Monday, October 21

France July 2013

Waiting to embark.

Its been a couple of months since our adventures in France came to an end, memories are fading so I'd better get them down.
Start off on the 16th of July we took a couple of days to get down to Dover, calling off at Hayfield in the Peak District for the night, wanted to visit a friend there, then Canterbury so we were in a good position for the ferry. Record breaking temperatures in London as we were sitting on the M25.
On arriving in France we headed off for Honfleur, never seeing a hint of Calais, picking up where we left off last year, stopping at the Aire there, finally after a year of waiting we had our meal in a restaurant by the quayside, bliss.

Our van on the Aire at Honfleur.

Next stop was Mont Saint Michel, could see signs of the Tour de France that had gone through the area a few days earlier. Stopped in the car park over night, we were getting the hang of living off the leisure battery with the fridge running on gas. Walked along the causeway onto the island there and back. Think we did our first French geocache of the visit.

Mont Saint Michel

La Rochelle was the next port of call, first stopping off just outside at Coulon, a little village with an Aire, could have done with more time here, a little more exploring, but that could have been said of most places we visited. The main reason for visiting was that it was close to La Rochelle and if we couldn't find anywhere to stay we would go back, no need to worry we found a campsite in the city itself. Another evening on the town and we were starting to get in the swing of things, practicing the French as well as enjoying the street entertainment and taking a ride on a Ferris wheel.

Carlotta @ La Rochelle

Would certainly visit here again and have been told to go onto the adjoining island.

Off now too the Pyrenees where we spent a whole week in a site at Estaing with a visit to Cauterets-Pont d’Espagne, and Lourdes. The journey to the Bridge of Spain was very nervous, twisty with plenty of subsided roads, we were able to admire the panoramic view of the famous Lac de Gaube, praised by the famous author Victor Hugo and the Romantics, higher up in the mountains but easy accessible to us as we took the cable car and chair lift. On the way back to the campsite returning through Cauterets which like other places around midday had looked like a ghost town, was now party central, we never got used to that.
Lourdes was a place we felt we had to visit being just down the road, it was fairly interesting but felt it was just like Scarborough but without the kiss me quick hats, very tacky.

Campsite Pyrénées Natura

Carcassonne was next on our list, well worth the visit, maybe could have done with another night. Another Camping in the City site, we had been looking for an Aire but having got disoriented and taking the van on a little scrape along the ancient city walls I was glad to find this site.


Oradour Sur Glane, two nights here and a very moving visit, saw this place on the opening of the landmark series The World at War, again on an Aire, free but no electric except for very short period, by this time we were adept at living without a hook up, just off the leisure battery, running the fridge off the gas. The new village is modern of course with some nice little bars which we never got to use, pity. We had an evening walking around the area and a whole day in the martyrs village itself.

The Martyrs village

Blois is the is the capital of the Loire valley but for us was just an Aire stop off on the way to Calais and home. By this time the heat was really up there, all of us were feeling it including Felix.

Felix "chillin"

Only just getting used to the lifestyle but the heat slowed us well down, once again wanted more time here, but the three weeks was a real learning curve, in terms of how to travel over longer period as well a abroad in the van.

The van itself performed brilliantly and the cruise control was a god send as was the shower.
Now just looking forward to Easter and the Côte d'Azur.

Off home.

21/10/13 and finally finished this page sitting on a very we pitch in the Lake District.


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