Tag Archives: Reims

Gérardmer, Vosges, Friday 10th July 2015

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Lac de Gerardmer

Lac de Gerardmer

The first week in our new Hymer 584 has gone very well indeed and it didn’t take us long to get used to all the new control panels, doors and windows mechanisms, etc. We are really enjoying the extra space for storage underneath for tables, chairs, fishing gear, buckets and bits and pieces one needs when travelling like this and we really LOVE the separate shower with its own screen, the bigger bed lower down and with more space for the air to circulate, the bigger fridge and fixed dining table and just about everything else. I don’t even miss the oven, as we have bought an Andrew James electric Multi Cooker that heats up pizzas, casseroles and even cooks chips with a crisp finish. It really feels like a step up the motorhoming world!

We had a sort of plan for the first week of our travels that we failed to follow completely and about which we had a very good laugh earlier on. Poor Adonis spent hours researching motorhome aires and maps to come up with a route towards Germany, but for some reason, not really quite sure why, we did something totally different.

The last hour on our way to the Channel Tunnel was slow and painful due to the M20 being shut for Operation Stack after the French strikes at the docks, so we had to follow the A20 through Ashford, which added a whole hour to our journey. Still, we arrived to the terminal 2 hours before our scheduled departure time with the hope of boarding earlier, but all the trains were full and we had to wait until 4.20pm, which gave us time for lunch and a rest before the crossing.

We arrived at Calais about 6.15pm and tried to stop for the night at the aire at Escalles, but they put up a sign now banning all overnight stays, so we tried Wissant further down the road, which was packed by the time we got there. We then moved further down towards Cap Gris Nez and stopped a the restaurant-bar Les Deux Caps in Audinghen, which used to be a France Passion site before but not any more. Nevertheless, we had a beer outside to enjoy the last of the sunshine and asked the friendly waitress if it would be possible for us to stay the night in their car park and they very kindly obliged.

The lovely motorhome aire at Nuncq Hautecote

The lovely motorhome aire at Nuncq Hautecote

The next day, Saturday, we did our usual shop at Auchan in Boulogne-sur-Mer and stopped for the day at the private aire of Nuncq Hautecote for 6. this is a lovely aire with all the usual facilities with an extra charge for electricity, which we didn’t need. It also had a country lane adequate for dog walks.

View of the Champagne fields from Manoir de Montflambert, Mutigny

View of the Champagne fields from Manoir de Montflambert, Mutigny

Sunday was our 18th wedding anniversary and it found us in Champagne country at Mutigny, south of Reims, with amazing views of the vineyards. This aire was free and there were numerous Champagne outlets in the village, but the aire itself is further up the hill following the road to Manoir de Montflambert.

Champagne fields

Champagne fields

Motorhome aire at Manoir de Montflambert, Mutigny

Motorhome aire at Manoir de Montflambert, Mutigny

From there we carried on south east, past Châlons-en-Champagne and followed the N44 to St Dizier and N67 to Froncles, north of Chaumont in the Haute Marne department. Here we stayed at the aire by the canal and, although the location is very pretty, we felt a bit crowded and, for some reason, I couldn’t quite relax, so we decided to make our way to the spacious aire at Corre in Haute Saône.

The attractive aire at Froncles by canal

The attractive aire at Froncles by canal

We were the only ones in Corre when we arrived and had pick of the pitches and only a couple more motorhomes joined us during our stay.  We love it here because we can swim in the canal and Adonis can fish and the facilities are all included in the €8 daily fee. We ended up staying 3 days, as it is lovely and quiet, with everything we need and the village is only a few minutes walk along the canal, which is also a very pleasant dog walk.  There is a nice bar and restaurant by the Marina and aire too for those who don’t feel like cooking…

The large and mostly empty aire at Corre

The large and mostly empty aire at Corre

The bar and restaurant at the Marina and aire in Corre

The bar and restaurant at the Marina and aire in Corre

The pleasant walk along the canal from the aire to the village

The pleasant walk along the canal from the aire to the village

We left this morning and tried a campsite with direct access to the lake Gérardmer, but the only pitch available was too small and totally unsuitable for us, so I went back to reception and asked if we could have our money back, which they very kindly did without any fuss. The campsite was heaving with young families and young people in tents, but we think this is due to the Kayak races taking place at the moment for the French Championships.

Lac de Gerardmer

Lac de Gerardmer

We are staying at the aire by the Tourist Information Office for €5.50 overnight fee and went swimming in the lake before lunch and after siesta. It’s much busier than when we came 2 years ago, again due to the races we presume, but still wonderful and cooling.

We are planning to cross into Germany tomorrow, but then again, we might change our minds…

Mareuil-sur-Ay, Marne Department, Wednesday 9th July 2014

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Parking under the trees by canal in charming Mareuil-sur-Ay aire.

Parking under the trees by canal in charming Mareuil-sur-Ay aire.

 

We are parked by the charming tree-lined canal that runs alongside the river Marne, just south of Reims, but unfortunately it has been raining all day, quite heavily at times, and I don’t really feel like going for a long walk like I normally would. I took Beano out for a quick trot when we arrived here just before 2 pm and Adonis took him for a longer one after our siesta. It’s a real shame as it’s really beautiful and I would have loved to enjoy it in the sun, eating out, etc like we did this time last year. Truth be told, we’ve only had one day of sunshine and hot weather on Sunday at the Vivier des Carpes campsite, so we are getting really desperate for some sun and warmth and, therefore, we have changed our original plan of going to Brittany for week or so in favour of heading south east, where the weather is bound to be better. We might go to Brittany on our way back in mid- August, but for now we are very much playing it by ear.

 

Walking Beano by the canal in the rain

Walking Beano by the canal in the rain

 

The lovely canal walk

The lovely canal walk

 

We visited the Caverne du Dragon on the Chemin des Dames, which was the scene of bloody fightings in 1914, 1917 and 1918. The Caverne itself was an ancient quarry turned into an underground barracks during WW1 and it shows many galleries used by soldiers, both French and German, even sharing it at some point! We followed the guided in French as we didn’t want to wait until 12 for the English one, but we managed OK and got the gist of things. It felt cold under there – 17 metres underground – in July, so I hate to think what it must have been like in the winter all those years ago. It was certainly interesting and well worth the 6entry fee.

 

Caverne du Dragon

Caverne du Dragon

 

The view of what would have been the battlefield behind entrance to cave

The view of what would have been the battlefield behind entrance to cave

 

In memory of the fallen in the Caverne du Dragon

In memory of the fallen in the Caverne du Dragon

Some gruesome remnants of WW1

Some gruesome remnants of WW1

 

A sad reminder of the true cost of war

A sad reminder of the true cost of war

 

The soldiers' cooking area inside the cave

The soldiers’ cooking area inside the cave

 

There are numerous Champagne outlets here and we were hoping to visit some and buy a couple of bottles, but perhaps not today. I hope it’s a bit drier tomorrow so that we can enjoy a walk into town and along the canal.