Our first 14 days in France - We're now in Bordeaux

Published by Marrwyck in the blog Marrwyck's blog. Views: 251

The Clampetts Tour of Europe
Two people – Sonia & Martin
1 Knaus Sun Ti Motorhome

The idea:
Get out of the rat race, live our lives & enjoy being together.

The reality:
Who knows?
Our aim is to both enjoy our time together whatever is ahead of us.

Where To?
We haven’t a clue on this one.
We’ll just go wherever we think. We’ll enjoy whatever we see, whatever we do & together we’ll look forward to whatever is ahead of us.

We both love the peace & quiet that nature offers, the rugged & rocky coastlines.
No motorways, no toll roads, just heading for wherever we end up.
No large populated places, just looking for peace & quiet wherever that is.
Most of all we enjoy whatever we do together.

So here is our journal on our trip into the unknown & as we see it.
We hope you enjoy reading about our journey & the road ahead of us.
We’ll keep you up to date with as much information as possible.
Who knows when that we’ll be? We’ll do it whenever the opportunity arises.


Day 1 – Tuesday 08/07/08
After an overnight stop at Devil’s Dyke we made our way to Dover to book a channel crossing to take us from Dover to Calais.
After taking the coast road we finally arrived in Dover shortly after mid-day. Upon arrival we entered the port booking office looking for a crossing that would give us value for money.
Sea France quoted us £114.00; P&O quoted us £104.00 & Norfolk Line a staggering £148.00.
Just out side the port we had noticed an office offering discounted channel crossings.
We drove to their office & after enquiring what available crossings there were that day, we were booked on the Sea France 16.25 ferry at the cost of just £47.50p for a one way ticket.
So after thinking you could just turn up at Dover & buy a cheap ticket direct from the operators it turns out that it’s always best to either book online or use a discounted ticket office.
We used Dover Eurochange, Townwall Street, Dover, Kent. CT16 1JR. Tel: 01304 210949

So now with a couple of hours to spare we visited the national Trust site at Dover.
The weather had been a mixture of a few small showers but now it was a nice sunny afternoon, but the wind was getting up. No problem for me, but I think Sonia had better take a couple of sea leg tablets just in case it does get a bit bumpy as we cross the channel.
Parked on the hill in the site car park looking down on the port having a cup of tea was just the way to relax before our crossing. We left the NT site & headed back to the port for our 16.00 booking in time. After arriving back in the port we went through a brief security check then headed for the Sea France departure booth.
We were greeted by the news that our crossing was delayed by about an hour. Not too worry we replied, we’re in no rush. I think they thought we were mad as probably most people groaned about being delayed. But we have got plenty of time ahead of us as we haven’t a clue where we are going or where we will end up on our tour.

We boarded the ferry shortly after 5pm & set sail around 5.30 – 5.45pm.
The crossing was fine & we both had a good look around the ship before our first sighting of France came into view. Wow we both thought, the shore line was looking good & the weather was bright.
Shortly after 7:15 pm French time we had departed the ferry & we were off.
Mm, where do we go? This way or that way?

Now the first thing that I did notice was they drive on the wrong side of the road to us.
They drive on the right & I had to quickly adapt as there was all this traffic coming off the ferry & driving out of the port.
So what do you do?
You just follow the motorhome in front & hope it’s going where you want to go.
After driving away from the port of Calais I pulled over, programmed the sat nav to take us to the nearest supermarket which just happened to be Carrefour. Upon arrival we looked at each other, laughed & realised we had finally made it to France for the start of our tour.

So now we were sat in the Carrefour car park & we decided to get some bread & bananas.
How can a simple task be so different from home?
Well after finding some bread & picking up a bunch of bananas we queued up & realised there were no express tills. So after patiently waiting in the queue for about 10 minutes we were greeted by a loud bonjour, we replied & then it was all double dutch to us. We just wanted to pay for our goods & then leave. This person was on about tickets, weights etc for the bananas so after a while we gestured we would just buy the bread & leave the bananas behind.
After exiting Carrefour’s we didn’t realised that buying a bunch of bananas could be such a task.
But it was fun trying & I’m sure we’ll have plenty more yet.
Well it’s now getting on for 9pm & we still haven’t worked out where we were heading.
But first of all we need some diesel. So after a little drive around we found an Esso garage where we filled up our tank with 50 litres of diesel for €73.95 @ €1.47 which equals £61.37p @ £1.22p litre. So our 1st fill up in France was a bit cheaper than the UK, but not a great saving.

So after deciding we didn’t really want to spend the night in Calais we consulted our All the Aires France book & we decided to head for the aires at Audresselles, page 296 site no: 42 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N50º.49.184 E001º.35.820 for Google earth).
So now we have 2 lost Brit’s driving in the dark without a clue where they were heading or what to expect when they get there, this should be fun.

Around 9:45 – 10pm we finally arrived at the aires, great we thought. What we didn’t know was the motorhome parking outside the campsite had been stopped. After being greeted by a lovely lady who we apologised to for arriving late, she told us in broken English that the motorhome parking had been stopped outside the campsite & we could stay on the site which included showers & services for the motorhome for €6 which works out to around £4.98p.
Great we both said where do we park? Let’s put our 1st night in France to bed.

Day 2 – Wednesday 09/07/08
Well after a peaceful night’s kip I thought I’d better take a quick look around the camp site & pay for our nights stay. The camp site was fine & I did notice that probably there were some long term campers staying there. Showers were clean & the water was hot, toilets were clean, site had plenty of sinks & a launderette. On the whole we thought the site offered good value for money & we could also service our motorhome there (fill up with water, empty grey water etc).
So after a good shower & a few cups of tea we thought we had better move on. Looking back we probably should have stayed on the site for a day or two so we could get a feel for the road ahead, but hey what the heck we hadn’t planned anything yet, so why bother now.

The weather was mean & by mid morning it was still wet & rainy.
So shortly after 11am we left Audresselles & headed for wherever we thought we should go.
So with a map of France in one hand & a sat nav in the other we headed for Dieppe.
We thought we would follow the coast road & see where the road ahead would take us.

I found the roads easy to drive, good sign posting & not a large amount of traffic.
Well we stopped at a few places on the way, Wimille, Boulogne-S-Mer, Etaples, Berck, St-Vallery-S-Somme, Ault, le Treport, Bracqemont & finally Dieppe.
After a few stops & a few cuppa’s we decided to head for our 1st night at a France Passion site.

Well that’s one thing we did do before we left the UK, we joined France passion.
Having heard about it & reading about the scheme on their site: http://www.france-passion.com
We thought for £21 it sounded more than good value for money as there are over 5,500 places to park overnight for free & that means at night we should always be safe & sound.
The book favours the 1,300 venues who are members of the France Passion scheme & the rest I think you just look for the Bienvenue A La Ferme sign.

So we picked out a site called Amfreville Les Champs 76560 page 342 which was a Cider Farm.
Okay so I know what you’re all thinking, we only picked the site because they spoke English.
How wrong you are, we picked the site because we don’t talk French.

Well believe it or not we actually found the site without not to many wrong turns & it was great.
The hosts were very friendly & we chatted with them for a while before being left to take a look around & discover what their property had to offer.
We were parked by their pond for the night, we had a good walk around the orchards & it was great.
There was only one other motorhome parked there for the night which we didn’t see the people come or go. There was also another motorhome parked there which unfortunately the owner had been rushed to hospital with appendicitis.
Hopefully he has now fully recovered & is now safely back home.

The weather had been a mixture of rain, more rain & even torrential rain, but the night was looking good. Bit chilly, but at least it was dry.
Time to put Polly on once again; have a cuppa & a get a good night’s kip.
We highly recommended this site to stay at.

Day 3 –Thursday 10/07/08
Well after a good night’s kip & a few cuppa’s it was time for us to depart our overnight stop.
We bid a fair au revoir to our hosts & departed through the gates of this splendid property.
So where do we go from here? We head that way to Rouen.
Rouen was very busy & after negotiating the driving around this place we headed for Broglie.
We stopped of at the aires no: 35 p264 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N49º.00.514 E000º.31.833 for Google earth). The aires was a very pleasant place to park up which gave us time to wander around the village to see what it had to offer.
The walk around the river was nice & there are plenty of places to have a picnic.

Now one thing I had noticed by now was that in France every town, village etc seemed to have a large Church or Cathedral & there were plenty of places to stop & rest. Also everywhere seemed to be clean & free from rubbish as there were plenty of bins placed around the areas.
Parking was FREE – yes FREE, no parking charges & everywhere we had been through all had places for Motorhomes to stop & park up.
We could now begin to see why France was probably the motorhome capital of Europe.
Long roads, easy driving, well sign posted, places to stop & friendly people.

Are we beginning to miss England with all its’ rules & regulations, all its’ charges, all its’ rubbish, all its’ motorhome unfriendliness? Mm, don’t think so some how, do you?

The weather was still miserable & we had a mixture of heavy rain & sunny spells throughout the day.
So we left Broglie heading for a place called Ceauce. Well we never made that one, for some reason or another we got horribly lost after leaving Alencon & after a rather long drive around we headed for another France passion site.

This site was at Sees & was called La Hibou 61500 page 293 which was a cider farm.
The parking area was okay & we could hear a little bit of road noise.
The hosts didn’t seem that bothered we were there & weren’t interested in showing us their farm.
There wasn’t any nice walks or views here, but it served its’ purpose & the night was quiet.
We were the only ones’ parked there for the night.

One thing we had noticed about using the France Passion book was trying to work out how to find some of the places. No sat nav co-ordinates, just a post code & maybe a road name.
But that’s all part of the fun isn’t it? Getting lost & seeing something you would have missed.

Day 4 – Friday 11-07-08
We left Sees mid morning & decided to head towards Le Mont St. Michel.
We went to Alencon – Pre En Pail – Neuilly Le Vendin – Haleine – Domfront – Le Teilleul –
St. Hilaire Du Harcourt – Mortain – Ducey – Precey – Portoson – Pleine Fougres – Antrain.

At Antrain we found an aires in the centre of the village that doesn’t seem to be in the aires book.
It did look very new & had a nice area around it which could be used for a picnic.
It was very clean, washing sinks, state of the art toilets & a service point which to use cost €1.

Just think 86p to get rid of your waste water & empty & clean your toilet cassette, then top up & refill your freshwater tank with good quality water & perhaps any containers you may carry.
Plus you could also use the sinks to have a wash & shave, or perhaps wash out some laundry & you also have nice clean toilets at your disposal.
Not to mention all the rubbish bins & recycling points at your disposal.
Where’s all the litter & rubbish we’re used to seeing?
Are us Brits missing something or am I just beginning to think that the European way of life is just so much easier & even better than what we have in the UK?

After a good look around we finally left Antrain heading for our nights destination.
Well after a bit of a mare & trying to ask for directions without any luck there, with one last throw of the dice I turned up a road thinking we’ll still be lost & to our amazement there it was, Vieux Viel our France passion site for the night.

Vieux Viel 35610 page 197 was another cider farm.
The site had a nice feel to it & was set in a nice quiet area. The hosts were very welcoming & even showed us how the cider press worked. We parked in a crescent shaped drive near to their home.
After the day had seen a mixture of rain & sunny spells we went for a nice walk in the evening sun.
It was very quiet at night & there were 2 of us parked there for the night.
We highly recommended this site to stay at.

Day 5 – Saturday 12-07-08
Well after another good night’s kip & polly had come to the boil once again. We chatted with some people from Belgium who had also stopped at Vieux Viel that night. We got some useful information about travelling through Belgium & Holland & were now thinking the route we had taken may perhaps be the right one. There seems to be an opinion that no matter who you talk to France is the place to be in a motorhome. Many other countries seem to tolerate them but none seem to be as geared up as France. Well we’ll see as the time comes & our travels widen.

Well it’s another cloudy wet start to the day, but we don’t care, we’re off to Le Mont St. Michel.
After a hearty au revoir we left Vieux Viel & headed for our destination.
If you’ve never seen this famous landmark you can’t miss it, you can see Le Mont St. Michel in every direction as you approach it. Upon arrival we paid our €8 for the car park which was huge.
There was a dedicated motorhome parking area & for our €8 it entitled us to park there overnight.

Wow, this place looks awesome. Magnificent landmark, magnificent views, magnificent sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, everything looked magnificent.
We approached Le Mont St. Michel & were amazed when we entered the gates.
A complete town built into a hill along with its’ narrow cobbled streets, houses & above all this one of the most famous Abbey’s in the world standing on top of it all, Le Mont St. Michel.
The weather had taken a turn & it was raining hard, but not for long. By mid morning the clouds had disappeared & the sun was beginning to come out of hiding.
The place was alive with the coming of people in their hundreds. By mid morning the car park was filling up & the coaches were arriving by the dozen. So many people, so many nationality’s joining together to savour the splendour of this magnificent Abbey.

Well after a good look around the grounds & a spot of lunch we had both decided it was worth paying the €17 entrance fee for the both of us to see inside the Abbey.
After joining quite a long queue & ascending up a rather steep set of steps we finally reached the ticket booth. After a short walk, tickets clipped we were on our way into the Abbey.

Well what can we say? Le Mont St. Michel is an amazing place to see. The inside of the Abbey is magnificent, probably a little bit different to what we had imagined it would be like. But none the less it’s a must on anyone’s list. The views were terrific & the Abbey breathes life & energy.

After spending the whole day in this magnificent Abbey we took a short walk around the outside before heading back to our motorhome, polly was calling & we were parched.

So after such a magnificent day, what could we expect that evening?
Just think €8 to park at one of the most famous landmarks in the world for 24 hours in a dedicated motorhome park. Wonder if we can park in St. Paul’s Cathedral for the same £6.64p, I think not.

As the evening grew darker Le Mont St. Michel came alive. It was well lit up & the night was cloudy but dry. Fireworks went off late in the evening & it was great to be there.

Polly was boiling & after a cuppa it was finally time to hit the sack.

Day 6 – Sunday 13-07-08
Well after another great night’s kip & polly had bought the morning to another fine start it was time for us once again to move on.
We left Le Mont St. Michel under a cloudy sky which was sending down more rain.
We had decided to head for St. Cast Le Guildo. We went via St. Malo & stopped at Rance.
Now this was an interesting place. We had driven over a river & found a power station built underneath it. Rance power station is a tidal power station. It was the 1st in the World to produce electricity thanks to tidal energy. It was built between 1961 & 1966 at the exceptional location of the Rance estuary.
I’m sure that if you search for this place on Google you’ll be able to read about it.
Well worth a visit not only for the location but also to see what else this place has to offer.

Sadly whilst we were there a Dolphin had been found dead in the bay.

By mid afternoon we left Rance & had thoroughly enjoyed our stop over.
We arrived at St. Cast Le Guildo & used the 1st Aires listed there to replenish our motorhome
no: 135 page 67 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N48º.37.738 W002º.15.219 for Google earth). Aires was okay, difficult to get onto as there was a caravan parked there at the time, but we managed. Cost was €2 which equals £1.66p we then drove to the 2nd Aires listed expecting to find somewhere to park. Aires no: 136 page 67 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N48º.38.595 W002º.14.767 for Google earth).
Well we found the coast guard building high above the harbour but nowhere to park. The car park had a height barrier on it & you couldn’t drive down the road as there was a no entry sign there.
So after discovering this we headed for Plouha.
How delighted we were when we arrived. Aires no: 125 page 65 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N48º.40.554 W002º.53.107 for Google earth).
We parked right opposite the beach with a nice view. There is plenty to do here, nice long walks along the cliff tops, fishing, swimming, volleyball, boules & sunbathing. There’s a couple of restaurants & a bar here. The local baker stops at the aires every morning between 08.30 & 09.00.
So with your morning cuppa you can have fresh croissants or whatever else you fancy.
We could only park here for the 1 night as there was a festival in Plouha on the Monday afternoon & all vehicles had to leave by 10am that morning, otherwise we would have stayed another day or two.

One thing we had discovered by now was that most if not all the shops & supermarkets were closed on a Sunday. So if you had forgot to buy your food or fill up with fuel, then it was find somewhere nice to park up & use corn flakes as croutons for your soup.

Day 7 – Monday 14-07-08
Well after leaving Plouha we drove to Paimpol. We parked up at the Aires no: 123 page 64 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N48º.47.003 W003º.02.821 for Google earth). Paimpol was worth the visit, the aires was secluded but right next to a busy road, so we wouldn’t be parking there for the night.
After leaving Paimpol we drove to Treguier, Aires no: 119 page 63 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N48º.47.410 W003º.13.863 for Google earth).
There was no water available at this service point, just disposal.
We parked up by the river, it was very peaceful, went for a lovely walk, plenty of Mullet fishing.
We stayed there over night & even had a firework display because of Bastille Day.
If it wasn’t for the fact that it rained late in the night & the next morning we probably would have stayed here a night or 2 more.

Day 8 – Tuesday 15-07-08
Well after a peaceful night at Treguier the morning was once again full of rain.
So after me morning cuppa, it was time to search for some sun.
We left Treguier heading for Locquirec which had parking right on the beach.
We found Locquirec, Aires no: 112 page 61 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N48º.41.189 W003º.40.579 for Google earth) the services here are free to motorhomes. That’s right FREE, to service our van dispose of & refill our water supplies it cost nought.
So what have we got here?
We are parked right on the beach, we can service our motorhome & it’s FREE.
No height barriers, no restrictions, no hassle. We are welcome to stay here for FREE.
Locquirec was a lovely place, great if you want to sit around on the beach, nice place for walking.

Well as it was still raining & quite windy we decided to move on.
So we headed for Roscoff, Aires no: 104 page 59 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N48º.43.526 W003º.58.224 for Google earth).
When we arrived the sun had popped its’ head out & the late afternoon & evening was nice.
This place was pretty busy & we managed to squeeze ourselves into the corner for the night.

Behind the aires there is a nice garden & an old Abbey on top of a hill which gives you a good viewing point to look out across the surrounding area & from here you can see the Isle of Batz.
Now if you didn’t know, Roscoff is a ferry port. You can catch the ferry to Plymouth or Cork from here. The bay is pretty rocky & the town isn’t too far to walk to.
The night air was pretty chilly, we had a good nights’ kip & it was very quiet.

Day 9 – Wednesday 16-07-08
Well after the morning had got of to another wet start we had decided to head for Camaret-Sur-Mer.
Aires no: 88 page 55 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N48º.16.442 W004º.36.525 for Google earth). Now this place has a Stone Circle by it, something that interests us both. Well we are both big fans of Avesbury & if this place is as good, wow we’ve hit the jackpot.
We drove via Sizun, Le Faou & Crozon. When we arrived at the Stone circle our 1st impression was, yes you guessed it, what a load of old crap. If that’s a Stone Circle then me Father is Donald Duck. The aires is in a campsite & it costs €4 to park there over night. Well we found somewhere to park outside the aires for nought, put polly on & after having a cuppa we thought we’d better have a look around. Well the stones were just an alignment, no circle & dead energy. So we walked around saw a coastguard station on top of the hill & decided to head for there.
The coastguard station is closed to the public but the views & walks from on top of the hill are great. If you love sandy beaches, surfing, fishing & dead stones then this is the place to head for.

Well as the sun had been shining for the past few hours & the day was turning out to be a warm one. After another cuppa we decided it wasn’t worth parking up here for the night so we headed for a place called Guidel Plages, Aires no: 56 page 47 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N47º.45.963 W003º.31.512 for Google earth). We went via St-Nic, Ploeven and Quimper. Well this place is right behind some shops & next to a skateboard park.
It’s dirty & very noisy, not the place for us to park for the night.
Now I had noticed there was another aires not too far from here, so we headed for that one.
Kergahar, Aires no: 54 page 47 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N47º.45.021 W003º.30.334 for Google earth). Bingo, okay it’s on a bit of a slope & it’s sandy.
But it was secluded & about a 5 minute walk to the beach. So we decided this was the place to put polly on, have some dinner & park up for the night.
The evening was warm & bright, so after dinner we went for a walk to have a look around.
Well there was a lot here to see & tomorrow morning would be the time to have a look around.
Well after our final polly for the night we had both decided that tomorrow was a day of rest.

We had been in France for 9 days now & we had covered 781 miles looking for whatever we were trying to find & to get away from the rain. So a rest was just what was on the menu.

Day 10 – Thursday 17-07-08
Well after a peaceful nights’ kip & the morning cuppa it was time to take a look around.
The path leading to our left took us to Fort Bloque which was open to the public free of charge.
There’s that FREE of charge bit again. Free overnight parking near the beach & to look around a piece of history it’s still FREE. Must be why they have so many people visiting places instead of being stuck indoors watching the box.
Anyway after a good look around Fort Bloque it was across the road to the beach. Now this beach was part rocky, part sandy. The rocky part had loads of people with buckets & nets crawling over the rocks. Now we had noticed that there were mussels & possibly whelks or cockles all over the place. So using their initiative they were collecting their dinner for free. We did manage to speak to someone who told us that they were collecting mussels & there were thousands of them.
Walking along the beach we also noticed how clean & litter free they were as everyone seemed to use the large amounts of bins that are available. We walked for a few miles when we came upon another fort, however this one was private & closed to the public whilst we were there.

After returning to our motorhome late in the afternoon as polly was now calling. We had dinner & then we went out for another walk. The area was lovely as we walked down the lanes. We stopped & admired one of the local properties which had a large fishing lake & we watched the Carp jumping. After that we went for a walk around the local nature reserve which was very nice. We then headed back towards the beach, past Fort Bloque & then back to our motorhome.

Kergahar was a lovely place to stay & chill out. It had a lovely beach, history, nature reserve & was clean & peaceful.
If it wasn’t for the fact that by the next morning the damn rain had returned we would have stayed there for possibly a few more days.

Day 11 – Friday 18-07-08
Well after another wet start to the day & a sky full of clouds we decided to move on.
We left Kergahar & went to Ploemeur, Aires no: 31 page 41 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N47º.44.280 W003º.25.875 for Google earth).
This was another FREE aires & after replenishing our motorhome we had a look around.
We then decided to go to Lorient, onto Port Louis & then Plouhinec. Well we found all these places not to our liking & rather uninteresting so we drove to Etel Port, Aires no: 27 page 40 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N47º.39.316 W003º.12.383 for Google earth).
Bingo, with parking right on the front of the marina I think we have found heaven.
Etel Port looked great & it felt great. Well we followed the directions in the All the Aires book France & couldn’t believe it when we found the parking spaces were nearly all empty. So now we were parked up in the corner spot looking out to sea & we were feeling more than happy.
A couple of French people were trying to tell us we couldn’t park there so after a quick chat with the local Gendarmerie they informed us we were in the right place for Camping – Cars to park.

So now with a score of one nil to England did the French have something up their sleeve?
Well after we had made good use of polly once again, it was time to walk around this port.
We were both impressed with this place, nice marina, loads of fishing & the place had a nice buzz to it. Even the weather had brightened up & the sun was shining bright but there was a bit of a wind.

French fishing, now what’s all this about?
Swimming around were large shoals of Mullet & some of them were a pretty good size.
So what were the French fishing for? Little silver fish about an 1” long.
Did this make sense, not to me it didn’t. Decent Mullet & all they wanted were little sprats.
Well they had nets, some big, some small. In these nets they put smashed shell fish, crabs & anything else that looked disgusting. They then drop the net into the water, wait for a shoal of tiddlers to come along & then they net them. They then haul in the net, put the fish in the bucket, take them home & somehow cook & eat them.
But what about the Mullet? Surely a bigger meal, but much harder to catch.

Anyway after watching & trying to converse with them we walked back to our motorhome as it was polly time. So after dinner we decided to go for another walk as we had noticed a lot of people had come to the Port, was there something going on?
As we walked around there was an evening market, musicians & a sit down meal at the local RNLI centre. We had a good look around & were greeted by one of the guys we had watched fishing that afternoon. He enquired if we were planning on sleeping here for the night. Yes we replied (remember the bit about something up their sleeve) not possible he said. Ba Boom, Ba Boom, big circus on its way here. All this area is being shut off tonight as they will arrive by 5 – 6am to set their circus up. If you stay here & sleep they will wake you up & turf you out.
He also told us that he had caught 200 of these little fish today & they were lovely to eat.

So now going back a step, of course we could park there; they just forgot to tell us we couldn’t sleep there as the circus was coming to town. How clever the French are, 1-1.

As it was now getting on for 10pm we decided we had better move on rather quickly.
So without an escape plan, we decided to go to the local camp site, but at €9 just to park on some grass we passed on that one. We then headed for the aires at Erdeven which was full. So we found a nice quiet spot behind a lorry in a quiet side road & parked there for the night.
After our 1st night of Wild Camping in France we had a quiet & very peaceful night’s kip.

Even though we had to move late in the night we both thought that Etel Port should be on anyone’s list as a place to visit. Just like Plouha if parking hadn’t been banned in Etel Port we would have probably stayed there for a few days. Oh well its all part of the fun.

Day 12 – Saturday 19-0708
Well after the events of yesterday & our 1st night of wild camping the damn rain had come back.
So after our morning cuppa we decided to head for Carnac where there was a large alignment of stones. We went via St Pierre Quiberon & Beg Er Lan which had a great rocky coast line.
Well by the afternoon we had arrived in Carnac & by now the sun was shining bright.
Carnac was a bustling place & parking was a little difficult. However we conquered that one & finally headed for the famous stones. Well just like the others we had previously visited these were just as disappointing. You couldn’t get near them & the energy was dead.
So we found a nice quiet place to park up, put polly on & had a rest.

We then drove to a France passion site called Thiex, 56450 p287 which was a cider farm.
The parking wasn’t great here but this was a lovely place to stop overnight.
Our hosts were very nice & they showed us their farm & their shop which had some very nice awards & trophies hanging up around the walls. Some of the bottles of cider were priced from €25 - €60 a bottle. They obviously produced a high quality brand of cider & were proud of their farm.
They gave us a map & told us there were some nice walks & 2 lakes which we could fish.
So after dinner we went for a lovely long walk around their land, we spent some time at the lakes watching the fish rise before heading back to our motorhome.
It was a very pleasant place to spend the night & it was very peaceful, we were the only ones parked there for the night. We highly recommended this site to stay at.

Day 13 – Sunday 20-07-08
After a cloudy start to the morning we left Thiex & headed for La Roche Bernard.
Aires no: 14 page 37 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N47º.31.274 W002º.18.312 for Google earth). After servicing our motorhome at the cost of €2 we looked around for somewhere to park. La Roche Bernard is a small port, parking was difficult but we managed.
We had a good look around before we both decided this wasn’t for us. It had nothing that Etel Port had to offer so we decided to move on. Driving back over the bridge that leads to La Roche Bernard we found a picnic site on the right hand side that did give us some good views looking back down onto the port. So after a little stop there, polly providing another well earnt cuppa we moved on.
We both decided that St. Joachim would be our French passion stop for the night so that’s where we headed for via Herbignac & la Chapelle des Marais. The scenery was nice & wait awaited us was fantastic. Now one thing France does have is a lot of birds of prey. Over the past days whilst driving through France we have seen a large Eagle sat on the edge of the road, plenty of Hawks & even a Hawk Owl. So after driving through la Chapelle des Marais we found a lovely place to stop.
We stopped on the edge of a marsh land & could see Sacred Ibis’s, Egrets, Marsh Harrier & even a Beaver swimming across the marsh. The afternoon had become very hot & sunny & we were looking forward to finding our stop over site. So after taking in some nice scenery & putting polly through her paces we headed for our final destination of the day.
On approaching St.Joachim what we didn’t know was this place was a village built on marsh land.
This area we had arrived in was called Parc Naturel Regional De Briere. It’s the second largest marsh land in France & it’s beautiful.
Well after scratching the old grey matter & trying to work out where we were heading for. With a little help from some local people we found our site at Saint Joachim 44720 page 234.
Looking from outside our 1st thoughts were mm, not sure about this one. We turned into the driveway drove around the back & were amazed, looks are sometimes very deceiving.

We parked up on the grass & there was one other motorhome already parked there.
Surrounding us was a very delightful property along with Turkeys, Chickens, Geese, Apple & Pear trees, nice picnic area & this person had Punts as I call them, that’s a boat designed for shallow water. Our host didn’t talk any English but made us very welcome. We could see he was busy taking people out on the marshes & he gave us some guides to the area which were in English.
After dinner we went out for a lovely walk walking around the village & it was great. We saw plenty of properties with character & we came across a very nice picnic area which had Goats, Sheep, Geese & fish in the lake, we even videoed a Beaver swimming across the river.
Arriving back at our motorhome we put polly on then sat down to recap on our days events.
St. Joachim was great, it was a lovely place & there were only 2 of us parked there over night.

Now the only sad part about France Passion was that we were invited as guests to stay on the owner’s property for a period of 24 hrs. If we could have stayed longer at St. Joachim we would have as it was a great place, plenty of nature, good for walking & good for bike riding.

Day 14 – Monday 21-07-08
After a great night’s kip & polly providing the morning brew once again it was already becoming warm & the sun was bright. We were greeted by our host & we enquired about a trip out onto the marsh. He sort of understood us & we sort of understood him & along with 2 French people we were shortly heading out across the marsh land that surrounded us. Before we left he gave a talk about the history of Briere & what the marsh had to offer. We did look at a guide written in English but didn’t understand a word from his talk. Lucky for us a French lady spoke a little English & we enjoyed what our host was showing us. The trip was great & we both enjoyed it & at a cost of €14 for the 2 of us for an hour and a half it was great value.
When we arrived back to the site we thanked our host for such a wonderful night’s stay & for taking us out on the marsh. By now there was already 3 motorhomes that had arrived so the chances of us staying here another night were slim. So we bid our host a hearty au revoir & headed of to our next stop.
  • slickmouse
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