Tag Archives: Lac des Varennes

Oudon, Loire-Atlantique, Friday 25th October 2013

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Oudon, on the River Loire

Oudon, on the River Loire

 

We started our half-term holiday last Saturday morning, 19th October, and, after an uneventful crossing in the Eurotunnel, where we enjoyed a quick sandwich, we made our way to Boulogne-sur-Mer (junction 31 on A160 for our usual shopping at Auchan. As it had already been a long drive from home in Bognor Regis, we decided to stay on the motorway and followed the A28 south of Abbeville to junction 9 and on to the motorhome aire at Buchy on the D928 and D41, about 15 miles north east of Rouen.

 

The well maintained and pleasant aire at Buchy

The well maintained and pleasant aire at Buchy

 

Buchy’s is a very pleasant aire by the car park at the sports centre (Parking Salle des Sports), Route des Fourges, and near the college. The book says it has 4 pitches but we reckon that there’s room for double that number. It is free, with a borne for water and electricity for 2.50. The pitches are on hard standing and there is no clear division between them but they are surrounded by well maintained grass and it’s perfectly adequate for an overnight stay. As it was already late afternoon, we didn’t do very much other than walk Beano, our new puppy, and eat our flammekueche (or Tarte Flambée), which is a lovely alternative to pizza.

 

As we have our new puppy with us, we had to get up early for toilets, etc and were ready to leave Buchy before 9 am on our way to the aire at Montbizot, still travelling on the eastern bank of the River Seine at Rouen, as Pont Mathilde on the western side is still shut for repairs until the summer of 2014! So we followed the D6015 to Junction 21 of A13 west to J. 24 by Château de Robert Le Diable and then the usual route past Bernay, Broglie, Sées, Alençon and Beaumont-sur-Sarthe.

 

Montbizot is half way between Beaumont-sur-Sarthe and Le Mans and we made it there by 12.30 pm, as the roads were empty, being a Sunday morning. We had a heavy downpour for a bit, but it was still warm and pleasant for walking by the river Sarthe. This was another quiet afternoon, followed by a delicious Parmentier de Canard bought at Auchan, which only required heating up in the oven.

 

From Montbizot, we carried on south to our main destination of this break at tried and tested and very much loved Lac des Varennes, near Château-du-Loir on the D338 and D305.

 

Beautiful and reliable Lac des Varennes

Beautiful and reliable Lac des Varennes and Adonis inspecting his ‘swim’

 

As this is our seventh visit to this wonderful campsite and Base de Loisirs, there is nothing much new to say except that this time John and Julie, whom we met in the summer holidays at the aire in Bourget-du-Lac, came to meet us there and we spent 3 wonderful days with them and their daughter, Hannah, and her boyfriend, Adrian. So we shared some lovely food, including a most delicious Confit de Canard with Saute Potatoes courtesy of our friends, and, of course, plenty of cheese and wine!

 

A very happy Adonis with his 19lb (9kg) carp.  Photo courtesy of John D.  Southworth

A very happy Adonis with his 19lb (9kg) carp. Photo courtesy of John D. Southworth

 

On Tuesday night, at around 11 pm, Adonis finally caught a 19lb carp (roughly 9 Kg), which made it even more special for him, as he hadn’t caught anything at Easter or in the summer holidays. Unfortunately the flash on my camera went on strike and I had to rely on John to take pictures with his mobile phone.  Thank you John!

 

Enjoying the warm sun at Lac des Varennes

Enjoying the warm sun at Lac des Varennes

 

Wednesday was quite a warm day and we spent it outdoors most of the time, just enjoying the sun and the peace of the place this time of year, when Beano can run freely as there’s no-one around.

 

Beano running freely and chasing his ball at Lac des Varennes

Beano running freely and chasing his ball at Lac des Varennes

 

Yesterday started overcast but it cleared after lunch and Adrian, Hannah and Julie enjoyed a paddle in our inflatable boat around the lake, of which we are very pleased, as we hadn’t used it yet on this holiday. That was followed by some refreshing beers and snacks by John and Julie’s pitch, where we decided to move from our usual fishing area when Adonis decided he didn’t want to fish any more. So we packed the van and up we drove to the drier area near the only open shower block closer to the reception area.

 

Adrian and Hannah enjoying a paddle in the lake

Adrian and Hannah enjoying a paddle in the lake

 

We left this morning after saying our goodbyes and hoping to meet up at Easter again and we were on the road again for 9.30 am. We did a quick shop at Leclerc in Château-du-Loir and headed slightly south west on D766 past north of Angers on A11 to J. 20 with the intention of stopping at the aire at Le Celier, which is supposed to be behind the church and have room for 5 motorhomes but it is non existent. We were annoyed at this, as it was already 1 pm and we hadn’t stopped at all since leaving Leclerc, so we turned back on our heels on D723 to Oudon and here we are, right by the river Loire and just outside the 2* campsite of La Tour, which is now shut until June 14.

 

The Tour at Oudon, seen from Camping de la Tour

The Tour at Oudon, seen from Camping de la Tour

 

There is a well-maintained motorhome aire at the entrance of the campsite with running water and emptying facilities and it’s free but we are in the general car park, closer to the river, only a few metres from the aire itself.

 

Parked outside Camping de la Tour

Parked outside Camping de la Tour

 

I enjoyed a walk with Beano around the campsite and down to the river bank, which seems to be very popular with the locals.

 

Exploring the walk path at Oudon along the River Loire

Exploring the walk path at Oudon along the River Loire

 

Tomorrow, we’re heading for Carnac on our first ever visit to Brittany. I am really looking forward to discovering a new region in this beautiful and amazing country.

 

 

Lac des Varennes, Château-du-Loir, Sarthe, Sunday 25th August 2013

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We just love it here, beautiful Lac des Varennes

We just love it here, beautiful Lac des Varennes

 

It’s pouring down with rain at the moment. I was sitting at the outdoor reception area checking my emails and social media messages, but I had to rush back to the motorhome as laptop was getting wet. I only just made it back before the real downpour started. This is the second day of proper rain we’ve had since we left England, the first one being at Bourget-du-Lac back on 29th July, so we can’t complain and I’m sure the land needs it after such a hot and dry summer.

 

Our favourite pitch (208) at Lac  des Varennes

Our favourite huge pitch (208) at Lac des Varennes (picture taken from the lake shore)

 

We arrived here on Friday just before 1 pm and, as reception was shut, we had to have lunch in the visitors’ car park and wait until 2 pm to install ourselves on our pitch. While we were waiting, we took the opportunity to walk down to the lake to see if our favourite pitch (number 208) was available and, as luck would have it, it was! So Adonis asked if we could take it and here we are for the sixth time on one of the best spots on the campsite, where Adonis can watch his fishing rods from, only a mere 5 metres away!

 

Adonis's in his element, fishing right by our pitch

Adonis’s in his element, fishing right by our pitch

 

It was very hot when we arrived and, as I was about to go for a paddle in my inflatable boat, 2 very friendly children, Ollie and Megan from Stoke, approached me and asked where we were from in England. We talked for a little while and eventually met their dad too, John, who surprised me greatly by asking me if I blogged. On saying I did, he said he’d recognised me and that he’d read my blog and that was the reason why they were there. Isn’t that great? That’s all I ever wanted when I started publishing my diaries as blogs, to share travelling information with fellow travellers, so I’m delighted that my efforts have actually helped someone with a decision about their holiday destination. So John and Sarah, if you’re reading this now: you made my day!!! And thank you for reading.

 

Lac des Varennes.

Just chilling at Lac des Varennes.

 

So we have spent another 3 very lazy days by the lake, fishing, crocheting, reading and occasionally checking my mail and today we’ve met another lovely couple from South Africa living in Southampton who have been travelling in their motorhome for 15 months with loads of interesting stories to tell. I just love meeting all these wonderful travelling people and could listen to them forever.

 

We have one more day here before setting off for Broglie, then shopping at Boulogne-sur-Mer and finally Wissant for our Eurotunnel crossing on Friday 30th. We have brought forward our departure by one day as we’re going to collect our new Jack Russell puppy and we want to spend a whole weekend with him before going back to work.

 

Some needed shade at Souillac's motorhome aire

Some needed shade at Souillac’s motorhome aire

 

Before coming to Lac des Varennes, we spent one night at Souillac’s aire in Le Lot department, which is still free with a bourne for water for 3. It was very hot, but we managed a pitch in the shade of some trees and we enjoyed a couple of swims in the Dordogne river, right by the Camping Las Ondines, only a 5-minute walk from the motorhome aire.

 

Camping La Tete Noire

Camping La Tete Noire

 

After that, we spent one day at Camping La Tête Noire at Buzançais in the Indre department. This is a charming little campsite with plenty of shade and clean facilities with an access ramp for the disabled. It very much reminded me of the municipal campsite at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe. It was also very cheap at just over €14 for the night for the two of us with electricity supply. Another good stop to remember for future reference, as it also had direct access to the river for swimming and fishing.

 

I love this HUGE willow tree at Camping La Tete Noire

I love this HUGE willow tree at Camping La Tete Noire

 

'Inside' the tree.  Well, under the branches.

‘Inside’ the tree. Well, under the branches.

 

I really can’t believe we are now into our 8th week and we only have 5 days to go!

 

Camping La Tete Noire

 Peaceful and charming, Camping La Tete Noire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camping Punta Lago, Lac de Léon, Landes, Sunday 7th April13

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A very generous pitch at Punta Lago campsite

A very generous pitch at Punta Lago campsite

 

I am so glad to be here for the third time and so happy to see that it’s just as good as we remembered it.  We first came here on a very hot August day in 2010, after a long journey from the north coast of Spain and were rewarded with this wonderful campsite with 2 swimming pools – one outdoors and one heated indoors with 2 Jacuzzis – very generous pitches separated by hedges and lots of space, all within a 5-minute walk to the Lac de Léon, even more beautiful.  We came back at Easter in 2011 and it was still quite hot, so we’ve tried it once again and, even though the weather is not as hot as last time for this time of year, it is still warm enough to sit outside in the sun, especially when the breeze drops.

 

It has been a long and cold winter in most places, so just to be able to sit outside or to walk around in shorts is a luxury not to be taken for granted.

 

The heated indoor pool all to ourselves

The heated indoor pool all to ourselves

 

It’s our second day here and, as before, I joined the Aquagym class this morning and thoroughly enjoyed it, though it wasn’t as busy as last time, being after Easter now.  Still, more room for the rest of us.  We have also enjoyed swimming in the ‘empty’ (no people) heated pool and a relaxing time in the Jacuzzi, all included in the €20 fee per day for the 2 of us, the van and the electricity supply: very reasonable indeed.

 

Enjoying a relaxing time in the jacuzzi

Enjoying a relaxing time in the jacuzzi

 

The outdoor pool

The outdoor pool

 

 We have also been for cycle rides around the lake, taking in all the gorgeous views from various angles and getting busy with the camera.

 

Lac de Léon

Lac de Léon

 

The Pedalos at Lac de Léon

The Pedalos at Lac de Léon

 

Lac de Léon

Lac de Léon

 

It’s all very quiet and most pitches are empty, but there are young families in the bungalows, albeit not many, unlike last time.

 

We have one more day here and then we’ll start to make our ‘very’ slow journey north, hoping to stop at Verteuil-sur-Charente again, then Lac des Varennes on the Vallée du Loir for 4 days and finally at our usual stop-over aires on the way to Calais (Broglie and Wissant).

 

Lac de Léon

Lac de Léon

 

Lac de Leon 022

 

Lac de Léon

Lac de Léon

 

Lac de Léon

Lac de Léon

 

Lac de Léon

Lac de Léon

Lac de Léon

Lac de Léon

 

 

 

Lac des Varennes, Thursday 12th April 2012

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Lac des Varennes

Here we are again at one of our favourite spots to relax and fish in the Vallée du Loir near Château-du-Loir.  It’s warm and sunny and we have booked for four days in what is now going to be our first proper rest on this holiday, as so far we haven’t stopped anywhere else for more than two days.

 

 

 

 

 

It poured down with rain in Cransac, accompanied by thunder and lightning, so I never had a chance to go and explore what looked like a very pretty thermal town and the woods surrounding it.  On the plus side, nobody came to collect the €5.30 fee for the facilities at this lovely and secluded aire.

Rocamadour

So yesterday morning, we followed the D840 from Viviez northwest past Figeac, Thémines and Gramat and stopped at Rocamadour for mid-morning coffee to make the most of the fact that being mid-week, there wasn’t a problem with parking and it wasn’t packed with visitors, as it tends to happen in the high season.  It certainly is a very impressive little town, perched high up on a cliff and pretty as a picture, of which I took a few.  It’s all very dramatic and wonderful and I’m glad we’ve seen it, but not being the religious type, we didn’t bother to visit the inside of the shrine where the miracle performing black Madonna is held, for we are not after miracles or healing of any sort.

 

 

From Rocamadour we went on to join the A20 motorway just south of Brive-La-Gaillarde at J54, past Limoges and La Souterraine to J20 to Cuzion, where we had enjoyed it so much last July.  I went for a long walk with Bramble along the river Creuse, downstream from the water dam, and really loved the tranquillity and beauty of the place.  I took some photos of wild orchids and other flowers before the skies opened again and had to make a run for the van, where Adon very thoughtfully had the heating on.

The River Creuse at Cuzion

 

I baked two fresh salmon fillets covered in chopped garlic and herbs de Provence and served it with new potatoes: a luxury meal in a place of outstanding natural beauty: life just can’t get any better sometimes.

Rain again first thing this morning, so we continued north on the A20 to Châteauroux at J13, to go northwest on D943, past Loches to Tours, the A28 to J27 and D938 to Château-du-Loir and D305 to Marҫon.

I love this place: the sun is really hot now and there’s no wind.  I can’t remember it ever being windy here.

Adonis is already fishing 10 metres away from me and he’s used our new inflatable boat to cast some bait into the middle of the lake. I hope he catches something this time.  I’ve got the password for wifi, so I hope to check on my messages later on.

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Well, it’s Monday  16th April today, our last day here, and Adonis’s caught 3 carp, a 19lb, a 39.1 lb and 34 lb, so it

Adonis and his 39 lb carp

has been a very successful fishing break.

Adonis and his 39 lb carp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weather has been changeable and we’ved had a mix-bag of everything, but that doesn’t detract from the charm and calm of this wonderful campsite.

Lac des Varennes campsite

Lac des Varennes, Saturday 20th August 2011

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We arrived here yesterday and plan to stay for 3 more days.  It’s been very hot: 24 °C yesterday and 29 forecast for today and 26 for tomorrow.  Adonis’s been fishing, although so far he hasn’t caught anything, but he’s had a couple of bleeps on his buzzers!!!

Lac des Varennes

 

We met a lovely couple yesterday, Rob and Debby, and had a good laugh with them in the evening, sharing some wine and beer.   They are on a 3-month tour in their Rapido, which they showed us around and very nice it was too: our next van, I think.  Funny how they couldn’t get their satellite dish going either, just like ours!  They are planning to go  to the south of Italy and, as our holiday is coming to an end soon, I can’t but feel a little bit jealous of their adventure just beginning.  They’ve just left, unfortunately, as I really enjoyed their company.  I hope they have a wonderful time.

 

 

 

Sheltering from the sun

 

It’s a lot busier here now of course, but we still have a large pitch right by the lake, so Adon doesn’t have far to go and Bramble can cool off when he starts panting in the heat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a cooling swim

 

We’ve been swimming too and the water is lovely and warm, so we’re all happy.  I’m going to try and revise my German a little bit so that I don’t forget what I’ve learned so far.  I’m seriously thinking about enrolling in German lessons in September…

Cooling off in the lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying an evening meal in the sun

 

Lac des Varennes, Sunday 10th April 2011

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Lac des Varennes

 Another perfect day.  We spent a very peaceful night in Broglie and were woken up by church bells at 7 am, but managed to go back to sleep and finally got up at around 8.20 am.  We had breakfast of croissants and coffee and left aire at around 9.30 am. 

It was a very easy and quiet drive all the way, even around Le Mans on the D438 and D338 to Château-du-Loir, with just a quick stop on the way for baguette and cake.  We made it to the campsite for 12.30 and set up fairly quickly, had lunch and a rest in the sun and took Bramble for a walk and swim in the river.  We also had a swim in the lake on the site and the water was just warm enough to be enjoyable.  It’s our second time here and we can tell it’s going to be a regular feature in our travels, for its sheer beauty and tranquility.

 

 

Afterwards I did a lot of reading while Adonis fished and finished ‘The Merchant’s Tale’ of ‘The Canterbury Tales’, which I am alternating with Dickens’ ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’.

Enjoying April's sun

We’ve just had dinner of delicious Toulouse sausages and rice.  Adonis’s gone fishing again and I am going to revise my German and read some more.  Hope Adonis catches something good to make his day!

Adonis in his element.

Lac des Varennes, Thursday, 28th October 2010

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31 lb 6oz fish (32 kg)

Today is going to be our last day here.  We have certainly made the most of the peace and quiet of the site, as I think there’s only just one more family left in one of the mobile homes, and Adonis is more than happy with his fishing, as he caught a 31 pound 6oz carp yesterday morning, which he could hardly lift.  Bramble is wondering what all that is about and keeps sticking his nose everywhere.

frosty morning

After 2 frosty mornings, we had some very heavy rain last night, but the sun is making an effort to come out now.  I’m in the van with the heating on just for a little while, to get rid of the chill.  It’s a very efficient heater and doesn’t need to be on for very long, which is good for gas consumption.

Last night we had one of the best supermarket pizzas ever, with lovely crusty dough, stringy cheese, roast peppers, merquez sausage and chorizo and was really worth the 6.90 E that we paid for it.

Tonight I’ll be making spaghetti Bolognese for our last supper in this stunning site.  I’ll be sorry to leave it, but no doubt we’ll be back next year, perhaps for Easter.

site sign

view of site from opposite shore

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went for a cycle ride earlier on through the day-visitors’ park on the other side of the lake and it’s just as beautiful as this side, but much bigger, with lots of activities for both adults and children in the summer months, but it won’t be quite so peaceful then.

Tomorrow we plan to make an early start, top up with diesel and provisions at LeClerc and head off for Lude to visit the chateau there before heading slowly northwest for the D Day Landing beaches, which promises to be very interesting.

Must phone vet to make appointment for Bramble for Monday!

 

Lac des Varennes, Tuesday, 26th October 2010

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relaxing fishing

We spent a very lazy day yesterday, just lounging around in campsite, Adonis fishing, me crochetting and reading Florence Nightingale book in French and Bramble chasing his ball and getting tangled up with fishing rods and line.

We were very pleased to discover that, despite campsite being nearly empty, the showers are very hot and clean and the bread from Reception is delicious and cheap.

Eating in the sunshine

We both had a siesta yesterday and today, which I hadn’t done in months!  It’s just so tranquil here and idyllic.  I’ve taken lots of pictures of site, especially the trees in their stunning autumn colours: I don’t tire of looking at them.

It was a beautiful sunny and warm day yesterday, but today started really frosty and had to put heating on for a little while, although I thought van was rather warm inside, considering the frost outside.

We had breakfast and drove to Le-Clerc for diesel, but were only allowed 28E worth due to the fuel blockade.  Still, we have 3/4 of a tank full and 10 more litres in canisters for emergencies.

After that we cycled into Marçon (only about 5 minutes) and had coffee in what appeared to be the only bar in town.  I took picture of typical church and war memorial monument and cycled back for more fishing and reading.  Adonis bought yesterday’s Telegraph and it was nice to catch up with the news.

I’ve spoken to Pepo twice so far: he seems well and happy in Robert’s company and appear to be coping well with cooking fresh pasta with pesto and putting pizza in oven.

We left travelling documents behind, so it was handy that he was at home to give us details of train back from Calais.

We may stay 2 more days here and then head back north to visit D Day Landinig Beaches, but I really want to visit one of the many chateaus in the area and buy some more of that lovely wine!

I’m cooking Milanesas tonight, which is Adonis’s territory normally: I hope not to disappoint.

A happy husband with carp!

Adonis’s just caught a 16-pound 3 oz carp!  At least he’ll be happy while he has his dinner!

                                       

Ball chasing time!

Lac des Varennes, Tuesday 25th October 2011

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Lac des Varennes in the sun

It’s raining!  It started yesterday evening, stopped after a couple of hours and it started again this morning at abut 11 until abut 15 minutes ago.

It’s 11.40 am and I’ve had a busy morning.  I cleaned the van after breakfast and hoovered dog’s hair, as Bramble is still moulting.  I put the hoover to charge while I walked into Marςon to buy some food for tonight.  I was going to cycle there, but I had a flat tyre, which turned out to be a tear by valve, which cannot be fixed, so I need new tyre.  

The walk to Marςon only takes about 10 minutes and it’s fairly pleasant along the canal.  I bought a fruit tartelette at the Boulangerie and then walked to the other side of the village for the boucherie.  I only wanted a couple of chicken breasts, but lady told me it was only a small chicken and it’d be better to take it whole, so I agreed and she cleaned if for me.  I also decided to buy 1/2 dozen eggs and, everything being free range, cost me a whooping 16.95 euros!!!  I would have never paid that in England, but was too embarrassed to say it was far too expensive, so I paid for this daylight robbery and promised myself not to buy anything else in there again.  I hate being ripped off.

I walked back to campsite looking forward to coffee and cake only to find out that hoover charging has tripped a fuse and now we have no electricity, so we’re running the fridge on gas for  now while Adonis is trying his best to fix it.  This has happened before in Germany and it eventually fixed itself, but it’s annoying and a worry.

I’ll be making a chicken casserole tonight, chicken curry tomorrow and bacon and eggs the next day to make the most of my expensive purchase.

It’s still raining at 11.55 am! NOT A GOOD DAY!!!