Tag Archives: Pas de Calais

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!

La Ferté Saint-Aubin, Loiret, Sunday 25th October 2015

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Château de La Ferté Saint-Aubin

Château de La Ferté Saint-Aubin

We forgot to put our clocks back one hour last night, so we’ve enjoyed one extra hour of holiday time today! And it really has been a lovely day. We woke up to a sunny, bright and fairly warm morning at Pont de l’Arche and after walking Beano and a visit to the local boulangerie, we were on our way again to St Jean Blanc, just south of Orleans.

Pont de l'Arche view from motorhome aire

Pont de l’Arche view from motorhome aire

On arriving there just after midday and finding it teaming with people and the motorhome aire full of cars, we had to make a quick decision as where to go next and La Ferté Saint-Aubin was the obvious choice, just a few more miles on the same road south, D2020, and we were here by 12.30 pm.

Interesting sculptures near motorhome aire at La Ferté Saint-Aubin

Interesting sculptures near motorhome aire at La Ferté Saint-Aubin

We were very impressed with the location, a wooded park by the river Cosson with a very interesting and original selection of sculptures part of “D’un Bout à l’Autre” (From one end to the other), a joint effort between La Ferté Saint-Aubin and Beachport in south Australia, and it is also very near the Château, which we visited this afternoon. This aire is free and has a borne for water as well as the usual emptying facilities. It is just outside the municipal campsite and has room for 10 vehicles.

D'un bout a l'autre information board

D’un bout a l’autre information board

Interesting and original sculptures part of  D'un Bout à l'Autre project

Interesting and original sculptures part of D’un Bout à l’Autre project

D'un Bout à l'Autre sculpture

D’un Bout à l’Autre sculpture

I loved this exotic looking flower, part of D'un Bout à l'Autre

I loved this exotic looking flower, part of D’un Bout à l’Autre

D'un Bout à l'Autre sculpture

D’un Bout à l’Autre sculpture

D'un Bout à l'Autre sculpture

D’un Bout à l’Autre sculpture

As far as the Château itself, it makes a very interesting and enjoyable visit and we particularly liked the stables, originally built in the second half of the 17th century, the kitchen, where they were doing cooking demonstrations and hands-on activities for children, making the local speciality, honey fairy cakes and, my personal favourite room, the Orangery, with its superb collection of dolls and old toys, which I simply loved. This room can be hired for weddings, receptions and congresses.

Cake making demonstration in the kitchen of the Château de  La Ferté Saint-Aubin

Cake making demonstration in the kitchen of the Château de La Ferté Saint-Aubin

Hands-on experience for the kids

Hands-on experience for the kids

Dolls display in the Orangery

Dolls display in the Orangery

Dolls display at the Orangery

Dolls display at the Orangery

Dolls display at the Orangery

Dolls display at the Orangery

Dolls display at the Orangery

Dolls display at the Orangery

We also liked the park, which covers 80 acres of land, where various traditional games can be played, making it ideal for children and young families.

Waling outside in the gardens of the Château

Waling outside in the park gardens of the Château

Chapel Island in the Château park

Chapel Island in the Château park

The view of the Château from the park

The view of the Château from the park

The drive from home to Calais went without a hitch, except that, once again, the aire at Wissant was full and we had to drive a bit further down to Audinghen, like at the beginning of our summer holiday.

From there, we drove to Pont de l’Arche, where we found that the motorhome aire has now been moved to the other end of the car park, right by the municipal campsite. It is still free, but now there is room for 10 motorhomes and the bays are wider, so it is definitely an improvement.

New grounds for the Motorhome aire at Pont de l'Arche

New grounds for the Motorhome aire at Pont de l’Arche, outside municipal campsite

This morning, I walked to the bakery just a few metres from the aire and, besides the usual baguette, I bought a most delicious 3 chocolates cake, which we thoroughly enjoyed this afternoon.

Delicious 3 chocolate cake bought at Pont de l'Arche patisserie

Delicious 3 chocolate cake bought at Pont de l’Arche patisserie

Tomorrow we only have a short drive to Neuillay les Bois near Châteauroux.

Wissant, Pas de Calais, Tuesday 1st September 2015

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Attractive Rugles

Attractive Rugles

We arrived at Wissant’s aire early enough this morning to be able to pick and choose a bay for our day and overnight stay, which is quite a luxury here these days, as the last couple of times we tried, it was absolutely packed and we ended up in Escalles or Audinghen, but, as it happens, there were only 3 other motorhomes on our arrival at 11 am. I am very pleased about this because I really enjoy our walks on the wonderful beach and it looks like the weather is brightening up a bit after a very wet day yesterday at Le Crotoy.

motorhome aire at Rugles

motorhome aire at Rugles

After La Fresnaye-sur-Chédouet, we travelled just a little further north east to the very attractive motorhome aire at Rugles, right by the park and the old water mill, which was free and also provided a free electricity hook-up and water, which is very unusual indeed! It was a hot day again and we enjoyed strolling along the old village and park, although we were slightly disappointed about the fact that most of the shops, including the butcher and pizza takeaway, were closed so I ended up making a Spanish omelette after a quick visit to the local grocery store, which was open, fortunately.

Water mill in background at Rugles

Water mill in background at Rugles

Looking toward the village from Rugles Park

Looking toward the village from Rugles Park

From Rugles it was only a short drive slightly north west to Broglie, where we spent all day Saturday and Sunday and, luckily, the weather remained sunny and very warm and we were able to eat outside and walk Beano along the Charentonne river to the lovely old water mill. On Sunday morning, there was a car boot sale by the aquatic gardens and we went to have a look, but there wasn’t anything of particular use to us.

Quaint Broglie

Quaint Broglie from Aquatic Gardens

Broglie

Broglie

Broglie

Broglie

Feeding the ducks in Broglie

Feeding the ducks in Broglie by aquatic gardens

The wonderful motorhome aire at Broglie

The wonderful motorhome aire at Broglie

I took Beano for his Pet Passport check at the vet’s on Monday morning and we left Broglie just after 9 am for Le Crotoy, which we so much like and always makes the end of the holiday that little bit more pleasant. The weather turned nasty again though, raining most of the morning and early afternoon, but it cleared sufficiently to allow us a long walk along the bay with Beano, where we can safely let him off the lead so that he can enjoy a good run to his heart’s content.

Beano's walk on the Bay of the Somme

Beano’s walk on the Bay of the Somme on a bleak summer’s day

We went for another seafood meal at Le Saint Pierre restaurant on the seafront and, as always, we were most impressed with the quality and freshness of the food, as well as the friendly and efficient service.

A very wet Le Crotoy, but beautiful all the same

A very wet Le Crotoy and motorhome aire, but beautiful all the same

I’ve just been for another walk with Beano on the newly built promenade at Wissant, but I hadn’t been there very long when a young gendarme approached me on his bike and told me the dog wasn’t allowed on the promenade and that I had to walk ‘in the street’. Very surprised by this, I got off the promenade and started walking on the road, following another dog walker a bit further on, but to my astonishment, the gendarme came cycling behind me again and said the dog wasn’t allowed there either!!! I felt most indignant about this and took off to a side street and started walking back to the aire without having been able to take any pictures and cursing under my breath at this most ridiculous of rules and I fear that until Beano and I develop the ability to fly, we won’t be going to Wissant’s promenade ever again!

The tide was right up and there wasn’t a patch of sand available, but I bet dogs won’t be allowed there either now that it has been all tarted up. I still think this goes absolutely against the wonderful and relaxed French attitude of ‘laissez faire’. Quel dommage! 

And so it ends a wonderful holiday that last lasted for 8 weeks and 4 days and I feel I am ready to start all over again, but it is home tomorrow morning and we’ll be back on the road again on 23rd October for 2 weeks for our autumn half-term break.

Wissant Beach, Pas de Calais, Friday 2nd January 2015

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Glorious Wissant Beach, even in early January

Glorious Wissant Beach, even in early January

What better way to spend our last day in France before returning to England than taking a gentle stroll on this magnificent beach? Not much to say, except I hope you enjoy the vast expanse of sand and sea and the glorious light of winter in Pas de Calais. In some of the pictures, you can see England in the background.

Can you see Dover, England, in the horizon?

Can you see Dover, England, in the horizon?

Ferries heading for England.

Ferry heading for England

Plenty of walkers enjoying the beach in the new year

Plenty of walkers and kite fliers enjoying the beach in the new year

Bring me that horizon!

Bring me that horizon!

Kart surfers too!

Kart surfers too!

Heading towards to setting sun

Heading towards to setting sun

Adonis and Beano on our last walk of the winter holiday

Adonis and Beano on our last walk of the winter holiday

A sight for sore eyes

A sight for sore eyes

The recent breakwaters installed on Wissant Beach in a stunning sunset

The recent breakwaters installed on Wissant Beach in a stunning sunset

Breakwaters from the promenade

Breakwaters from the promenade

Another pretty sight in the town of Wissant

Another pretty sight in the town of Wissant

Camping de L’Ile des Trois Rois, Les Andelys, Eure Department, Sunday 25th May 2014

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Les Andelys on the river Seine

Les Andelys on the river Seine

 

Shock! Horror! I’ve left my digital camera behind and I’m kicking myself: How can I possibly write a travelling blog without pictures? Is it worth doing at all, I wonder? Well, luckily 21st century technology has given us mobile phones with in-built cameras, some of them very good and, between Adonis and I, I think we have captured some beautiful images, even though my laptop is refusing to upload mine, just my luck!

 

Our overnight stop at Escalles, Pas de Calais

Our beautiful overnight stop at Escalles, Pas de Calais

 

We decided against stopping at Wissant aire on Friday night, as we weren’t very impressed with some motorhomers’ parking on our last day of the Easter holidays, causing mayhem with the buses, as quite a few vans did not respect the buses parking lanes and the whole thing seemed overcrowded. So, instead, we opted to stop at the bus/motorhome car park in Escalles, just a little up the road from Wissant and it turned out to be much more pleasant. We were the only ones there till about 9 o’clock and we enjoyed a lovely evening walk up the hill of Mont d’Hubert, which commands stunning views of both, Cap Blanc-Nez and Cap Gris-Nez, with Wissant in between. I think we’ll probably make this our future overnight stop before our crossing back to England on the Eurotunnel, even though it has no facilities at all.

 

The magnificent view from Mont Hubert over Cap Blanc Nez and Cap Gris Nez and Wissant

The magnificent view from Mont d’ Hubert over Cap Blanc Nez , Cap Gris Nez and Wissant

 

Stunning sunset on Mont Hubert

Stunning sunset on Mont d’Hubert

 

Yesterday morning, we did our usual shopping at Auchan in Boulogne-sur-Mer (J. 31 of A16), topped up with diesel and followed the motorway all the way to Beauvais (23), which meant we were there for just after 1 pm, including ½ hour coffee stop on the way.

 

View from car park & Motorhome aire at Beauvais with Cathedral in background

View from car park & Motorhome aire at Beauvais with Cathedral in centre

 

We stayed at the free motorhome aire (N49º 25.455′ E002º 04.810′) with adjacent car park which overlooks the cathedral and with steps down into town. The view from these steps is quite impressive and this seems like a popular place for people to pose and take pictures of the town and cathedral below, as we did too.

 

Beauvais Cathedral

Beauvais Cathedral

 

Front of Beauvais Cathedral

Front of Beauvais Cathedral

 

 

We had a quick look inside St Étienne church, where a wedding was about to take place, and then we carried on into town for a beer and a walk to the cathedral and the Galerie Nationale de la Tapisserie, which has the same stature as Gobelins and Aubusson and where you can see tapestries being made. Both places well worth a visit and free of charge. We also enjoyed a walk through the rose garden near St Étienne Church, even though is was raining at that point.

 

The impressive aisle inside Cathedral

The impressive aisle inside Cathedral

 

 

This morning we followed the D927 straight south to Auvers-sur-Oise, where we stopped for about 90 minutes to enjoy la Irisiade or Iris/Flower Festival at the Château, which was absolutely lovely with some unusual and amazing flower arrangements all around the château’s gardens and we were particularly impressed with the school children’s efforts and the melon carvings and table-top flower dressings for special occasions: absolutely stunning!

 

The Chateau at Auvers-sur-Oise

The Chateau at Auvers-sur-Oise

 

The gardens at Chateau de Auvers-sur-Oise

The gardens at Chateau d ‘Auvers-sur-Oise

 

I must mention the horrible road leading to the campsite at Auvers-sur-Oise. We knew the campsite would be shut, but were hoping to park outside, which we did, but the road is in desperate need of repair and not one we would like to travel on again.

 

Artist at work on the flower festival/Irisiade

Artist at work on the flower festival/Irisiade.  Painting on plastic

 

Children's work for the Flower Festival

Children’s work for the Flower Festival

 

A bin covered in flowers.  I love this idea!

La Fleurbelle:  A bin covered in flowers. I love this idea!

 

Stunning table flower arrangements

Stunning table flower arrangements

 

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Amazing Melon Carvings

Amazing Melon Carvings

 

Street Art too!

Street Art too!

After battling with the traffic to get out of town and through Pontoise, we had an easy drive to Les Andelys on the N14, D14 and D125, so we were here for 1.30 pm and lunch was a bit later than usual.

 

The lovely L'Ile des Trois Rois camping

The lovely L’Ile des Trois Rois camping: Chateau Gaillar above our motorhome

 

L’Ile des Trois Rois camping is just as lovely as it’s always been and I always feel happy to be here. The staff are very nice, helpful and friendly and the views of Château Gaillard beautiful and almost surreal, especially at night when it’s lit. We have pitch No 14, as the receptionist recommended it for fishing and Adonis is very happy with his ‘swim’. Let’s hope he catches something…

 

our generous pitch No 14

our generous pitch No 14

 

I love to walk around this campsite and photograph the mobile homes’ gardens, as the owners seem to take great pride in adorning them with beautiful flower displays, tubs and sculptures. I could easily make this my home. We have booked for 3 days, but we might squeeze another one in if we can.

 

Chateau Gaillard

Chateau Gaillard and excercise area at l’Ile des Trois Rois Camping

 

Bridge over the river Seine seen from l'Ile des Trois Rois

Bridge over the river Seine  at Les Andelys and l’Ile des Trois Rois Camping on left

 

Some elaborate garden display at l'Ile des Trois Rois Camping

Some elaborate garden display at l’Ile des Trois Rois Camping right by the River Seine

 

recycled boot!

recycled boot!

Berck, Pas de Calais, Thursday 31st October 2013

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Berck seen from the beach

Berck seen from the beach

 

 I am delighted to say that John and Julie were absolutely right in recommending this top aire by the Base Nautique, Chemin aux Raisins, right by the enormous beach and lovely sand dunes, very much like Le Touquet-Paris-Plage. It only cost €6.50 a day and has room for 75 vehicles, but it’s free from November to March inclusive and there’s free water, although no electricity.

 

Berck's motorhome aire by the Base Nautique

Berck’s motorhome aire by the Base Nautique

 

We arrived here at around 1.15 pm, as we decided to do our big shop this morning instead of tomorrow, being Toussaints and a Bank Holiday here and we were not sure if Auchan in Boulogne-sur-Mer would be open.

 

Sand dunes on Berck's beach

Sand dunes on Berck’s beach

 

We had lunch a bit later than usual, followed by a rest after the long drive from Broglie (3 ½ hours plus shopping time), and have just returned from a very pleasant walk in a very strong wind on the magnificent beach and pier where we were able to have a good look at the seals resting there and, of course, I took loads of pictures!

 

Seals at the end of the pier

Seals at the end of the pier

 

I'll just have a rest!

I’ll just have a rest!

 

It's more fun with a partner

It’s more fun with a partner

 

Mingling with the seagulls

Mingling with the seagulls

 

Beano thoroughly loved chasing his ball on the hard sand despite it being blown into his eyes and getting his fur covered in it.

 

A great beach to chase a ball

A great beach to chase a ball

 

I can imagine what a wonderful place this will be in the summer months too, and again, this is another destination to come back to in the future, whatever the weather.

 

Lighthouse seen through the sand dunes

Lighthouse seen through the sand dunes

 

We also had a lovely sunny day in Broglie yesterday and it was great having a dog again to walk along the Charentonne river, with its picturesque water mill and beautiful views of the countryside around. We met a very friendly Dutch lady who’s moved here and we chatted with her in French for a while, as she spoke very clearly and was easy to understand. She told us she lived in one of the houses on the hill on the opposite side and that she regularly walks the round tour from her house down through the village, to the library by the motorhome aire and through the woods, which only takes one hour, so we might try this when Beano is a bit older and can walk for longer.

 

The water mill at Broglie by the Charentonne river

The water mill at Broglie by the Charentonne river

 

 I went to the local bakery for the daily baguette and cakes, then the butcher’s for a couple of delicious fillet stakes, which I cooked and served with chips, salad and bread.

 

Lovely views from the river walk

Lovely views from the river walk

 

The visit to the vet’s was quite straightforward, even though the nurse seemed quite surprised that the rabies vaccine was done in 2 separate doses in the UK and she queried me about this. Other than that, it was plain sailing and Beano is now wormed and ready to return home.

 

The Charentonne river at Broglie

The Charentonne river at Broglie

 

So, it’s Wissant’s aire tomorrow and another long walk on the beach, we hope.

 

Ferries heading for the UK

Ferries heading for the UK

 

Embry, Pas de Calais, Thursday 30th May 2013

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The pinic area at Embry motorhome aire

The pinic area and stunning views at Embry motorhome aire

 

 We are now at one of the loveliest motorhome aires we have come across yet, right in the middle of some stunning countryside in Pas de Calais with only the sound of birdsong to keep us company. We’ve been here since 11.30 am and, although there is room for 8 motorhomes, we are the only ones here.

 

The motorhome aire with the pitches separated by flower containers

The motorhome aire with the pitches separated by flower containers and Flot Bleu service point  on the right

 

The generous pitches are separated by flower containers planted with both, flowers and culinary herbs like chives and thyme, and there’s one with strawberries too! There is an immaculate shower/toilet block and a Flot Bleu service point which operates with jetons (tokens) available from a machine at 2.50 each. This machine in turn operates with credit cards. The aire itself costs 6 a night and we are waiting for Dominique to come and collect the fee between 5.45 and 6.45 pm, as it says on the notice-board. I do like the personal touch of letting us know the name of our hostess. It’s now 5.30 pm so she can’t be long.

Shower, toilet and information block

Shower, toilet and information block

 

In the shower block there are lots of information leaflets, local maps and magazines in French and English. The showers also operate with a jeton and they will run for 12 minutes. Adonis enjoyed one earlier on and he was very impressed with the large cubicles, the free toiletries (shower gel and shampoo) and the temperature of the water – not too hot and not too cold, but just right. Where have I head that before?

 

Gorgeous view from our pitch

Gorgeous view from our pitch

 

You can also order a baguette, or indeed a whole breakfast basket with croissants and pastries for 5 from Dominique, but as we’re doing our big shop in Boulogne-sur-Mer tomorrow morning, we won’t be taking advantage of this thoughtful service this time, but we certainly will in future when we’re heading south and not going back home.

 

A delightful flower border at motorhome aire

A delightful flower border at motorhome aire

 

Same flower border from a distance

Same flower border from a distance

 

The journey here was very pleasant, especially after yesterday’s nightmarish drive on the Paris Peripherique road. We left Conty at 9 am on the D920 west to Poix-de-Picardie, where we joined the D901 north to just south east of Abbeville, where the road crosses the river Somme at Pont-Remy. From there we took the minor road D183 north, passing St Riquier and Domvast and then the D928 to Hesdin, passed the woods and left on the D108 to Embry (NO tomtom this time!!!).

 

Some very old houses in the village

Some very old houses in the village

 

A bit closer

A bit closer.  How on earth is it still standing?

 

This house is over 400 years old!

This house is nearly 400 years old!

 

 

If houses could talk!  I wonder what this one has seen in nearly 4 centuries!

If houses could talk! I wonder what this one has seen in nearly 4 centuries!

 

It’s a shame the weather has turned cooler and grey again, as there are some picnic tables available here too, as well as a barbecue, so we hope we’ll be able to enjoy these on our next visit, which will probably be in August!