We stayed longer than we intended at Parc Verger so suddenly it was our last week and we had to book a passage home to be in time for Martin's mum's 90th birthday (same day as the queen's)
We had a very cheery send off from the campsite - having just met the Munchies (from the motorhomefun forum) in the last ten minutes we were there. If you are yearning to speak English in France look no further. A very much one of a kind place - I'm sure we'll be back.
We were heading on Mr Munchy's recommendation to Ile D'Oron as he had told us you could cycle round the island. We ended up missing the turn and chose Le Fosse Rouge campsite which claimed to be right on the sea. It was in fact a good few miles inland which was very annoying and also was the only campsite we didn't like - it had a cluttered on top of each other feeling with fixed caravans at every turn and the staff were not friendly. The next day we headed off and fortuitously chose the next island down which was the wonderful Noirmoutier.
Access was over a spectacular bridge which was exhilarating.
After our last experience we decided to go to a five star place with actual pictures of sand dunes to prove how close it was to the sea. Despite it having a lot of tourist razzmatazz in its online marketing it turned out to be sensitively and thoughtfully designed along a strip of sand with very little commercial trappings, just large pitches off a dusty path all within view and close walking distance to a lovely sandy
Lots of people in thigh high wellies oyster picking. We were a bit worried about cooking them so we refrained from trying this. Besides which Martin had not brought his thigh high wellies with him.
We had a very tranquil couple of days here. We rented a second bike and indeed cycled right round the island which was very pleasant and included views of various wetland pastures, grazing animals and wildlife sanctuaries.
They make their own special salt here flavoured with different seasonings so this together with the mustard from Dijon made a nice gift for grandma.
There was a long spit of land separated from the island by the salt banks and was only wide enough for a promenade which luckily had a bike path on it. You cycled with the sea on one side and the wetlands on the other
We loved the old vessels which like some of the buildings we had seen were simply left to gently decay
This beautiful bike trip of about two miles led to the capital city of Noirmoutier also on the sea.
Luckily for us they had huge market when we arrived. The fish market was the size of a huge marquee and contained lots of sea life we didn't recognise. We chose a big fish which defeated the efforts of our little Gem French English dictionary. I must say that publication was a spectacularly useless waste of space and never had what we wanted in it. However we barbecued the mystery fish which was delicious along with 'savage' asparagus.
Another random sculpture that changes depending where you're standing.
Again we spent a day longer than we intended as it was so tranquil and beautiful to be right on the sea in the sunshine.
We had to make a run for it the next day to get within striking distance of our port and ended up at the lovely town of Dinan. We were lucky to find the aire Port de Dinan' we were looking for which was very small and evaded sat nav's efforts. We only spotted it after giving up and heading for another out of town.
This was under a high bridge right above a river. Just room for about 10 vans. The great thing about it was you could walk into town.
Once again a medieval chateau on a steep cobbled hill was a wonderful find - as was the artisans' road of handmade jewellery, water colours and art galleries.
The next day we were off early to the port of St Malo and we camped right next to the port to be ready for our mid morning sailing. The site was on the battlements which was a fortified German defence site from the war. The port town was pleasant with a huge beach
We were excited about our 9 hour ferry crossing to Portsmouth (closer to Bristol where we were headed)
It was 7 decks high and felt a bit like a cruise with cinemas, restaurants, bars, shops and nice look out spots. It sailed past the Channel Islands and the huge naval ships at Portsmouth
That night we camped at a Brit stop pub in Soberton and enjoyed a good real ale and pie. We toasted the success of our first proper overseas trip in our trusty Lenny and then got the map out to plan the next one ...
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