France Aug-Sep 2015 - some more aire info and stuff

Discussion in 'France' started by magicsurfbus, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

    Oct 11, 2010
    NW England
    This year's Tour de France took in the following places. I won't dwell on places I've mentioned before unless there's new info:

    Day 1: Canterbury P&R, fee is now £3.00 per night

    Day 2: Parc Futuroscope aire (an old favourite) north of Poitiers - absolutely heaving due to French Bank Holiday but still loads of spaces available. We ate out at the Asian buffet on the roundabout where you get down to Auchan from the main road. A new cycle track now runs through the parking area down to the Auchan roundabout if you need a few bits and bobs of shopping without taking the MH. Auchan's petrol station has 24/7 service with card and is MH friendly.

    Day 3: Cabrerets, small village in the Lot gorge close to the Pech Merle painted caves. Overnight MH parking tolerated in the parking next to the picnic area, but you can also follow the dirt track down to the river side where the canoe hire people pick up and park among the trees there, which feels more 'wild'. Having tried both we preferred the relative security of the parking spot. It wasn't too noisy.

    Day 4: Visited Pech Merle caves (pre-booking necessary) then drove to Rocamadour where MH parking is apparently tolerated in the coach parking spot directly behind the chateau. Basically drive as far as you can along that back road above the town, past the inclined railway station until you think there's no more parking spaces and you'll see the entrance.

    Day 5: Drove to Le Bugue which has a grassy aire at one end of a public park among trees - a bit like overnighting in your local park. Nice spot, pitches aren't marked so plenty of space and shade. Near town centre, with supermarket and petrol station very close by. We visited the rural life museum while we there - quite interesting in a Weald and Downland sort of way.

    Days 6 - 7: Two nights at the Les Eyzies de Tayac Sirieul aire, another personal favourite. They appear to have lifted the 48 hour restriction as I couldn't see any signs about it. Ticketing a bit haphazard - relies on an attendant coming by in the evening, or paying at the mairie or at the tourist office depending on which day it is. They need a machine. Lovely meal at the Coup de Silex restaurant opposite the National Prehistory Museum. We also like eating at the Mentalo restaurant near the roundabout on the way to PIP. Spare a moment to go and watch Bernard the flint knapper doing his stuff in his Palaois workshop opposite the Abri Pataud - talk about traditional crafts. We love that place.

    Days 8-10: Three nights on the Moulin des Sables aire just outside Chateau d'Oleron. It's an ex municipal campsite so you get large grassy pitches, EHU and a basic shower block thrown in. There's a free bus service around the island but they're not very frequent. Better to cycle if you can.

    Day 11: a quick visit to Rochefort then on to the La Rochelle P&R aire - same as always. Had a look at the old U-Boat Command Bunker which I'd somehow missed on previous visits. Very Interestink. I also love the graffiti/street art in the parking area near the little lighthouse. High quality stuff.

    Days 12-14: MH compound next to Camping Amis de Plage at Bois Plage en Re - yet another favourite. The free aire opposite was shut. Foreign cards now work in their payment on exit machine and it's open year round. Great for beach access but loads of shredded seaweed in the sea that got into every nook and cranny when I took a dip.

    Day 15: Municipal campsite at Saint Martin de Re - cheap and cheerful, handy for the town. Campsite fencing courtesy of the Marquis de Vauban.

    Day 16: Back to Futuroscope because rain was predicted and most of their attractions are indoors so we thought we'd fill the day there. As it happened it was sunny and the park was virtually empty so we got to see everything in a very relaxed fashion. The evening show is a bit soppy but there's enough to keep one's interest elsewhere. I particularly liked their latest attraction The Mystery of the Cube.

    Day 17: Planned to visit a couple of nearby historic sites but one was shut and we got through the other in good time, so we consulted the SatNav and headed up to Melun (SE of Paris) so we could visit Fontainebleau next day. Stopped on a straightforward 3 star campsite near the Seine but also near the railway, the road, and a number of factories. Glad it was only one night.

    Day 18-19: Visited Fontainebleau Chateau (what an overblown gilded tart's parlour, no wonder they had a revolution - like it was designed by Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen on Acid) then drove to meet our youngest and her boyfriend for a couple of days at Disneyland Paris. Stopped overnight in the DisneyCorp parking area for a mere 30 Euros per day.

    Day 20-21: MH aire at Camping Grand Sart in Peronne en Melentois near Lille. We wanted to visit the Braderie de Lille (weekend mega flea market), so needed to be within easy striking distance of a Metro station with MH friendly parking. The Braderie is most definitely not MH friendly but with careful planning we found a way. I won't bore you with the details, but anyone wanting to go to the event in future is welcome to PM me for tips.

    Day 22: Finished at the Braderie, piled all the booty on the back bunk and drove to Gravelines Rue du Port aire. Took a look at the one nearer the seafront but it was too car parky. Had a good meal at Le Palm Beach after a walk along the canal side up to the seafront bit.

    Day 23: Calais ferry and home.

    Cheapest diesel we saw was 99 cents a litre in Charente-Maritime.

    A great trip that all went to plan and was most relaxing - some new places combined with a number of old favourites. Now back to the reality of sorting out new phone contracts, renewing car insurance, mowing the lawn etc. Ho hum. Here's to the Spring.
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