Tag Archives: La Suthe-sur-Sarthe

Ferme de l’Horloge, Tardinghen, Pas de Calais, Thursday 7th January 2016

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View from Ferme de l'Horloge, looking towards the sea

View from Ferme de l’Horloge, looking towards the sea

 

We are being buffeted by very strong winds on this very wet and wintery day.   We came here after doing our usual shop at Auchan in Boulogne-sur-Mer and trying the campsite at Escalles, Les Erables, but this doesn’t open till 31st March and, as we still want to have E.H.U, we thought we would give this farm a go.  We are parked behind the large barn, which is sheltering us from the wind slightly, and we have wonderful views of the surrounding fields, woods and even the sea at Wissant!  The light keeps changing with the comings and goings of the clouds, making it all very attractive and interesting to look at and I should think that in better weather it would be just marvellous.

 

The light constantly changing

The light constantly changing

 

Our stop at La Suze-sur-Sarthe was lovely as always and we enjoyed our walks along the river Sarthe before moving north to Rugles, where we were able to hook up again in the free motorhome aire and were glad to find all the shops open this time and treated ourselves to a nice pizza Normande, with lardons and Camembert cheese: simply delicious.

 

Yesterday, we stopped at the aire in Neufchatel-en-Bray and took Beano for his pet passport check-up and tablet and were ready for departure by 10.30am.  I must say here that we had a little panic when leaving the aire, as the automated payment machine wouldn’t accept my bankcard.  Adonis tried his, but it was also declined, but was finally able to pay with one of his Visa cards.  We then inserted the exit ticket into the machine by the exit barrier, but the notice kept saying to insert a ‘valid ticket’ and wouldn’t eject the one I had just inserted.  Luckily, there was a plumber working on the newly built extension to the services hut and he kindly used his staff card to open the barrier for us.  Apparently, we inserted our ticket in the exit barrier machine before approaching the barrier fully and even though we drove right up to it after inserting ticket, it just wouldn’t work:  One must drive right up to the barrier before inserting ticket!  Lesson learned and will remember in future.  Other than that, this is an excellent aire for €13 a night in a lovely town and close to supermarkets and an excellent dog walk just outisde that goes for miles as it is part of a cycling route to Dieppe.

 

 

View framed by our motorhome window

 

Due to the leisure battery playing up, we are thinking of crossing back to England tomorrow instead of Saturday, as there are no more motorhome aires in the area providing E.H.U.

 

Wind still blowing fiercely!

 

Safe inside!

Safe inside enjoying the light!

 

Back to France for Easter holidays, destination: Barbotan-les-Thermes!

Gruissan, Aude, Saturday 22nd December 2012

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We’ve made it to the Mediterranean at last after a week on the road from Calais.  It is the first day of sun and blue skies since we left England and it’s also very warm (18°C inside the van at 5 pm!).  I am just loving the eastern light and the fact that we’re facing the sea, where the sun is going down gradually and bouncing off the terracotta and yellow painted buildings: a sight for sore eyes indeed.  We’re just north of the Pyrenees too, in the Languedoc Roussillon region, and we can also see the snow-capped mountain tops, just to make a perfect picture.

Gruissan 036

 

We’ve just been for a long walk around the marina and admired the luxury yachts as well as the holiday homes and tranquility of the place in the winter, but I can imagine that it must be mayhem in the height of summer.

 

Enjoying a walk around the Marina at Gruissan

Enjoying a walk around the Marina at Gruissan

 

Gruissan is just southeast of Narbonne, one of the principal Roman cities in France, and usually a very windy place, but today there isn’t a hint of it anywhere.  We’re off to Portiragnes tomorrow to spend the Christmas holidays with Adonis’s family, but we’re thinking about coming back here afterwards, as it is so idyllic.

 

The huge motorhome aire at Gruissan beach

The huge motorhome aire at Gruissan beach

 

Parked right by the sea with beautiful views of the Pyrennes

Parked right by the sea with beautiful views of the Pyrennes

 

 

Sign at motorhome aire

Sign at motorhome aire, free in the winter

 

 

Yesterday we spent the day in Grisolles, north of Toulouse (junction 68 off the A20 and then south on D820), where we found a motorhome aire not listed on the official guide (Le Guide Officiel Aires de Services Camping Car), just behind the community hall by the Garonne canal.  It had lots of spaces for motorhomes, a water tap and facilities to empty grey water and toilet, but no electricity, and it’s FREE!

 

Walking along the Garonne canal at Grisolles

Walking along the Garonne canal at Grisolles

 

We went back there after deciding that the aire at Grenade, just a few kilometres down the road from Grisolles, wasn’t really appropriate, being in a small car park by the cemetery, made worse by some road works going, with one side of the road being closed.  It didn’t really feel all that attractive or welcoming at all, so once again it paid off being flexible about our destinations.  So we made a u-turn and were very pleased with our decision.  There were only 4 motorhomes at the aire in Grisolles this morning, including ours, very different from where we are at the moment, which is also huge, but a lot busier: it must be something to do with the Mediterranean weather…

It was absolutely pouring down with rain all day yesterday and we got soaked walking Sasha along the canal, so we really appreciate the dry and warmer weather down here and will be sad to leave this region.

 

The Marina at Gruissan

The Marina at Gruissan

 

We used mainly motorways coming down from Uzerche and it’s good to know that the A20 is largely free until past Brive La Gaillarde at J.54 to Montauban, which was only a couple of euros.  The A61 from south of Toulouse to Narbonne was €20, but we didn’t mind paying for this, as all the motorhomes aires so far have been free, with exception of the €3 at La Suthe-sur-Sarthe, so we can afford to splash on better and faster roads.

 

The Marina

The Marina

 

The Marina

The Marina

 

Gruissan

Gruissan

 

 

La Suthe-sur-Sarthe, Monday 17th December 2012

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This is going to be our first Christmas travelling in the motorhome and we hope to make it as far as Arles, Provence, as our final destination before turning back, but, as always, nothing is written in stone and we’re willing to change our plans on the go if necessary.

We left England last Saturday 15th on the Channel Tunnel as usual and were in Calais just before 3 pm.  We did our shopping at Cité Europe and were at Wissant aire for 4.30 pm with only one other motorhome to keep us company: a far cry from last August when we were lucky to get  a space.  It must have been raining quite heavily here too, as the field opposite the aire where we usually go for our dog walk was waterlogged and difficult to walk on.  Still, it was a dry and pleasant evening and the feeling of freedom at being away is always comforting, whatever the weather.

We had another downpour overnight, which kept me awake for a bit, but Adonis managed a long dry walk on the beach with Sasha, our new four-legged travelling companion, before the rains started again.

As usual, we followed the A16 and A28 south to Rouen and we were making good time until we came across the signs north of the city indicating that the bridge over the Seine was shut and we had to find an alternative route.  We followed some signs to Le Mans, which eventually disappeared in true French fashion and ended up on the A150 and A151 heading north again!!!  We got off at Tôtes and headed west towards Yvetot on D929 and then south on D131 to Pont de Brotonne and finally made the decision to stop at St Nicolas de Bliquetuit for the rest of the day, as it was already 2 pm.

 

Although our original intention was to stop at Broglie aire for the night, we quite welcomed the sudden change of plans, as the view from the free aire is just stunning, right on the river Seine, especially with all the Christmas lights and decorations.

 

View of St Nicolas de Bliquetuit from motorhome aire

View of St Nicolas de Bliquetuit from motorhome aire

 

 

Our Festive Motorhome

Our Festive Motorhome

 

Sasha and I enjoyed a long walk along the river bank and I never tire of admiring such beautiful view.  I took a lot of photos, of course, both of the town and our festive decorated motorhome, full of tinsel and baubles.

 

Lovely walk along the river Seine

Lovely walk along the river Seine

 

Motorhome aire at St Nicolas de Bliquetuie

Motorhome aire at St Nicolas de Bliquetuie

 

Gorgeous sunset

Gorgeous sunset

 

 

The view of St Nicolas de Bliquetuit at night.

The view of St Nicolas de Bliquetuit at night.

 

 

Our festive motorhome

Our festive motorhome

 

 

Relaxing before dinner

Relaxing before dinner

 

We were on our way by 9.30 this morning still headed south on D913/313 to junction 25 of A13 and south on A28, all the way to north of Le Mans, where we joined the A11 southwest to J9 for la Suthe-sur-Sarthe.

 

A very full river Sarthe by the motorhome aire at La Suthe-sur-Sarthe

A very full river Sarthe by the motorhome aire at La Suthe-sur-Sarthe

 

 

A very swollen river Sarthe

A very swollen river Sarthe

 

We were on our way by 9.30 this morning still headed south on D913/313 to junction 25 of A13 and south on A28, all the way to north of Le Mans, where we joined the A11 southwest to J9 for la Suthe-sur-Sarthe.

We love this wonderful aire and we’ve been here in all kinds of weather, but this is the first time that we have found it flooded in some parts, as the river is all the way up to the landing bays and the swim where Adonis was fishing last summer is completely under water, so no fishing today!

We have decided to move away from the river bank and we are actually parked in the ‘proper’ motorhome aire, right by the campsite, which is shut this time of year.  The fee is still €3 a day, which usually includes electricity and water, except that due to the ‘ freezing’ weather the water supply has been cut off even though it is not cold at all, just wet.  Still, we are not complaining as we have plenty of water and we can always fill up somewhere else when needed.

We’ve just been for a coffee and a beer in the village, followed by another dog walk along the river Sarthe and it feels just as charming and magical as the first time we came.

We are off to somewhere in the Loire tomorrow….

La Suze-sur-Sarthe, Friday 24th August 2012

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La Suthe-sur-Sarthe

We were here at the end of December last year and we’re glad to be back at this charming aire by the river Sarthe in the summer.  It was quite full when we arrived last night at around 5 pm, but many of the motorhomes left by 10 am this morning.  It’s still only €3 a day with electric hook-up, but we’re a bit too far from the electricity supply stand, so we’re running on gas.

Pleasure boats at La Suthe-sur-Sarthe

It’s also very pleasant to see the pleasure boats moored at the landing stage, especially the ones decorated with hanging baskets and flower pots:  I wonder if the owners live in them permanently or just for the summer holidays.  Either way, it looks like a beautiful way to travel too and I wouldn’t mind having a go in one travelling along the canals and rivers.

La Suthe-sur-Sarthe

 

La Suthe-sur-Sarthe

 

We finally stayed at the tranquil Bords de Vienne campsite at L’Île Bouchard for 3 days as it’s just perfect for us, with lots of shade, a handy supervised beach on the river, clean facilities, free wifi and a Super U  supermarket and other handy shops just outside the camping.  It only cost €21 a day including the electricity hook-up, so all in all, it’s very good value for money.

 

Bords de Vienne Camping, L’Ile Bouchard

 

We left the campsite yesterday morning to visit Château Saumur, just under 40 kms northwest of L’Île Bouchard.  As usual, the main road D760 between L’Île Bouchard and Chinon was closed and we had to follow the diversion signs south toward Richelieu on the D757 and cut across country back onto the D749 main road and D751 to Saumur.

Chateau de Saumur

We found a nice shady car park by the river Loire, just 10 minutes’ walk form the Château and strolled there for our visit.  The château is a very impressive fairy-tale-like building on the outside and it’s now a museum for beautiful sets of fine china of various designs and origins, medieval wood-carvings, tapestries and even a collection of taxidermy rare animals, including a huge sturgeon caught in the river Loire.

Sample of tapestries on display at Saumur

There was a show going on in the château grounds which ran 3 times a day at 11 am, 3 pm and 5 pm, but we made the most of the peace and quiet inside the building before the crowds arrived after the show.

Medieval entertainment at Chateau de Saumur

The views of the town and the river are impressive and we took lots of photos of these stunning views.

Views of the Loire from Saumur Chateau

Something else that was very curious as we were driving along the Loire were the Troglodyte caves hollowed out in the chalky cliffs where wine is stored these days.

Views of the Loire from surrounding of Saumur Chateau

After our visit we intended to stop for the night at the Base de Loisirs of the Retenue de Pincemaille in Rillé, like we did at Easter in 2011, but there was a height barrier at the entrance of the fishing area and we had to park a few metres down the road, which wasn’t very handy for fishing purposes, but pleasant enough for lunch.  So, yet again, we had to swallow our disappointment and choose a different place to stop for the rest of the day and after lunch we decided to drive up north to La Suthe-sur-Sarthe, which wasn’t very straight forward from Rillé, following various national, regional and country roads.  Still, I was very pleased with my navigating skills and got us here without any wrong turns or getting lost in any way.  Who needs SatNav when I am on the map?

We’re going to stay here tonight as well for Adonis to enjoy a spot of fishing again and tomorrow we’ll be heading for Beaumont-sur-Sarthe, where there is a municipal campsite, between Le Mans and Alenҫon on the D338, so it shouldn’t take too long to get there.

 

Chateau de Saumur

 

 

Chateau de Saumur

 

 

Car park by Saumur Chateau

 

 

Saumur