Day 574 – Le Lavandou – 27 Sep 11
For piccies see www.eastmidlandsdea.co.uk
Left Carcassone on Sat 17th and bade farewell to Paul and Jacqueline who are not going to make it to see Pat and Maria at St Claire. They are heading for a ferry in the North of France in early October and want to take an easy ride via Bordeaux. Great to see them again and hopefully will meet up again in Spain.
Péage again to Arles and the BienHeureuse site for a night stop. 2 words come to mind – Rack and Ruin! It's only consolation is that it's only 1km from the motorway and has a nice pool which is handy as it's 30 degrees C again. Phew!
Autoroute Toll Report - France
1080 kilometres driven €144 toll fees at 13 cents per km. I don’t think that's bad but you may disagree.
It costs us just over 30 cents per Km on the Autoroute and 39 cents per km off it – so the extra 4 cents for tolls is OK.
I balance the ease of driving, better roads, less stress/traffic and less fuel consumption (trip duration / gear changing) against extra cost.
We’ll take péage most of the time when towing. And it gets much cheaper in Spain.
Anyhoo, arrived in Le Lavandou, near St Tropez, at the St Claire campsite on the recommendation of Pat and Maria who come here a lot. Easy Autoroute drive from Arles although a bit rainy. Site initially looked a bit tight but after warm welcome, directed through 2 double gates to the garden of plenty. Nice large pitch near all facilities – water on pitch – and 100 m from the sea and beach. Excellent lunch catching up with Pat and Maria and then a nice dinner at a beachside restaurant. Penny contacted us from Port Grimaud and Carole has driven over in Smartie for a couple of days to mix with the rich and famous. The famous Mistral has blown for 24 hours but will calm down later and it's v sunny and set fair for the next month.
Final word on the ex-Mistral wind. There was one gust last night which blew one of our loungers clean around the van. How it got around 2 corners I do not know. No damage done but Pat lost a window! And the Swiss bloke across the road had his awning broken.
Breakfast on the beach and a lazy day. Cycled into Lavandou to check it out whilst waiting for Carole to return from St Trop as she now calls it. Cycled with Pat and Maria up to Cavaliere about 5 miles along the coast for lunch. Very pleasant in bright, warm sunshine.
We may well come back here next year. After doing Germany we’ll probably head south and avoid central France. Won't be going on the Autotrail Rally to Bavaria as they couldn’t cope with us not having a UK address, so we were bounced without so much as a by your leave! Never mind, we’ll sort something else out. Everything works out for the best.
I just saw Diesel at €1.27 (£1.12) – where? In St Tropez…typical, the rich get it all ways!
Mostly, our days here at St Claire are spent on the beach or laziy lunching. A very relaxing week. Going off to Port Grimaud today for a day with Penny and Gordon on their boat/ship/cruiser. Should be good.
Bill and Shirl’s Day on the Boat
We set off in Smartie at 9.30am to meet up with Gordon and Penny in Port Grimaud. It's a winding road but scenic and very busy as one approaches St Tropez. A ‘deviation’ didn’t help. Anyway, we infiltrated the harbour at Port Grimaud and set of in the ‘China Girl’ at just after 11am. It's a 67-footer, twin engine and has more carpet than our house! Gordon skilfully manoeuvred out of the very crowded Port Grimaud and into the open sea. Cruising at 25 kts past St Tropez and BB’s statue and into the bay at Pampelonne Beach. We anchored about 200 metres offshore and the bubbly flowed. After 30 minutes a tender from the restaurant onshore pulled up and ferried us to the beach. A superbe beachside lunch followed and before we knew it, 6pm struck! Another ferry back to the boat and we cruised home into the sunset and Port Grimaud, where once again Gordon very expertly re-negotiated the harbour and docked around 7pm. Got home around 8.20pm to find the gates locked and had to enter the site via the exit.
All in all a brilliant day and was one of the experiences from our trip we won't forget. Thanks Penny and Gordon – we hope to return the hospitality next time we meet. Whenever that might be.
Off into Le Lavandou tonight for a farewell meal with Pat and Maria and then on to Serignan Plage near Beziers tomorrow. Then into Spain. Hurrah!:thumb:
It's been really pleasant here. The week has zipped by really quickly and we will be considering returning – but only out of July/August as everybody says it's crazy with holiday makers.
It's been great seeing Pat and Maria again and we look forward to meeting up on the Road to Cabopino.
All for now
M and D
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