Saturday, 23 June 2007

France 2007 Janes Blog

Janes |Blog

Day 1...
Saturday 23rd June, Our first wedding anniversary 23RD JUNE ROB......NOT 24th or 25th

As i said day 1, We left home at about 8am to take the van to Spinney because the speedo is not working again but no luck they could not fix it today so have to take it back on our return, left at 10.30am straight onto M6 at Holmes Chapel we hit road works at J8 which were pretty bad for a while 40mph speed limit. By 12.30 we were as far as Coventry so stopped at Tesco's for some lunch the sun is shining and we are doing okay so we set of again back on the road M6, M1, M25, M20, M2, And A2 into Canterbury onto the park and ride at Dover New Road by 5pm. It only cost £2 for 24 hours they had water and disposal facilities for grey waste and boggins which is our word for toilet disposal, it has barriers to get in and out so you felt safe knowing no-body was just going to come in and park up, and they had a free bus to take you into Canterbury centre and really easy to manage without getting on the wrong bus and getting lost but that’s another story. I have to say for anyone who has not been to Canterbury it is definitely a must its really pretty and there's loads to see (Shoe shops everywhere, No only joking its a great place the last bus back to the park and ride was at 7.30 but if you missed this i shouldn’t think a taxi would be that expensive as it was only about 1 mile maybe a little more. We were back on the last bus with a late tea and an early night. Ready for the trip tomorrow to France..

Sunday 24th June
Overnight in Canterbury went well no problems and peaceful apart from the rain there were another 4 vans on with us French and Dutch Only 1 brit, i always feel at ease if there are other vans there for the night. Up at 7.45 for breakfast and on the road for 10am to go to see Dover castle and the white cliffs before going for the ferry with one stop at netto to buy a fly screen for the door, Dover castle was nice and is part of the English heritage to which we are members so it was free admission anything that is free is always better to look at i think (El Scrooge). We were only there half hour very quick visit as we got to leave, plus its been raining all morning so i couldn’t wait to get on the ferry for sunny France.

Leaving Dover

Boarded ferry on time no delays left just after 1.45pm first time on a ferry feeling really excited, we decided to go on deck and watch the ferry move away from port and to take some pics of the cliffs, stood at the barrier to have pics took and started to feel a bit weird the boats going up and down so we go inside to get a drink and find somewhere to sit went in the cafe bar on top front and there we stayed till Calais i really was feeling a bit green. Great start. Arrived in Calais at 3.15 and its still raining, drove from Calais on A19 & A28 into Rouen found a nice place to park by the side on the river seine completely free and with great views, No signs to say you could stop or not but there are quite a few vans so i assume it is ok on the Quai Jean de Moulin off the D840 & N15 on the river Seine. So here we are and here we are staying, Very happy

on the Seine at Rouen

I have told rob any mistakes he makes this week are going on here so here are the first of the week
Things Not To Do In France Or Anywhere!
1.  Going to a French self service petrol station to get fuel and paying by card No instructions only in French and not knowing your pin number then ending up running around like an idiot trying to find the number while rob stands pressing every button on the machine trying to retrieve his card.

2. Panicking at a toll road because he had no change to put into the machine while i calmly tried to tell him the machine only wants to give you a ticket as you pay on exit.
Monday 25th June....
O.K night but cars and lorry's running up and down road did not give us a good nights sleep .The weather is bad been raining all night and no sign of it clearing. Had the generator out for hair straighteners as they won’t work on inverters. Went for a look round Rouen's cathedral, very nice place so much to see, Joan of Arcs burial place but its raining again so only stayed a few hours and we are on the road again by 2pm via the A13 to Caen ,hit 2 tolls one at 7.20 euro and one at 2.60 euro, came off the A13 before Caen onto the D675 for Pegasus Bridge ,did a bit of shopping at Ouistreham and head for Riva Bella which is the start of the Normandy landing beaches weather is still bad as we stop for tea at Sword beach and watch some windsurfers(sooner them than us) ,carried on down the coast rd and eventually found an aire at Arromanches( with the statues of Jesus and Mary overlooking Gold Beach).Its 10pm
and we have been travelling most of the day and have seen all the D Day
beaches in about an hour as its not stopped raining and we haven’t got out of the van since tea.
We are still not asleep and it is 2pm the wind is howling its bouncing down and the van is rocking. Three Italian vans at the side of us move to the other end of the aire leaving us and a UK panel
van exposed to the wind ,we feel as if the van is going to blow over so we
decide to move inland and find somewhere out of the wind. Luckily enough we find an aire just down the hill in Arromanches village , so it was a case of park up and go to bed.

on the top at Arromanches

Village Aire

Tues 26th June:-Got up at 10am and the rain has stopped at last but its still a bit windy ,had a look round the village for a couple of hours
all about the war which was quite interesting, the place itself was really nice and Rob bought me a 3 in waterproof jacket which was miles cheaper than at home.
Next we went to Bayeux to see the tapestry (wasn’t too keen at first but turned out worthwhile).7.50 euro to get in and was very good. Shops etc were good also had lunch in one of the pavement cafĂ©’s, hairdressers are really cheap here as well.

Tapestry entrance

Left at about 5pm to go to the Mont St Michel on the D572/D972 past St Lo and onto the Mont. First impressions are looks very good , here for 6.30 still a bit windy and cloudy but I have bought steak and as we have been living on salad, French sticks .and soup for last couple of days out comes the BBQ and we will have steak no matter what ,food is so expensive paid 2.75 for a lettuce. Rob cooked the steak while i got the salad ready but he overcooked it and its horrible so now its a shower and off to bed and hope the wind keeps off and the sun comes out tomorrow. Waited until it went dark for lights to come on Mont , looked gorgeous but not real.(Rob's goofs today:= went in 3 places today and instead of saying merci he kept saying gracias its so funny ,only one of him ,priceless.)

Mont St Michel

Mont St Michel
in the Mont

Wed 27th June:- Another night of bad rain but we're up at 8.30 and decide to stay here for a couple of days as it looks really nice and its not raining. Went up to the Mont and in a couple of hours we had been there seen it and got the t shirt ,Its a gorgeous place but so busy and so many steps and again very expensive but well worth the visit, so by 12 o'clock we decided we would not stop but call on homeward route so we set off for St Malo. 

Bay near St Malo

Went via the coast rd lovely scenery and one spot like St Annes with wind sail racing ,when we did get to St Malo we wish we hadn’t bothered couldn’t find a parking spot barriers everywhere so we carry on to Remmes and had the same problem loads to see but nowhere to park and there’s traffic jams everywhere we go, we fill up with diesel here and that was a nightmare as there were 8 pumps converging onto one drive through pay point and everyone was bumper to bumper and we had to force our way out as no-one would give way, We decide to look for a local aire which the sat nav found just outside the town centre, when we got there it was a car park in front of a load of tower blocks(no way are we stopping here).We drive a little further and find a parking spot next to a local park and have tea here. After tea we get the Aires book out to find somewhere to stay, we eventually (after another false entry in the book ) find a municipal site in St Just heading for St Nazire so we go for this one. There’s nobody about but a note says find your spot and i will be round tomorrow and as its now about 10 o’clock we are staying and we are both shattered but we will let this be a lesson to both to make sure we plan at least a little ahead as driving with no destination is fraying tempers..
St Just
Thur 28th June:- Woke up at 9.15 great nights sleep only one other van on site and a couple of caravans, man came round for money 7 euros dead cheap and all the services with showers etc. filled water emptied loos and grey water then had a walk down to village to sample the local bread and cakes.
Spent an hour or so in St Just then decided to go to Vannes via Redon as that would take us south and maybe a bit of sun, however never did as we went to La Baule via Redon and St Nazaire but believe it or not when we arrived the sun came out and it is really warm so were taking no chances and staying.
We go to the tourist office in Pornichet who tell us it is ok to park near enough anywhere except on the front in La Baule they give us a few maps of area and a list of campsites. We decide to book a site for a day or so and booked into Les Loriettes in Pornichet at 16 euro a night including electric.We had a bbq tea and then went to find the beach from the site, took the satnav but still had problems finding it (30min walk from site )had a stroll on beach then back to site ,no rain today hopefully it will be ok tomorrow as well.
on site at Pornichet

Friday 29th June :-Oh well no change in weather its still crap, good nights sleep up late at 10.30 ,had a walk in to Pornichet which took 30 minutes and then had a walk down the front and round the harbour, its not cold but windy and cloudy with sprays of rain ,spent an hour or so and then back to site for dinner. Decided we would stay another night on the site as they have a market in the square on a Saturday morning and we don’t want to miss that, had a walk after tea to find a Champion super MarchĂ© we had seen (took us an hour to find it) but it was good to get out of van as i had been drying clothes in the bathroom with the heater full on (it was like a sauna).Watched a video and then to bed to be up early for market, lets hope the weathers better tomorrow.---4 euros for washer on site and it wrecked my black top --wont be using that again.
Sat 30th June:-- Up at 9am overslept packed up van and off to market, it rained again last night so a cloudy start . No bargains on market but did buy some bread and local salad and veg which was cheaper than the shops, also tried to buy 2 ham salad sandwiches but ended up with just salad--so much for Rob's fluent French.
on the beach at Pornichet
 Pornichet Sea front

Sunday 1stJuly:-
Up at about 8.45 both shattered. Leave about 10.30 to go to Croisic Oceanarium calling at Le Pouligeun as they had a Sunday market on. Left at lunch to go to oceanarium 11 euros each but could have been even cheaper if we had bought from tourist office or bar near entrance. Spent a couple of hours here including a wander round the harbour watching the locals fish for sardines, good parking for motorhomes about 15 spaces but it does get busy. Weather is cloudy with outbursts of rain but when the sun does come out its very warm. We decide to try the sites in the ACSI camping card book listed at 10,12,14 euros so we set off for Guerande and a site called Domainede Leveno at 14 euro. We looked round the site but it was mainly a static site and the pitches that we could find were crap ,so we drove out of that one and went on to camping Tremmondec again 14 euro but a far better site but pitch we had was a bit slanted even though we used blocks and we had to cut a few branches off bush that would have been scraping the top of van. Going to move up country tomorrow so maybe early start.

 Monday 2nd July:-
Up at 9.15 great nights sleep, well I did, van was on slant so made rob go near window. Travelled up to Port du Crovesty in Port Navalo, fairly quiet sleepy village found a nice beach pity the weather has not improved .From here we went to Carnac ,the weather has got a little better than this morning, very nice village not seen beach yet ,will go tomorrow, stopped on aire just on edge of town room for about 30 vans and its full by teatime. Was going to have a BBQ as everyone seems to be wine tasting in their vans but opt for a meal in the local restaurant and end night watching a movie. Wont hold my breath for sun tomorrow that’s for sure. Give up now going to get a spray tan on way home as that’s about the only tan I'll get
Carnac Aire
Carnac Megalithics
Le Croisic aire

Le Croisic harbour

Tuesday 3rd July:--  Slept ok last night even though we had believe it or not more rain, was going to go to beach but with weather being like it is we decide to move on. Go up to Port Louis on the L'orient where we had lunch, not very impressed so again we move on. 
Port Louis
We now head back to Normandy via Vannes to Fougeres. Arrived about 4.30 and found car park overlooking castle .Got talking to Italian couple who borrowed hose to fill water as theirs wasn’t long enough. One of best places we've been spent a couple of hours strolling round but unfortunately passed a row of flats close to the castle where the inhabitants put us off staying the night.  



We set off again for Mont St Michael and to a site overlooking the Mont. Its still raining in patches but we manage a BBQ and the site has brilliant pitches
Camping-Caravanning du Mont St Michel , 14.50 euros inc showers. There is a motor home site opposite for 8euros and the pitches were good there as well but we opt for the showers and hopefully it will be sunny tomorrow.
on site at the mont
The Mont Aire

Wed 4th July:--Up at 10.00am,no rain this morning, had breakfast and sun came out ,brilliant day really warm, have to be off site for 2 pm if we are not stopping. We got loungers out to do a spot of sunbathing until 2.30 then set off for St Lo.

St Lo

St Lo
 Spent a couple of hours sightseeing ,very nice place ,found an old bric a brac warehouse where the sold near enough everything you could imagine and lots of war memorials they were selling bikes for 5 euros that should have been in a museum or on a skip. Went back to van for tea and realised the aire was next to railway line and as there was only us and a van of new age travellers who looked like squatters parked we set off for Utah Beach. Parked on car park facing the museum at Saint-Marie-du-Mont, its a bit windy and raining a little but its well sheltered. We had a walk on the beach and a look around the tanks and guns, picked a few shells and watched the cockle pickers. Sea air and wind knock us out so its an early nights sleep tonight.
Aire at Utah Beach

Thurs 5th July,  Up at 10 again late breakfast went to Grand Camp Maisy and had breakfast on the front of the harbour we only stayed about 30 mins the place smelled and the beaches were green we set of after that for the war memorials the Canadian Beny-Sur-Mer as Rob has a relative in there it was very impressive nothing like you get here these are very much respected and cared for.
We then went back to Arromanches where we went in the museum 6 euro and very interesting. had a meal out tonight food was very nice and a desert a scoop of ice cream Rob had a banana split that was huge and it looked really good especially against my bowl of vanilla ice cream and would he share (No) i told him i hope you choke.

with one of the floating harbours
Later we went for a walk on beach up to the bunkers that were part of the WW2 harbour, then back to the van for the night we have to be up early tomorrow to get to Calais its only 388K so should only take forever

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