Tag Archives: Poitiers

Vaas, Sarthe Department, Tuesday 15th April 2014

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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.

Verteuil-sur-Charente, Sunday 31st March 2013

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Verteuil-sur-Charente's  impressive chateau

Verteuil-sur-Charente’s impressive chateau

 

Once again we’ve come here on the off-chance of finding somewhere to stay by the river and we have been pleasantly surprised and gratified by our instincts.  This place is just charming and, although it meant a longer drive than we intended today, it was well worth the extra hour on the road.

The river and park by the motorhome aire at Verteuil-sur-Charente

The river and park by the motorhome aire at Verteuil-sur-Charente

 

Our initial plan was to stop at Vivonne, just south of Poitiers on the N10, but we arrived there a bit too early to stop for the day, so we just had coffee and continued on south on that road, which is very good indeed and partly the reason why we made such a good time.  We then tried an aire listed in the guide at Sauzé-Vaussais, on the D948, just 5 km west of the N10, but it was just a big car park with a borne and not very inspiring, so we headed for the Charente river south of Rouffec and here we are.

 

Motorhome aire at Verteuil-sur-Charente

Motorhome aire at Verteuil-sur-Charente

 

This free aire has room for 10 motorhomes and has free fresh water, with just a €2 charge for electricity payable at the town hall or Mairie, but being Easter Sunday it is shut.  Nevertheless, we still managed to get a couple of hours supply from whoever had paid previously.  Adonis put the hot water on in that time and we enjoyed a lovely hot shower before our walk through this beautiful village with its water mill and chateau offering guided tours of the gardens.  Unfortunately, by the time we got there after 4 pm, the chateau was shut, but it was still a very pleasant stroll in the sun in the hottest day so far of this Easter holidays.  It’s 5.20 pm now and the thermometer in the van is showing 22°C and we haven’t had the heating on at all since we got here just before 2pm.

 

Beautiful water display and rainbow by watermill

Beautiful water display and rainbow by watermill

Adonis was brave enough to walk in his shorts, but I need another 5° or so more, as I still wore a jumper for the walk. It felt more like mid-teens temperature, which is a massive improvement on the last 3 days, or indeed the last 3 months!

We’ve taken lots of photos with both our cameras and we’re comparing shots: while I just point and shoot with my simple Canon digital SX220, Adonis plays with the exposures, light and speed with his fancy Nikon DSLR, so he wins!

 

The Watermill and cafe

The Watermill and cafe

 

 

A lovely view from the bridge

A lovely view from the bridge

 

We’ll be somewhere south of the Garonne river tomorrow and we’re looking at various possibilities to stay for the night, so everything is open to chance again.

Amboise, 31st December 2012

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Amboise 2012 064

A Festive Amboise

This is our third time at this very convenient and well equipped motorhome aire with a fantastic view of Amboise Château.  We had such a wonderful time last New Year’s Eve that we decided to come back and welcome 2013 at one of our favourite places in France and, where better that right on the banks of the river Loire?  We were more than happy to pay the €20 for our two-day stay here, as it has clean water and electricity included in the price, not to speak of the extremely pleasant walk all around L’Île d’Or, right in the middle of the river, dividing the north and south parts of the town.

 

A festive Amboise

A festive Amboise

 

We arrived yesterday after spending one night at Vars, practically on top of the Charente, as the river was so swollen it had burst its banks and the place we had chosen to stop for the afternoon at Le Portal was badly flooded and we were worried that if it rained again, we might get stuck.  Still, we spent a very pleasant afternoon there and Adonis managed to do some fishing for the first time this holiday and caught two roach.  Vars is just about 10km north of Angouleme, as we were quite keen to find a new overnight stop in the Charente area in order to have more options for the future.

 

The swollen rive Charente at Vars, our overnight stop

The swollen river Charente at Vars, our overnight stop

 

A flooded Le Porta,l where Le Charente burst its banks

A flooded Le Porta,l where Le Charente burst its banks

 

From Vars we went back on the A10 north of Poitiers, Châtellerault and Tours, where we came off at junction 22, south of La Loire and east on D751 to Amboise in time for lunch.

 

Sasha enjoying a good run by the Loire on L'Ile d'Or

Sasha enjoying a good run by the Loire on L’Ile d’Or

After our afternoon walk with Sasha around L’Île d’Or, we went into town to admire the Christmas decorations and enjoy a beer in one of the many lively café bars along the main street by the Château.

 

Christmas lights at Amboise

Christmas lights at Amboise

 

Christmas lights at Amboise

Christmas lights at Amboise

 

This morning I went on a long search for mussels and king prawns, as we fancied these as our last supper of the year.  I first went into the town on the south side of the river, but I couldn’t find a fishmongers or a supermarket selling fresh shellfish, but plenty of oyster sellers on little stalls on the street.  I asked a gentleman who looked local, as he had a carrier bag with shopping in it, and he told me to cross the bridge to the north side and find the market there.  I followed my instinct out of town until I saw signs for Aldi and Intermarché.  I tried the first, but had nothing in the way of fresh fish and so I carried on to Intermarché in Villeret, where I struck lucky and got what I needed.  I was surprised to see it was nearly noon by the time I got back to the van, as I’d left at 10am!

 

Posing by Leonardo da Vinci Statue at L'Ile d'Or

Posing by Leonardo da Vinci Statue at L’Ile d’Or

 

I quickly got changed and we set off to visit Château du Los Lucé Parc Leonardo da Vinci, home to the Artist/Genius from 1516 to 1519 and where he died on 2nd May 1519.  We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the place and it seemed quite surreal to be standing where he’d lived and worked and by the bed in which he died.  We particularly enjoyed the models (both small and life-size) of the inventions he dreamt of, tanks and aeroplanes included.  We loved the fact that there is an exhibition of interactive life-size models in Leonardo’s Garden for people to admire and enjoy and we couldn’t resist the temptation of trying them out: great for children of all ages (especially those pushing 50!).

Trying out one of Leonardo's inventions (an early tank)

Trying out one of Leonardo’s inventions (an early tank)

 

The prototype for a helicopter

The prototype for a helicopter

 

A parachute

A parachute

 

Car and bicycle

Car and bicycle

 

Double staircase: you can see people on the opposite side, but you never meet!

Double staircase: you can see people on the opposite side, but you never meet!

 

Various models of Leonardo's inventions

Various models of Leonardo’s inventions

 

Tank model

Tank model

 

A paddle steamer in Leonardo's Garden

A paddle steamer in Leonardo’s Garden

 

Leonardo's study

Leonardo’s study

 

Leonardo's bed

Leonardo’s bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made it back to the van for 2pm for a later than usual lunch, followed by a quick siesta and another walk around the island and we are now going to get ready to celebrate New Year’s eve with the king prawns and mussels I walked so far to get.

I wonder if we’ll come back here next New Year’s eve again!

 

 

 

L’Île Bouchard, Monday 20th August 2012

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Our pitch at Les Bords de Vienne,  L’Ile Bouchard

 

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years and 4 ½ months since we came here for the first time on our first ever trip to France in our motorhome and we had Pepo and Bramble with us then.

The place is just as charming and relaxed as we remember it, with the stunning willow trees on the bank of the river Vienne and loads of space around us.  The river is much lower now and there is a little beach with a sort of cordoned area for safe swimming, as the current is really fast.  The municipal campsite is a lot more lively now in the height of summer, with a few young families having fun playing, swimming and jumping from the floating pier to cool off from the heat.

Young families cooling off

Last time we were here on 5th and 6th April 2010 it was just us and another camper from Cornwall: happy memories already flooding back.

The truth is we weren’t planning to come here today, but to V.I.P. Pêche on the Plan d’Eau at Ayron, near Poitiers, but we were extremely disappointed to find it was shut when we got there.  Apparently the contract was terminated in April 2012 and, although there is still fishing in the lake, both the campsite and the shop/bar were permanently shut.  We couldn’t believe that it’d all happened so quickly, as we were only there last October when they were holding a fishing competition, which seemed to be very popular, judging by the number of fishermen on the banks of the lake.

L’Ile Bouchard and the river Vienne

So it was that we had to think quickly and come up with plan B and, after a glance at the map, I saw my circle round L’Île Bouchard, just over 1 hour’s drive north on the A10, from J.29 at Migné Auxances to Châtellerault at J. 25 and then just about 10 km west towards Chinon.  It was a good move, for we arrived at this campsite, Les Bords de Vienne, for 1 pm without feeling too tired and the calm and beauty of this place is enough to fill anybody’s heart with joy.

We’ve booked for 2 nights, but we might stretch it to 3, as there’s no rush to go anywhere.

So hot even the cows went for a swim

After leaving Dompierre-sur-Charente yesterday, we headed north on the D150 past Saintes and St Jean-d’Angely and the D950 past Aulnay to Melle, where there is an aire outside the municipal campsite, but it wasn’t quite appropriate and we headed for the Base de Loisirs de Lambon, just northwest of Melle, where we found another lovely lake, very popular with the Sunday pick-nickers and fishermen alike, so that’s where we stopped for the day to enjoy the shade and the fishing.  Everyone left between 8 and 9 pm, so we had the place all to ourselves again in another little gem of the French countryside at Deux-Sevres.

Sunset at L’Ile bouchard

 

 

Sunset at L’Ile bouchard

 

Evening entertainment at L’Ile Bouchard

 

Going …

 

Going …

 

 

 

Gone!

 

Willows trees at L’Ile Bouchard

 

L’Ile Bouchard

 

 

 

Base de Loisirs de Lambon

 

 

 

Dompierre-su-Charente, Charente Maritime, Thursday 16th August 2012

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Spacious Campsite at Dompierre-sur-Charente

This little village by the Charente river has a special place in our hearts and we seem to drift here almost unconsciously.  We wild camped by the usual fishing spot for Adonis last night, but we have now moved into the adjacent campsite to make use of the showers, the washing facilities and electricity.

It’s been very hot and the place is very lively on the river bank, with both campers and day trippers, especially by the ‘bac’, the river crossing barge to Rouffiac, almost like a snap-shot from the past and so nice to see it in operation being manually worked by staff and customers alike!

Wild camping at Dompierre-sur-Charente

We arrived yesterday afternoon after a bit of a dramatic trip on the A10, where our right back tyre burst, just 11km south of our exit at J36.  The funny thing is that it was the first day of rain we’d seen since we crossed from Germany into France back on 22nd July and we had to stand on the hard shoulder under an umbrella until our road rescue arrived, thankfully only 20 minutes!  The mechanic tried to change the tyre there and then, but the spare tyre was not fully inflated and he took us to his garage at Soubran, off J37 to get it up to road-worthy standards.  This all happened just before midday and we finally made it here for 3pm, so we had a very late lunch!  The burst tyre also managed to damage the skirt panel and completely obliterated the mud-guard, so we were lucky we didn’t get hurt.  It certainly made me scream when it burst, but luckily Adonis was driving and he had the van under control.

Le Bac at Dompierre-sur-Charente

After all that excitement and adrenaline flowing, we just chilled by the river bank fishing and reading and I finished ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo’ e-book, which I enjoyed enormously.  I will download the other 2 in the future too and I hope they’ll be just as good.

This morning we drove into Saintes to buy 2 new back tyres, just to be sure, as we don’t want any more nasty surprises.  The front ones were replaced earlier on in the year, so we should be all right for a while.

Tomorrow we are planning to do as little as possible and on Saturday we’d like to visit Cognac and by some of the famous liquor, which will be very comforting in the winter months.

After that, we’ll be heading for V.I.P Pêche (Ayron) near Poitiers again, as I’d like to see it in the summer, after having seen those gorgeous autumn colours last October.

Fishing on the Charente

 

 

 

Dompierre-sur-Charente

Sireuil, Saturday 23rd April 2011

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Sireuil aire and lake

We’ve found another lovely overnight stay bay the Charente river, just 10 km west of Angoulême, on the D699.  Our original plan was to stop at Nersac, but the aire there was by a block of flats and we didn’t like it very much, so we more or less followed the river until we found a suitable place.  This is just by the pleasure boats stop and it’s provided with picnic tables and bins and the grass is cut short and well maintained.

Adonis is trying to fish again, but so far nothing has been landed.

The aire last night was very quiet and welcome after the night before at campsite in Léon.  We slept well and were up just after 8 am, had breakfast and were ready to go by 9.15. 

We drove all morning with usual quick stop for daily baguette and cake and arrived in Nersac for 12.30, but finally stopped for lunch just after 1 pm.

 

 

 

We are again between farmland and the river and it couldn’t be more charming and peaceful.  tomorrow we’ll be heading for a France Passion site just north of Poitiers, so it should be an easy morning’s drive.

Sireuil aire

 

I’ve almost finished sewing puppy soft toy, but need some cotton for filling before I can finally stitch it all up.

I am going to read some more:  Just Dickens and me now!

Sigh at Sireuil aire and lake

V.I.P Pêche Campsite, Plan d’Eau d’Ayron. Saturday, 29th October 2011

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V.I.P. Peche campsite

We are in a small campsite just northwest of Poitiers on the E62/N149 or Route de Poitiers.  We are the only campers here, apart from a young couple who arrived in a panel van last night, but left this morning, so again Bramble is free to run around as he pleases, although the road that leads down to the fishing lake can get busy and I worry he might wander across.

We arrived yesterday just before 1 o’clock and checked in at the bar by lake for 2 days (only 24E) and got a fishing card for Adonis for only 15E for the day and a half he’ll need it for.  We’re camping right under the oak trees and, being autumn, we get some acorns falling on top of van and that’s what actually woke us up this morning.

It’s beautiful being parked in the woods, with all the leaves changing colour this time of year and we are surrounded by a canopy of green, yellow, orange and brown.  Some of the acers along the way were of an intense read, which was quite amazing, but not in this particular wood.  I just love the serenity and peace of the place.

 

VIP Peche lake

Adonis’s been down by the lake most of the time and I’ve been reading, crocheting and revising my French and German as the weather turned cloudy yesterday and rainy this morning.

VIP Peche fishing competition

There is a fishing competition today and the competitors started arriving soon after 8 am.  It was very peculiar to see all the fishermen lined up all along the edge of the lake, spread out every 10 metres or so. I walked down there with Bramble after my very welcome hot shower to enjoy the warmth and I fancied getting to know the place a little bit.  It took us a while to find Adonis, as he had to make room for competitors and was forced to find a spot further down the lake.  Then we carried on walking around lake and found the village and château, but that’s when the rain started and had to dash back, unfortunately.  Perhaps if it’s dry this afternoon, I’ll have another go and explore it properly.

It might be interesting to go to the bar when all the competitors have a break.  They’ve put up an awning and some tables and chairs outside so, being a Saturday, perhaps they expect a few visitors. It’s all very serious, with some fishermen bringing big tents (maybe they listened to the weather forecast) and loads of fishing equipment that puts poor Adonis to shame.  Still, he’s got what he needs, including a little bivvy to keep him dry and the bar is also a fishing tackle shop where he can get anything else he needs.  The carp are jumping out of the water, so I hope he’ll catch something today, especially after the disappointment of Lac des Varennes.  It certainly looks more promising!