Tag Archives: Wissant

Obernai, Bas Rhin, Alsace, Thursday 24th December 2015

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Pretty Obernai

We made it to Alsace for Christmas as we intended and we are certainly not disappointed with our choice. We loved Obernai when we came here in the summer a couple of years ago and we just knew it would be beautiful at Christmas. The whole place’s got a very special atmosphere, all made possible by the Christmas market stalls, the street and houses decorations, the festive people and, of course, the mulled wine!

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Our first view of the town

We arrived at the Camping Municipal Vallon de l’Ehn yesterday morning and, after hooking up and giving Beano a little walk around the campsite, we set off to explore the town and soak up the spirit of Christmas, so beautifully done here. We loved the whole thing: the various wooden huts selling all kinds of goods, the Manger with life size figures and real sheep and donkey, the train ride and carrousel for children and seeing everyone enjoying themselves sipping a glass of mulled wine and munching on roasted chestnuts, which added to the seasonal atmosphere with the lovely scents.
We bought a couple of bottles of Crémant and Cordon Bleu Snitzels for tonight and came back to the van for lunch and Beano’s afternoon walk.

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The life size Manger with real animals

 

We returned to the town in the evening to see it all lit up and enjoy a glass of Bière de Noël and, of course, the ubiquitous mulled wine to make time for dinner.

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Beautiful and original Christmas decorations

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The town in full swing

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One of many lovely seasonal stalls

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You just have to love this!

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We tried a couple of restaurants, but they were fully booked, but struck it lucky on our third attempt at La Halle aux Blés, where we had a hearty meal of spare ribs and chips for Adonis and Escalope Viennoise for me, all accompanied by a lovely pitcher of Riesling. We were delighted with our choices and the generous portions and felt a bit too full for pudding, which we decided to leave for Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

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Wreath over our heads at La Halle aux Blés

So we staggered back uphill to the campsite and had a good night’s sleep with just the slightest threat of a headache that, thankfully, didn’t go full blown.

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We sat here on our way back to enjoy atmosphere before bed

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This morning, we took the bus into town and bought a chicken for tomorrow and a veal pie for Boxing Day. The idea was to buy an already cooked chicken, but as we hadn’t seen any outlets yesterday and we didn’t want to risk going without on Christmas Day, we bought a fresh one from the local Traiteur, only to find later on that the full-on market was on with no less than 3 outlets for ‘Poulet roti’!!! We had a good laugh about that and now we know for next time.

It’s a lovely sunny day with blue skies today and, although it is not frosty, it is just perfect for Christmas. We’ve just taken Beano for a long walk along the stream and are enjoying a refreshing beer in the sun.

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Aire at Catillon-sur-Sambre

The drive here went without a hitch, stopping at a very empty Wissant aire the first night, by the canal at Catillon-sur-Sambre east of Cambrai on D643 on Saturday and 2 nights at Stenay, the first night by the Capitainerie, as there was no-one to give us the code to enter the proper aire, but the guard came in the evening and gave us the code for the next day after paying our €9 fee. Stenay was also cheerfully decorated for the season.

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Parked by Capitainerie at Stenay

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Festive lights at Stenay

Finally, we stopped for one night at Harskirchen by the Port de Plaisance, all very quiet and peaceful and free this time of year.

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Aire at Harskirchen

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.

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…

Quend-Plage-les-Pins, Somme, Saturday 27th December 2014

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Lovely setting for motorhome aire at Quend-Plage-les-Pins

Lovely setting for motorhome aire at Quend-Plage-les-Pins

Here we are on our last trip of the year for just a short 8-day break and the weather hasn’t exactly received us with kindness. It blew a gale last night at Wissant, which kept us up for quite a while, and today it hasn’t been any better.

We got up late due to the disturbed sleep and didn’t make it to Boulogne-sur-Mer for our shop until 10.30am, so instead of going to Pont de l’Arche again as planned, we thought it might be easier and quicker to try this motorhome aire just south of Berck. This is a beautiful stopping place opposite an Eco Village, just a few minutes walk away from the town and beach. It has space for 30 vehicles, a bourne for water and electricity for 2 and the daily fee would cost 7, except that the machine doesn’t seem to be working or maybe it’s been turned off for the winter, as it wasn’t accepting any of the coins I put in. Nobody’s been round to collect the fees, so we might have a free stay!

Walking past the Eco Village and it begins to rain

Walking past the Eco Village and it begins to rain

Very rough weather on the sea front, not pleasant for walking

Very rough weather on the sea front, not pleasant for walking

Getting soaked by rain and waves!

Getting soaked by rain and waves!

We got here for lunch and after siesta we went for a walk on the sea front, but the wind was so strong and cold that it made it very unpleasant to stay there for too long, as it was also raining heavily and Beano seemed to be suffering, pulling back on the lead, so we took the hint and walked back to the van. We were soaked through from waist down as, luckily, we have very good waterproof coats, but our trousers were dripping and are now hanging in the shower room, which is like a sauna when the heating is on. They’ll be dry in the morning for sure.

A very wet husband walking back to safety of van

A very wet husband walking back to safety of van

Shower room becomes drying room!

Shower room becomes drying room!

The Eurotunnel crossing was nice and easy as always and, as we arrived much earlier than anticipated, we paid £30 extra to jump on the next available train, which left at 3.06pm, so we arrived in Calais at about 4.40pm local time and were very pleased to see there was plenty of room at Wissant’s motorhome aire, which we have been avoiding of late, especially in the summer months, for being too crowded, but it was lovely and quiet last night.

We are thinking of spending tomorrow in lovely and reliable Broglie and then La Suze-sur-Sarthe.

Broglie, Le Crotoy and Wissant, 16th-18th April 2014

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Bhe Bay of the Somme at Le Crotoy

Bhe Bay of the Somme at Le Crotoy

 

We finished our Easter escapade staying at the usual reliable motorhome aires. Broglie’s aire is an excellent base to take Beano to the vet’s for his check up before returning to England and to have a relaxing walk along the Charentone river. The aire is beautifully kept, with hard standing, but grassy areas for picnics and is still only 5 a night (same price as 4 years ago), which is collected by a guard in the evening, and it has a borne for water and electricity that works with a jeton or token. It has room for 8 vehicles, but we were the only ones there for most of the day. It is just a little gem of a place and the village is also quaint and picturesque, with all the facilities one could need.

 

The charming aire at Broglie by the Charentone river

The charming aire at Broglie by the Charentone river

 

Quaint and charming Broglie

Quaint and charming Broglie

 

We spent a hot day at a very busy aire at Le Crotoy. We had never seen it so busy and it felt a bit crowded, but with such wonderful views of the Bay of the Somme and the town itself, it is hardly surprising that it’s so popular. We went on our usual walk around the bay and, as always, my camera seemed to be working overtime, as it is a kind of place that seems different every time we go due to the light changing. I just can’t get enough of this place.

 

Broglie to Wissant April 14 014

 

The forever beautiful, Le Crotoy

The forever beautiful, Le Crotoy

 

This gull crossed my path just as the camera was shooting

This gull crossed my path just as the camera was shooting

 

Broglie to Wissant April 14 004

 

My favourite photo of the holidays.

My favourite photo of the holidays.

 

At Wissant, we were surprised and disappointed to see how many motorhomers show complete disregard for local residents and rules, parking in the zones clearly marked for buses, even when there wasn’t any more room in these either, and causing total chaos when the buses finally arrived at the end of their day. We watched in amazement and dismay as the buses struggled to get in the aire, as it had been blocked by one of the ‘illegally’ parked motorhomes, and felt sorry for the bus drivers knocking on the vans’ doors, but the occupiers had gone into town and there was nobody to move these vehicles. Totally shameful and unacceptable, in our opinion. I fear that this kind of inconsiderate selfish people will spoil it for the rest of us in the long run and tighter measures will be introduced. I hope the aire won’t shut altogether, but it wouldn’t surprise me either. We might stop up the road at Escalles on our next trip, as we keep seeing in on our way down and it looks more spacious. We’ll see.

 

Unacceptable parking at Wissant aire

Unacceptable parking at Wissant aire

 

Buses struggling to get into aire due to bad parking

Buses struggling to get into aire due to bad parking

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.