Tag Archives: Gravelines

Bruyères-et-Montberault, Aisne Department, Tuesday 8th July 2014

Standard
The charming motorhome aire at Bruyères et Montberault

                                           The charming motorhome aire at Bruyères et Montberault

We left the UK on Saturday and managed to get a slightly earlier train, so instead of staying at City Europe’s car park as planned(which I didn’t fancy at all) we got our big shop out of the way at Auchan in Calais thanks to the TomTom. We did notice that everyone looked a bit ‘odd’, perhaps it’s the Ch’tis, about whom we have a film to watch yet. We then left towards the aire at Gravelines, where we stayed last year. We found a good spot amongst a whole line of British vans. Unfortunately, these started leaving for ferries at 4 am, which disturbed Adonis’s sleeping, but not mine!

 

A lovely sunrise at Vivier aux Carpes campsite

                                                       A lovely sunrise at Vivier aux Carpes campsite

 

 

A lovely sunrise at Viviers aux Carpes campsite

                                                    A lovely sunrise at Vivier aux Carpes campsite

Despite his bad back and lack of sleep, Adonis managed to walk Beano while I was clearing after breakfast and we then took mainly national and D roads past Lens towards Le Vivier aux Carps, a campsite in Seracourt-le-Grand. This is a nice site and we spent 2 nights there, although the ‘lake’ is more of a pond and it was packed with other British vans. Adonis didn’t catch anything, but as his back was hurting, he didn’t put all that much effort into it.

 

Camping le Vivier aux Carpes

                                                                  Fishing at Camping le Vivier aux Carpes

 

We left there at 10 am this morning to visit The Chemin des Dames, whose sides have been beautifully planted with corn flowers, and the Dragon Cave and after a bit of fiddling around on roads, we got to the Caverne-du-Dragon only to discover it is shut on Tuesday mornings. How typical is that? I just couldn’t believe it!!! We then tried to stop the night at a couple of lakes nearby, but they seemed to have been taken over by leisure/park type business and they didn’t allow dogs and we had no choice but to keep on looking. We also tried the motorhome aire at Chavignon, which was too close to the motorway and cost 6€, so we parked by a canal and had lunch, being disturbed by lorries on the weighbridge. Still, the view was good.

 

Corn flowers lining the road along Le Chemin des Dames

                                         Corn flowers lining the road along Le Chemin des Dames

From there we headed for our 4th night, the free aire at Bruyères-et-Montberault, and very good it is too!  It has four pitches separated by very well kept hedges and the little lane that runs through the park and there is also free water from a nearby fountain.  The town itself is very quiet and tranquil and we enjoyed an afternoon walk around it with Beano.  We’d definitely come here again if or when we return to these parts.

The weather is warm but cloudy. Tomorrow, we’ll try the Cave of Dragons again and then to a France Passion site in Champagne.

 

 

Givet, Ardennes, Sunday 7th July 2013

Standard

 

The much needed lake at Givet after a long drive

The much needed lake at Givet campsite after a long drive

 

 

We were supposed to be in Namur, Belgium, for the weekend, but once again, plans had to be changed at the last minute as Belgium didn’t turn out to be as motorhome-friendly as we would have liked and we were forced to head back for reliable, laid-back France.

 

The crossing from England on the Eurotunnel went without a hitch and we even boarded ½ hour earlier than expected, as it was very quiet, with very little traffic or queues. So we got to Calais by 7 pm and headed straight for the motorhome aire at Gravelines, about 12 miles west of Dunkerque. We were lucky to find a space here so late in the day, but managed a beautiful spot right on the quay at Port de Plaissance facing the warm sunset and with a patch of grass too for table and chairs! We enjoyed a glass of chilled white wine before our pizza and had an early night to have a proper rest before our drive to Mons, Belgium, in the morning.

 

Enjoying an evening drink at motorhome aire at Gravelines

Enjoying an evening drink at motorhome aire at Gravelines

 

A well placed motorhome aire at Gravelines

A well placed motorhome aire at Gravelines

 

 

The Quay at Gravelines

The Quay at Gravelines

 

So yesterday morning we set our brand new Tomtom with the address of the Waux Hall campsite in Mons and went merrily on our way. Again, we made very good time following the A16 to Junction 57 to the A25 to Lille, A27 to Tournai (Belgium) and finally A16 again to Mons. I loved the new Tomtom format of telling us the number of the road we were following and in which direction, a major improvement on the old model. This one, the 1005 Camping, is specifically for large/tall vehicles as we want to avoid the problems of past trips, namely around Versailles when we encountered height barriers, narrow roads, etc.

We got to Mons by 11.45 am and were very pleased to have beaten the usual lunch-time closing time of 12 noon, but, alas! Lady luck wasn’t on our side this time and we were dismayed to find the

campsite shut due to ‘major’ works!!!

 

Lake at Givet campsite

Lake at Givet campsite

 

We quickly decided to head for our second planned destination at the aire in Namur, another hour due east from Mons and we were making good time again until we encountered a huge traffic jam on the motorway just 5 miles before the exit to Namur. So we snailed our way to Namur inch by inch and arrived to the desired destination by 2 pm. To add to our woes, the road to the motorhome aire was blocked and we had to stop just outside the chateau/restaurant, where apparently the whole town had decided to have a picnic on this very hot Saturday afternoon. We joined the weekend masses for our quick lunch and studied the aires book and map, but couldn’t find anything else in the area, nor any wild camping spots along the way, so we decided to head straight down south for France, where this campsite was indicated just over the border.

 

Looking for a fishing spot at Givet campsite

Looking for a fishing spot at Givet campsite

 

We arrived in Givet at around 3.30 pm and headed straight for a much needed swim in the lovely cooling lake, with a sandy beach and all and even areas for fishing! We booked for 2 nights and we have thoroughly enjoyed a day ½ of rest here.

 

This municipal campsite, like so many others in France, is just simply fantastic and terribly cheap: just 17.40 for 2 nights! It has a café-restaurant, the showers are comfortably hot without being scorching and very clean and there are the usual washing facilities with even indoor washing lines should it rain, not that I need that today.

 

This morning, I strolled into town to buy a baguette and tobacco for Adonis and took the opportunity to look around this lovely old town on the river Meuse. Unfortunately, I didn’t take my camera, but it’s definitely worth a few hours, with lots of café-bars by the river, a lovely square and Town Hall, church and lots of shops.

 

I managed to get a picture of the river Meuse whilst leaving Givet

I managed to get a picture of the river Meuse whilst leaving Givet

 

Somehow I managed to lose my bearings and couldn’t find the road back to the campsite, so I popped into the tourist information office for a plan of the town and the lady on duty clearly marked the road to follow. Just when I thought I was getting better finding my way around places! I think I’ve lost my confidence again or it could be I just got dizzy in the heat and going round and round the town looking at the sites! At least I made up for it the rest of the day by lying in the sun and swimming the the lake.

 

No idea where we are going tomorrow!