy

 

As the buses back to Lathuile were not very frequent, we opted for the 2.15 back (the next one was after 5 pm!) and went back to the lake for a swim.

 

Quaint and beautiful Annecy

Quaint and beautiful Annecy

 

Soon after we got back to the motorhome aire, Julie and John arrived from their cycle ride to Annecy (just over an hour) and enjoyed the rest of the evening with them.

 

Annecy

Annecy

 

Annecy

Annecy

 

This morning, we had a bit of a problem with our awning as it would not shut properly on the left (front of van) side, so we had to fiddle with it for a while until it was more or less acceptably shut, but this is something we must look into properly a.s.a.p.

 

Annecy

Annecy

 

A different way to get around in Annecy

A different way to get around in Annecy

 

So we said goodbye again to J & J through FB, Motorhome Facts Forum, and other social media and set off to Albertville on the D1508 and D1212 to stock up on supplies. From there, it was just a short drive south west on D1090 to St Pierre d’Albigny. We were here for 11.30 am, early enough for a swim in this much cooler lake de Carouge, but very soothing still in this heat (35 ºC today). We were lucky again to find a pitch in the shade and the campsite is nice and quiet with direct access to the lake and wonderful and clean shower and washing facilities, as we have been accustomed to. It cost us ₤25 for the night, with electricity, to be paid in advance.

 

The cooling Lac de Carouge

 Enjoying a swim at the cooling Lac de Carouge

 

Tomorrow, we are hoping to go to a France Passion cherry farm south west of here, between Grenoble and Valence, and we’ll be using the motorway (E70/A41) for an easy drive.

 

 

Our shaded and generous pitch at Camping Lac de Carouge

Our shaded and generous pitch at Camping Lac de Carouge

 

 

Domaine Dury, Merceuil, Côte d’Or, Monday 22nd July 2013

Standard

 

 

 

 

 

Domaine Dury France Passion site, Merceuil. Motorhomes between hedges in background

Domaine Dury France Passion site, Merceuil. Motorhomes between hedges in background

 

What a find this is! Probably the best France Passion site we’ve been to so far, and they’ve all been pretty good. There are 4 pitches with electricity divided by hedges, water and wifi provided for free. There’s also a hut with a fridge where they sell their various Burgundy wines from and buyers can leave their money in an envelope with their names, emails, etc written on it, which, of course, we have done. Don’t you just love this kind of trust?

 

Enjoying a nice bottle for lunch

Enjoying a nice bottle for lunch in the much needed shade

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

 

We have bought one bottle of Meursault and one of Bourgogne Rouge 2007, which we have already enjoyed for lunch and we really loved the lightness and subtlety of flavour. We are saving the Meursault for Adonis’s birthday on Wednesday.

 

Buying delicious wines from Visitors' hut at Domaine Dury

Buying delicious wines from Visitors’ hut at Domaine Dury

Out pitch surrounded by hedges and large enough for awning.

Out pitch surrounded by hedges and large enough for awning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been very hot today (35 °C in the motorhome in the shade), so we have spent a lot of time in the ‘cooler’ visitors’ hut using the free wifi service and the large table provided. We have also taken advantage of the hose provided to enjoy a couple of much needed cold showers: a real luxury.

 

Helpful sign

Helpful sign

 

There is even a barbecue available and we are tempted to use it for our Frankfurters tonight! What else do you need?

This is definitely a place to come back to and no doubt we will!

 

Burgundy vineyard

Burgundy vineyard

 

Lac de Panthier Camping, Vandenesse-en-Auxois, Côte d’Or, Sunday 21st July 2013

Standard

 

 

Lac de Panthier camping

Lac de Panthier camping – Restaurant area

 

 

We have spent 3 very sunny and hot days at this strategically placed campsite ‘with a view’, about 24 miles west of Dijon (Lat 47º 14′ 12” N Long 4º 37′ 40” E). Our very large pitch, No 14, is about 20 meters from the lake beach and amongst the trees, so we have also enjoyed some welcome shade in the heat of the day.

 

Our generous pitch, a stone-throw away from the lake

Our generous pitch, a stone-throw away from the lake

 

Enjoying a paella on our generous pitch so near the lake

Enjoying a paella on our generous pitch so near the lake

 

 

 

Our pitch seen from the lake beach

Camping seen from the lake beach

 

We arrived late on Friday evening after deciding that the parking place at Lac de Liez by Langres wasn’t really appropriate as it didn’t have any shade at all, so we left after lunch, a rest and a swim at 3 pm.

 

Lac de Liez

Lac de Liez

 

 

Again, we have enjoyed some relaxing time swimming, fishing and rowing in the lake and early this morning, just after breakfast, I went on a cycle ride around the lake before the day got too hot. It’s a beautiful ride, which took me just ½ hour, including a few stops to take pictures of the wonderful views all the way round.

 

Views of lake taken during morning cycle ride

Views of lake taken during morning cycle ride

 

Views of lake taken during morning cycle ride

Views of lake taken during morning cycle ride

 

Views around lake taken during morning cycle ride

Views around lake taken during morning cycle ride

 

Views of lake taken during morning cycle ride

Views of lake taken during morning cycle ride

 

 

This site has a shop, a restaurant, an indoor pool (which I made good use of first thing in the morning), a sauna and a fitness room with cycling machines, all included in the price, although I have to say that being so hot outdoors, I don’t really feel like a sauna, but other people were using it. There is also, of course, fishing in the lake and Adonis has been making the most of it, even if he has to walk to the far side of it. I think that, all in all, the daily price of 28 for us in the height of the season with all those facilities provided is very reasonable and I am more than happy to pay for it.

 

Adonis baiting the lake for his fishing sessions

Adonis baiting the lake for his fishing sessions

 

 

Attractive children's play area at camping Lac de Panthier

Attractive children’s play area at camping Lac de Panthier

 

 

Being Sunday afternoon, it’s very busy on the lake right now and we had a bit of a drama earlier on when an ambulance and helicopter were called to assist someone on the beach. I don’t know exactly what happened, as I was happily crocheting away outside our van with my back to the beach, when I suddenly saw a few people coming over to our pitch looking at the lake. Then I heard the paramedics shouting for people to evacuate the beach to make room for the helicopter and I saw another paramedic performing CPR on someone near the water with all the holidaymakers and day-trippers standing on the side of the road or, in our case, from the campsite, as it is higher up and commanded a better view. I think the person in need of help must have been all right in the end, as I also saw the paramedics holding a drip bag above him/her for a while and they all left with a smile and everyone rushed to the beach again.

 

our van high up above lake and under the trees

our van high up above lake and under the trees

 

We followed the Tomtom out of Corre on Friday morning, deciding to take us on the ‘interregional’ and less congested road (yellow on our Michelin atlas) on the D44 to Fay-la-Forêt and the N19 to Langres, where we visited the market and had a stroll in the old town. We then headed for the lake for lunch and a swim, but decided to try our luck with a better parking space at Reservoir de Charmes, but that didn’t work out either. After consulting the camping guide, Adonis chose this 4* site and we have been very happy with his choice, especially after arriving all hot and bothered at 6 pm on Friday evening.

 

Quaint Langres with summer Fete decorations

Quaint Langres with summer Fete decorations

 

 

As we are in the heart of Burgandy (or Bourgogne), we are planning to stay at one of the many France Passion sites in the area, so we’re heading towards Beaune and we also plan to visit Cluny. We might then spend a few days at the lovely campsite of Cormoranche-sur-Saone, like we did last year, as we were very impressed with it.

 

 

Domaine de la Montmalle, Saint Montan, Dept de L’Ardeche, 31st July 2012

Standard

 

 

Domaine de la Montmalle old farmhouse

 

We are now at a very peaceful and charming France Passion site in Ardèche.  They specialise in Syrah and Carignan wines, as well as olive oil, honey, jams and marmalade.   We’ve just been to the little shop and had a long chat with the owner, Francine Robin, who is very friendly and hospitable and who came to greet us the moment we arrived.  We really enjoyed listening to her talk so passionately about her products and how she renovated the farmhouse with the help of her friends and family, as it had been neglected for many years, and she showed us pictures of before and after.  We also tried a couple of her wines and bought 6 bottles of her wines ‘Peiro’ and ‘Defi de Femme’ (Domaine La Montmalle) and a jar of jam.

 

Our morning parking spot

 

 

We parked under the shade of a tree when we first arrived just after midday, but Francine told us we could move to the adjacent field later on when the shade moved around.  The farm itself, like the village of St Montan, dates back to medieval times, which is evident on the architecture of the farm building, previously a summer chateau of the local aristocracy, and its surrounding walls.

 

Our evening parking spot

 

 

In the morning, we went back into the farm building to say our goodbyes and Francine seemed quite touched and emotional and she asked us to come back in the future, which we promised to do and most likely will next summer.  It’s so nice to meet real hard-working people who care so much about their products and work with pride!  These are the people who really matter and make a country be successful.

 

 

 

The old farmhouse

Back of the old farmhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The old farmhouse

 

We spent 5 days at the campsite in Cormoranche-sur-Saone and made the most of the lake for swimming, fishing and rowing our inflatable boat.  We also witnessed a mighty storm on Saturday afternoon that helped cool down the earth a bit.  I managed to use the internet for an hour every morning, which was enough to keep in touch with friends and family.

Yesterday morning, we left for another France Passion site at Roussillon, which was fairly easy following the D906 to Villefranche-sur-Saone, where we joined the A6 south, past Lyon and Vienne, where we came off at J9 onto the N7 to Roussillon.

 

Le Clos de Mont Vinon

View through our window at Le Clos de Mont Vinon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The France Passion stop at Le Clos du Mont Vinon is somewhere between Rouissillon and Agnin on the D131C from the police station roundabout and wasn’t all that obvious to find, as we made it all the way to Agnin and had to turn back until we saw said road.  When we got there, we were disappointed to find a locked gate and no signs of life, so we couldn’t introduce ourselves as we are supposed to do, but decided to stay in the lovely area allocated to motorhomes.  We tried several times, but we never saw or heard anyone around and couldn’t buy any of the local products, as we like to do.

It was mainly quiet and peaceful, except for a neighbour using a chainsaw for about 2 hours in the afternoon that almost made us leave the place, but as we started putting things away, he suddenly stopped and we stayed put for the night.

We thoroughly enjoyed a Boeuf Bourguignon that we’d bought at Leclerc at St Georges-de-Reneins, north of Villefranche-sur-Saone, which was utterly delicious and tender, and then we set for the night and watched another episode of Mad Men.

 

 

A quick stop for a drink at Canelle