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
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
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
Day 4 – Friday 11-07-08
We left Sees mid morning & decided to head towards Le Mont St. Michel. We went to
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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. On leaving St. Joachim we stopped of at the spot we had previously stopped at the day before to admire the marsh land & the wild life for one last time. From there we headed for a France Passion site called Campbon 44750 page 229. Well we pulled up outside of this place looked at the parking area which was next to a bit of a smelly shed & we both decided this wasn’t the place for us, our 1st refusal of parking on a French Passion site. We then drove to Saint Mars De Coutais 44680 page 234. The host was very nice, the parking was fine, no nice long walks but it was a quiet & pleasant place to stay for the night & there was only 2 of us parked there over night.
Day 15 – Tuesday 22-07-08
The day started hot & sunny & after a brew it was time to move on. Well we had been in
Day 16 – Wednesday 23-07-08
After waking up to another sunny start to the day, polly was on & another scenic route had been picked for the days drive. We left La Chapelle Achard & headed for Jard-S-Mer, Auiguillon, Triaize & Marans. The drive wasn’t that scenic even though we enjoyed Pointe de l’Aiguillon & Marans so we headed for what we thought would be our French Passion stop for the night. Vix 85770 page 373 was literally a Melon seller on the main D938; it was noisy so we left there. Charron 17230 page 92 was a wine merchant on the main D9; it was noisy so we left there. Now arriving & leaving 2 France Passion sites was so far alien to us, so where do we head now? Well we left the 2 France Passion sites behind us & headed for Aytre Aires no: 57 page 350 (if you have the all the aires
Day 17 – Thursday 24-07-08
Well because we found Aytre such a nice place we decided to have a day of rest here & spend it relaxing & just chilling out. Now the weather had been hot & sunny but by mid afternoon we had a little thunderstorm along with a drop of the wet stuff. But he evening was dry & sunny. We had another peaceful night & we were both thinking that we may be staying here for another day or 2.
Day 18 – Friday 25-07-8
Well the clouds & the rain had returned so after the morning brew we decided to move on. We drove to Rochefort stopped at Netto’s done the shopping & then a slight problem arose. We had locked our motorhome up & when we came out of Netto’s we couldn’t open the habitation door. So after a little investigation I think I had found the problem. It looked like to me that a spring had broken so the door lock wouldn’t move. I found a way to open & shut the door but it needed seeing to. So I phoned our European warranty company & they politely told us it was our problem & they weren’t interested. So I then phoned the people we purchased the motorhome from & were asked to give them a couple of hours to locate someone who could fix our door. Well I’ll give them their due, 2 hours later we were on our way to a motorhome dealer north of Rochefort. On arriving there we were told that they hadn’t been a Knaus dealer for the past 2 years. So we got back on the phone to Premier & after discussing our dilemma we were then told that we should look on the internet & find a Knaus dealer, after all that’s what they would do. So we have a dealer warranty, European warranty, AA European cover & now we have a problem it’s find your own dealer & sort it out yourself. Are all these warranties really worth the paper their written on or the money they charge you? So we drove to Mc Donald’s managed to down load a list of all Knaus dealers in Europe & found the dealer we required was in
Day 19 – Saturday 26-07-08
Well the rain seems to be following us. The morning started of with torrential showers & by mid morning the day had become bright & sunny. Now we came here because of the wildlife & terrific views. What we didn’t know was that Pierre D’Oleron was the 1st place we had come across that wasn’t that motorhome friendly. St.Denis was fine & we had a lovely walk around the light house, the gardens & the cliff top. However we found the rest of the area was a bit of a struggle. So as the area became less appealing to the both of us we decided to drive to France Passion site Tesson 17460 page 98 which was an independent wine grower. The site was an old Château, the parking was in a decent size field & the host was very nice. Be warned, they do have a rather large dog, could be a wolf, but it’s harmless. Even though there weren’t any nice walks we did see 2 Eagles flying near us we had a very peaceful night & we were the only ones parked there.
Day 20 – Sunday 27-07-08
The day started dry & warm & after polly had supplied the morning brew it was time to move on. So we headed for
Day 21- Monday 28-07-08
The day started dry & sunny then soon turned to torrential rain & thunderstorms. Well would this be a good day for us or would we have to travel elsewhere to find a Knaus dealer who could look at & fix the problem with our habitation door? We left Clion & travelled to our destination Aquitaine Evasion RN 10-64, Avenue Aquitaine 33560 Sainte Eulalie which is just north of
Day 22 – Tuesday 29-07-08
After a very peaceful night’s kip polly had supplied me with yet another morning brew or two to help kick start me day. We had decided to drive to Monbazillac so we bid our host au revoir & left the Château under a cloudy but dry sky, by mid morning it was hot & sunny. Monbazillac is Aires no: 4 page 4 (if you have the all the aires
Day 23 – Wednesday 30-07-08
Well after a good night’s kip & me morning brew the weather was bright but looking rather unsettled. Shortly after 8am we had another storm along with torrential rain but by 09.30 it was dry bright & sunny once again. The guy at Monbazillac gave us a guide to the
Day 24 – Thursday 31-07-08
After a peaceful night’s kip & me morning brew it was time to move on. The day started warm & the sun was shining bright. Now if you don’t ask you’ll never know & if you never know it’s probably because you never asked. So when I went over to bid our host au revoir I asked if we could come back as we were looking at some places of interest in the area. They told us we could stay as long as we like & that it would be no problem. So with that in mind we headed of for our 1st stop of the day which was at Le Buisson-De-Cadouin & we went there to see the Les Grottes De Maxange caves. We arrived around 11am & the next guided tour was at 11.30am. So we paid our €13.60 for the 2 of us & sat reading the English guide given to us. The caves were pretty interesting & we enjoyed the tour, but we wouldn’t say it was a knockout. We then headed for the Château Des Milandes which was the former home of
Day 25 – Friday 01-08-08
Overnight the rain & thunder returned which gave us a cloudy but dry start to the day. After polly had kick started the day once again we bid our hosts au revoir & headed for Beynac. Beynac classed as one of the loveliest villages in
Day 26 – Saturday 02-08-08
After a very peaceful & quiet nights kip we sat down to the morning brew. After looking at our hosts products we bid au revoir & headed for Domme which is also classed as one of the loveliest villages in
Day 27 – Sunday 03-08-08
After a very peaceful nights sleep polly was whistling away & me morning brew was on its way. The day had started cloudy & there was the threat of rain in the air. Mid morning we serviced the motorhome & made our way to Vezac where there is a splendid park with Box trees in it & a place nearby which specialise in
Day 28 – Monday 04-08-08
Well after a great night’s kip & me morning brew was out of the way, it was time for a drive to Souillac. Well I’m sure Souillac is a great place to visit, but not for us. So after a quick cuppa we moved on to Martel. The Aires no: 96 page 249 which is listed without the sat nav co-ordinates we found by following the Aires signs clearly marked from the main roundabout at Martel. This aires is free & there is no parking there, but before you arrive at the aires you will see a large park on your right hand side where you can park safely overnight which is what we did. We had a good look around Martel which is a town with 7 towers. There are some nice shops & a few restaurants & bars to wine & dine in & they have a market here on Wednesday mornings We had dinner then went out for another gander & at night the place is pretty quiet, we enjoyed visiting this interesting town. So after a nice evening stroll it was back to our motorhome a few cuppas’ then bed.
Conclusion of our 1st month here in
Just think, 28 days ago we left the
Food, well that’s an interesting one.
I suppose it all comes down to what you’re looking for & what your likes & dislikes are. As with most European countries the food seems to be more interesting than ours but they do eat some things we probably wouldn’t. Everyday items like bread, milk, potatoes & eggs could probably cost you a small fortune but at the large supermarkets prices are reasonable. We’re paying 91 cents for a loaf of bread which is around 76p a loaf. You could quite easily buy bread at anything from €1.50 up to €9 but I’ll stick to me little squares of brown bread for now. Milk is cheaper if like me you don’t mind drinking UHT milk. Prices vary from cartons starting at 60 cents up to 90 cents a litre which is between 50 – 75 pence. The bottles of UHT milk are more expensive & I have seen them up to €2.70 a litre, must be pretty good stuff for £2.24p a litre. Potatoes are expensive as a 2.5 kilo bag costs around €3 which is around £2.49p a bag. They don’t seem to have the variety or large bags of spuds which we buy or the bags of salad potatoes. There are loads of fruit & vegetables to choose from & we’ve even seen violet cauliflowers. Fish is big on the list here & there are many wide & various species to choose from. Unlike us we put back our small fish & we don’t eat fresh water fish, but here you can buy Pike & Perch to eat. On the whole for the 2 of us mainly eating salads our shopping bill is around €20 to €50 a week. I thought DVD discs would be cheap here but most places seem to charge around €55 to €68 for a pack of 10 discs. So I’m hunting for some cheaper ones as I need to back up the photos. Clothes seem expensive here but at least Tobacco & Booze is nice & cheap. So at least we can carry on being healthy by boozing & smoking without breaking the bank. We are both really enjoying ourselves here in
Day 29 – Tuesday 05-08-08
Well after a peaceful night’s kip the day has started rather hot & sunny. So polly’s on the boil & where are we heading for now? Well after me morning brew we decided to head for Gramat. We had let the hand washing slip a bit & now we needed to find another launderette & hopefully this time I won’t have to snatch me clothes back. We arrived in Gramat to find there was a fair in town & finding somewhere to park was difficult, but we managed to find a spot not too far away from the shops. So off we went hunting for the auto laverie (launderette), well we found one tucked away in rue du notre-dam & all the machines were in use. As there was a market in town we decided to have a look around before heading back to the launderette. I didn’t realise there were so many different varieties of tomatoes on sell. So we picked a few different ones for us to try with our salads. We also had a taster of some locally made fruit juice, but we found it tasted rather strange. Around dinner time we headed back to the launderette where the task of doing the washing was about to commence. You’ll be pleased to hear that we got all our washing washed & dried without a screwdriver in sight or me snatching back me clothes. After we arrived back at the motorhome & polly had been put on the temperature was already reaching 96º C & we needed to find a place to cool off. So we headed for Rocamadour & found a wonderful place to park up which is sign posted parking sanctuaries. Now to find this place if you’re coming from Gramat & you come into Rocamadour with the La Foret Des Singes (Monkey Place) on your left just pass that you’ll see the turning on the left. If you’re coming the other way into Rocamadour go past all the other car parks & on your left you turn left towards the campsite go past La Feerie & the turning will be on your right. After you have turned up this road you go up the hill & come to a crescent with lots of trees offering shade. Just find a parking spot & you’ll soon realise why we picked this place. Now this parking place is away from the hustle & bustle of the other car parks & it not only has wonderful views but it is also very peaceful & quiet to park there overnight. When you’re parked up if you look in front of you there is a stone wall with gaps in it. Walk through one of the gaps & to your right is a path, along this path you will have terrific views of Rocamadour & the valley below. Now if you keep walking along this path there is a view point on the corner, go past this, past that lovely house hogging all the corner of the land & you’ll come out where the shops, bars & restaurants are. There is another great viewing point straight ahead of you & even better ones past the tourist office. You can park for free in the Château car park but it’s nowhere as nice as the place we found to park at. First impressions of Rocamadour, unbelievably stunning. It’s a place of inspiration & pilgrimage. Now if you do park where we found & you walk into the busy bit, there’s a lovely little church which should be on your list to visit. Now if you’re brave you’ll take the walk along the top of the cliff, past the tourist office to the stunning viewing point opposite the shop on the corner. If you’re totally mad, just like us you’ll then walk all the way down to Rocamadour passing through the magnificent
Day 30 – Wednesday 06-08-08
After a great night’s kip & the morning brew was out of the way we had decided to revisit the Medieval City of Rocamadour the easy way, well that’s what we thought. So we left our parking spot & headed for the Château. We found a nice place to park there walked straight past the cliff lift & headed down the long & winding path to Rocamadour. You just have to walk down this path, it’s fantastic. There is a tomb like place under the rock face which you can see & on each turn of the path there are amazing little chapels as I call them. Eventually you’ll come to the sanctuary arch & once again we were in this stunning place. Seeing it during the day was just as amazing as seeing it at night. The sanctuary is unbelievable & there is a lot to see here. After leaving the sanctuary we once again took the steps into Rocamadour & looked at the parts we had missed from the previous evenings walk. If you turn right at the bottom of the steps & go past the sculptors’ house you may be lucky enough to see some very large birds of prey flying around. We had another good look around this amazing place before taking the cliff lift back to the top where the Château is. Well after all the previous days walking & today’s, our legs needed an easy route back to the top. Once back to the top & back in our motorhome polly was on & a well deserved cuppa was needed as the temperature was reaching 98º C. What else can we tell you about Rocamadour? The place is just absolutely amazing & should be on the top of everyone’s list as a must place to visit. Well after me cuppa it was time for us to move on & we headed for St.Cere. Well after reading up on this place we found it, we also eventually found the aires no: 122 page 251. The aires is at the stadium, not very well sign posted but the services here are free. When you come into St.Cere follow the all routes direction & you should see a supermarket on your right. At the end of this road (you’ll see the motorhome symbol, it’s the only one) turn left then right & follow the signs to the stadium. The aires is to the left in front of the Club House. Well we didn’t like the look of St.Cere, so we swiftly moved on. We decided our night’s stop was going to be the
Day 31 – Thursday 07-08-08
After a lie in which took us up to 9am it was time to get polly on the boil & get ready to go. The weather was still very cloudy but warm & dry after the earlier thunderstorm. We bid our hosts au revoir & headed in to see what Beaulieu-S-Dordogne was like. Parking here is a bit of a nightmare but if you follow the signs for the stadium you can park there without any hassle. Beaulieu was okay & after taking a look around we decided to take a scenic drive to Marcillac-La-Croisille, Aires no: 76 page 174 (if you have the all the aires
Day 32 – Friday 08-08-08
Overnight the rain had returned & it was a bit chilly here by the lake. After me morning brew we decided to make use of the rain & just go to get the food shopping, LPG & diesel. We decided to take a rather scenic drive to Tulle then to Dampiant where we done the shopping, filled up with LPG & diesel so we were all set for the weekend. We then drove to Brive La Gaillarde –Forges & Argentat before heading back to our previous night’s location parked at the lake. The rain had died away & late afternoon & evening was warm with sunny spells. We had another quiet & peaceful night & there were 9 of us parked there.
Day 33 – Saturday 09-08-08
The sun has returned again & today has started nice & bright & pretty warm. After polly was boiled & we had the morning brew it was time to head for Gimel-Les-Cascades, which has a waterfall there. After a lovely scenic drive & spotting some wild Deer on the way we arrived in Gimel-Les-Cascades. Now if you’re lucky like we were you can park in the car park on the right. If not, then you must turn left go up the steep hill & park behind the town hall. The road which leads to the waterfall is very narrow & steep so do not try to drive down there in a motorhome. This village is very picturesque & has some great walks. There are the ruins of an old Château you can walk around & there is a view point there. You can hear the waterfall all around you & as you walk down to it you can see the start of it as you pass over the narrow bridge. Entrance to the waterfall & scenic walks is €5 per adult. We had a great time here & as we walked back out of Gimel-Les-Cascades to look at the waterfall from a distance you’ll see a very nice house with a platform in front of it. The man who lives there came out & showed us some wonderful photographs which were taken in the winter showing large icicles around the waterfall. He doesn’t sell any of his photographs but he does put on display some of his paintings which we believe are for sell. Gimel-Les-Cascades should be on everyone’s list as a place to visit, but food & drink here is pricey. Back at the motorhome polly was boiling away & a well deserved cuppa was on it’s way. After me drink of tea we decided to take the scenic route to Treignac, Aires no: 34 page 164 (if you have the all the aires
Day 34 – Sunday 10-08-08
Today started bright & warm & polly was soon on ready to provide the morning cuppa. We had decided to go to the aires at Chamberet to fill up with water then on to Lac De Vassiviere which is known as
Day 35 – Monday 11-08-08
Overnight the rain had returned & the day started wet with the odd bright patch. So after me morning cuppa we both decided that we would spend the day just chilling out. Lucky for me by late morning the day was brightening up & the fishing tackle was out & raring to go. So after another swift cuppa I went exploring on one of the banks of the lake to see what fish were about. Sonia had decided to stay at home (well we do live in our motorhome) & catch up on some reading. After negotiating some woodland I found a nice spot to fish which was on the other side of the lake to where we were parked. Shortly after casting into the water more rain came down but at least it was only a very short shower. Shortly after the rain had gone I hooked my 1st fish of the day. By the time I had finished fishing for the day I had bagged another 5 Roach & polly was more than needed to supply me with a very well deserved cuppa. The afternoon & evening had been dry & quite warm but the clouds were once again beginning to arrive in the evening sky. We had another quiet & peaceful night here & I was looking forward to perhaps another day’s fishing.
Day 36 – Tuesday 12-08-08
Overnight not only did we have torrential rain but high winds had also accompanied the rain. So after a peaceful night’s kip my day of fishing was looking very bleak. After polly was on & getting ready to supply with me morning cuppa the weather was showing no signs of easing up. By 11 am we had both decided that we might as well move on as the weather was still a mixture of torrential rain & high winds. So no fishing for me to day & a drive to Felletin was on the agenda. Felletin is a nice little village & worth stopping at just to stretch the legs & of course have a cuppa. From there we headed for the World’s Tapestry Capital, Aubusson. We found the Aires no: 39 page 165 (if you have the all the aires
Day 37 – Wednesday 13-08-08
Once again high winds & rain overnight returned to plague us. After a seemingly peaceful night watching the rain falling & drinking me morning cuppa we decided it was time to move on. If the weather had been reasonable perhaps a day’s fishing was looking good but the rods had to stay packed away as more torrential rain fell from the sky. We headed for Montlucon as we needed a bit of shopping & it was on the way to our day’s destination of Neris Les Bains. On the outskirts of Montlucon we found a nice lake to stop at & have a cuppa before heading into town. Once the cuppa was out the way we stopped at McDonalds to use their Wi-Fi to update the blog & catch up on some other bits & pieces. While parked there we saw 3 birds of prey circling & we managed to get a few photos of them, but they were not that clear. Montlucon is quite an interesting town but we soon moved on & headed for the thermal spa town of Neris Les Bains, Aires no: 93 page 178 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N46º.17.201 E002º.39.144 for Google earth). The aires is well sign posted & all you do is follow the signs Camping du Lac & the aires is situated in front of the camp site. The parking here is very spacious & each parking area is separated by a nice hedge. There is a small toilet block with shower, sink & mirror & its’ nice & clean. To park outside on the aires is €3 per night up to a maximum of 3 nights & to park inside the camp site its’ about €12 - €15 per night. Just outside the camp site there is a new hotel being built which has a fascinating design on its’ roof. Once settled in our parking spot for the night & a quick cuppa it was time to take a look around this thermal spa town. Our 1st stop was the local tourism office that was very helpful but only had one piece of info written in English. After there we walked through the lovely gardens to the theatre & casino before heading in to see what the thermal centre had to offer. Well what can I say? After looking at their treatment list & noticing the prices the 1st thing that came to mind was its’ expensive for what it is. We all look at things in a different way & I think I’ll stick to me healthy diet of fags & booze. We then headed for the town centre, mmm. Its’ a square on the hill & there’s a magnificent church to look at & the remains of some Roman tombs. But that’s it, that’s the town centre just a few shops, plenty of hotels, a few bars & restaurants. The main part of this lovely place is the thermal health centre. Now if you’re into walking there are plenty of lovely walks here & there is a lake you can fish for the cost of €10 per day & after looking at the lake I didn’t think it was worth it. We had a good walk around the lake & could see the old viaduct & water mill. However the lake is only really fishable from one side & that’s on the side where the public foot path is. So that’s why I didn’t think it was worth buying a day ticket to fish there. There are tennis courts & a nice size swimming pool in the parks & the theatre puts on some great shows as well as opera. We thought Neris Les Bains was a lovely little place & the church is a must to see. As for the rest of the place, unless your looking to off load a good wedge of that hard earned dosh on some healthy feel good treatments then apart from the theatre that’s it. We enjoyed our stay here & we are glad to have seen the town especially as it had such a lovely church to look at. One last thing in the old town square you’ll see the market service point with its electrical points & fresh running water & it all is still in working order.
Day 38 – Thursday 14-08-08
After a peaceful night’s kip polly was whistling away & it was time for me morning cuppa. The day started dry but cloudy & by 9am we left Neris Les Bains heading for St.Eloy Les Mines. We stopped of at Montaigut for a quick cuppa, well I had been driving for about half an hour, so I think I had earned me cuppa. After polly was packed away we proceeded to St.Eloy. Approaching St.Eloy we noticed one of those places where you do you washing. So we pulled over & once again after being a bit slack on the hand washing we thought we had better get the washing done as we were shortly to meet our friends at their home in Pionsat. After a trouble free time at the laverie we headed for Pionsat. When we arrived in Pionsat shortly after mid-day our friend Rod was there to meet us & guide us back to his house which is just outside Pionsat in a lovely little hamlet. After arriving at his house Caroline made us a lovely lunch & as the two boys were busy playing, it was time for a catch up on what we had all been doing. It was great to sit down & have a natter with friends & we could all speak & understand each other. Rod & Caroline’s home in
Day 39 to 40 Friday 15 -08-08 to Saturday 16-08-08
After a very peaceful night’s kip & me morning brew it was time for a quick trip to the supermarket with Rod, as today was Assumption day which is a Bank Holiday in France. The afternoon was spent chilling out & helping out with a little painting on the barn before Caroline had prepared for us all a wonderful evening meal. We had another great evening & we all enjoyed the warm evening sitting outside eating, drinking & talking. Saturday was a cloudy but dry day & it was the day we discovered we had a gas problem on the motorhome. On checking the motorhome over in preparation of us getting back on the road we discovered that the gas on the hob was burning a very low flame & if you put 2 rings on it would go out. After investigating the gas locker, cylinders etc we decided we need to head for Aubiere which is south of Cleremont Ferrand as there is a Knaus dealer there. Saturday evening was our last night staying at our friend’s house in
Day 41 – Sunday 17-08-08
Today started cloudy with sunny spells & by mid morning it was time to leave our friend’s & get back on the road as we wanted to be in Aubiere 1st thing Monday morning to get our gas problem looked at. After leaving Pionsat we headed for St.Remy De Blot Aires no: 29 page 178 (if you have the all the aires
Day 42 – Monday 18-08-08
The day started bright & sunny & after me morning brew it was time to head for Aubiere to hopefully get our gas problem fixed. Well we arrived in Aubiere shortly after 9am, found the street where the dealer was located & what do we do now? The dealer was no longer in business & we still needed our problem fixed. After making a few enquires I decided to give Richard a call at Gaslow. As usual he was more than helpful & diagnosed our problem as a failing regulator. All I had to do was find a regulator, fix it myself, check for any leaks & that should be that. After driving around Aubiere & a few other places we tried to get a replacement & we were even refused the sale of a regulator as the guy tried to explain that it was not possible to fix. Well by mid afternoon we were both getting frustrated & needed a solution. So we sat down, had a brew & then went to the local E.Leclerc supermarket where we bought more spare cylinders for the portable gas stove, a large camping gaz cylinder, plenty of food & most important alcohol & chocolate. By late afternoon we left Clermont Ferrand heading for wherever we would end up. We took a very scenic drive & ended up at the
Day 43 – Thursday 19-08-08
The alarm was ringing at 6am; it was time for a quick cuppa & then of to see what the lake had to offer me. By 6.30 I was heading for the spot I had picked out to see if the Trout were feeding there. By now there were already quite a few people fishing & the Trout were rising along with a few Carp on the top of the water. By 6.45 my line hit the water & I waited in anticipation. The day had started very misty & there was the threat of rain in the distance. By 7.15 I had hooked my 1st fish; it was a decent size Roach, not the trout I was after. I moved into a shallow pool & could see some rises on the water; surely this could be where I catch me dinner. Well every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours I hooked into fish & they were all Roach. The weather was deteriorating & all of a sudden cloud came over the lake & you couldn’t see more than 2 feet in front of you. I had moved a few times & even though I could hear the Trout jumping I didn’t catch one. By late morning the heavens had opened up & I thought it was time to move on; after all we still needed the gas problem fixed. By late morning we bid our host a hearty au revoir & headed for a scenic drive to an aires we had stayed at before Marcillac-La-Croisille. By now we were both thinking that we may have to go back to
Day 44 – Wednesday 20-08-08
After a peaceful night’s kip & the usual morning cuppa we were heading for Bordeaux only stopping on the way if we came across any motorhome dealers or marine places who could possibly take a look at our gas & fix the regulator. Well after reaching Perigueux & having another person tell us that our problem couldn’t be fixed we jumped onto the motorway to
Days 45 – 49 Thursday 21-08-08 to Monday 25-08-08 resting at Caumont-Sur-Garonne
After a very peaceful night’s kip polly was whistling away & the 1st cuppa of the day was soon being drunk. The day started bright & sunny & stayed that way all day becoming rather hot. Well after our recent events & the worries of how to get the gas problem rectified we were both feeling a little bit drained. This aires is a jewel in the crown, it’s right on a canal, very peaceful & there is some lovely walks & wildlife in the area, plus of course I can go fishing. So we decided to chill out, relax, recharge our own batteries & just do nothing. So we spent the day doing just that, nothing. In the evening we saw 2 beavers coming down the canal & they went in search of food just across from where we parked. There are quite a few owls around here at night & they get quite near to the aires. After a relaxing peaceful day it was time for a cuppa, then bed. Overnight we had torrential rain & our 2nd day here started cloudy but by late morning it was warm & sunny. We had a good sort out & changed things around in the motorhome & we then tried out our Remoska. If you haven’t heard of a Remoska it’s an all in one electric cooking pot made in Czechoslovakia & Lakeland are a main distributor of them in the
Day 50 – Tuesday 26-08-08
After another relaxing & peaceful night watching the beavers on the canal & listening to the owls hooting away we’re getting ready to get back on the road. After me morning cuppa & servicing the motorhome it’s time for us to finally drag ourselves away from Caumont Sur Garonne. It’s going to be a tough day thinking of the wonderful place we have left behind, but there’s a long open road ahead of us along with the unknown & unseen pastures. We headed for St-Sylvestre-Sur-Lot Aires no: 68 page 20 (if you have the all the aires
Day 51 – Wednesday 27-08-08
After a very relaxed & peaceful night’s kip polly was whistling away & me morning cuppa was on its way. We left Maurox shortly after 9am & took a very scenic route to Albas Aires no: 93 page 249 (if you have the all the aires
Day 52 – Thursday 28-08-08
After a peaceful night’s kip polly was whistling away at 7.30 this morning. After a few quick cuppas it was time to head into the centre of Cahors. We left the campsite shortly before 9am expecting a long walk into Cahors. As we approached the Stade L.Desprats & the car parking area on the right we noticed a bus stop. After making some enquiry a French woman told us there was a shuttle bus from the car parks into the centre of Cahors & all shuttle buses are free. That’s right, all shuttle buses are free. So they want you to park out of town just like in the
Day 53 – Friday 29-08-08
After a wonderful night’s kip polly was as usual whistling away & me 1st cuppa of the day was soon ready to be drunk. We spent the morning cleaning the inside of the motorhome & replenishing our water supply & by 11.30 we left the campsite heading for Vers. From there we then followed the scenic route to St-Cirq-Lapopie stopping of at St-Gery to stock up on some supplies & of course have a cuppa. St-Gery was a nice little village & they have signs up saying “they try to talk & understand English”. We arrived at St-Cirq-Lapopie early afternoon & it was getting rather hot. Today the weather had reached the early nineties & it was a bit hot for walking around. We enjoyed our visit to St-Cirq-Lapopie which is a hilltop village with some great scenery. From there we took the scenic route to Cajarc & then onto Figeac. We found Figeac to be just like Cahors but bigger, we didn’t like the place so we headed for Boisse-Penchot Aires no: 74 page 244 (if you have the all the aires
Day 54 – Saturday 30-08-08
Today is our 5th day of continuous sunshine & already it’s getting hot. So after cooling myself down with the usual morning brew it was time once again to hit the road. We left Boisse-Penchot & took the scenic road via Montbazens, Villefranche-De-Rouergue, Lagupie, Cordes-S-Ciel to Albi. The scenic drives here aren’t as good as the ones we have taken in the past & even though the roads are good the scenery seems to be mainly farmland. Cordes-S-Ciel is a fascinating fortress town built on a hilltop, well worth a visit. We arrived in Albi early afternoon & found the allocating parking for motorhomes without any problems. There are no services here but at least we are parked within a stones throw of the cathedral. After another well earnt cuppa we headed into Albi. Our 1st stop was the Sainte-Cecile Cathedral, fascinating, amazing, a true work of art & craftsmanship. The Cathedral is a one-of-a-kind monument & it’s the world’s largest brick cathedral. It’s one amazing place to visit. To see the entire Cathedral you have to pay €2 to enter each of the two parts known as the Chancel Screen & the Salle du Tresor (treasure room), well if you have come all this way you gotta see it. The cathedral was the main reason we came to Albi & believe you me, it’s totally amazing & should be on everyone’s list as a must place to visit. After coming out of the cathedral it was now late afternoon & the sun was getting hotter, 92º F. Here in Albi there are loads of shops, bars, cafes & restaurants. The city has some great architecture in its old red brick buildings & there are plenty of places to walk around. Our visit coincided with a BMX festival & there were lots of people doing things on bikes & there were some climbing activities going on in the square at the back of the cathedral along with some kind of dance stage. We had a good walk around Albi & the best part for us was the walk along the river. There just happened to be a bar there so after a nice refreshing pint we walked along the rest of the river & back to our motorhome. In the evening there was a concert nearby & there was plenty of partying going on nearby. It was very noisy here until around 5am this morning. On the whole we really enjoyed our visit to this wonderful city & would recommend that Albi should be on everyone’s list as a place to visit.
Day 55 – Sunday 31-08-08
Today started cloudy but dry & after me usual morning cuppa we left Albi heading for Millau. We stopped at Roquefort Sur Soulzon Aires no: 9 page 228 (if you have the all the aires
Day 56 – Monday 01-09-08
After yesterday’s long hard day & frustrating drive into the darkness of the night, today we are on a mission, to find the aires we seemed to get lost trying to find last night. We didn’t have much sleep last night as we were up at 7.30 this morning to admire the views & take a good walk around the grounds of the château. So after several morning cuppas we looked at the map, re checked the sat nav co-ordinates & off we set to find the missing aires. From Portes we re-traced some of our route & the sat nav still told me I was only 4 miles from our destination & to turn right. No can do it’s a dirt track road leading into the mountain. We drove & we drove & we could now see what we drove through in the darkness of the night, twisting mountain roads & narrow bridges along with some very narrow streets to drive through. After driving through Vialas & once again through Le-Pont- De-Montvert we pulled over to have a cuppa & to think about what was going on here. In the aires book the co-ordinates are Nº44.19.517 Eº003.52.400, well that seems to be the middle of a mountain & I ain’t driving through it. Now we have the Camper Stop Europe book & up to now we haven’t really looked at it. So out of curiosity Sonia had a look through it & found the aires we were looking for which is actually at Florac. Camper Stop list the co-ordinates as Nº44.19.32 Eº3.35.25 bingo, on the sat nav I am now looking at Florac. So after reaching the end of the D998 we turned left onto the N106 took the 1st turning to Florac, followed the motorhome sign & we were soon parked up having a cuppa at Aires no: 104 page 211 in the aires book. I logged the co-ordinates as Nº44.19.548 Eº003.35.406. So from this we have learnt always park up before it gets rather dark & don’t go driving through the mountains at night if you can help it. Also check & re check your co-ordinates, destination, route even if it’s getting late & you are feeling tired because of the wonderful day you have had. At least we had seen some even more great scenery whilst on our aires chase. From Florac we drove to Aubignas Aires no: 40 page 377 (if you have the all the aires
Day 57 – Tuesday 02-09-08
After a wonderful relaxing evening & a very peaceful nights kip polly was busy whistling away. After a couple of tough driving days we decided to stay at Aubignas for the day & have a nice peaceful & relaxing day. Once again the day had started bright & sunny & it was getting hot. So I decided to have a good sort out in the garage, change a few things around & clean the motorhome. After lunch we went for a walk around Aubignas & thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful panoramic views this hillside village has to offer. This place nearly has it all. It has wonderful panoramic views, birds of prey, wild blackberries, figs, mistletoe and fresh spring water, properties with character, no shops, lovely walking & cycling routes. So what’s missing? A river, if this place had a river I would have probably stayed there for a week or two. Oh well you can’t have it all but in our opinion Aubignas is a lovely place to visit & the aires is in tip top condition.
Day 58 – Wednesday 03-09-08
Overnight we had a spot of thunder & a few showers but the morning started cloudy with sunny spells. After a few morning cuppas we left Aubignas & drove to Montelimar & then we took the scenic route to Dieulefit, Bordeaux & Saillans. We then headed for Die & stopped at the lovely le Claps which is a kind of place created from fallen rocks. Le Claps has some great scenery & it’s great for walking, rock climbing & watching birds of prey. There is also a river which runs into a beautiful sea green pool which turns into a mini waterfall the other side of the gorge. Unfortunately motorhomes are banned from parking there over night so after spending quite some time here we headed for Gap & when we saw the aires we quickly drove on by & headed for the parking spot at Col Bayard which is aires no:24 page 191 & is listed without co-ordinates. To find this ideal parking spot when you leave Gap you take the N85 Grenoble road. You go past the D944 on your right, past the Col Bayard resort on your right & as you start to drop down the hill you will see a small church on your right & on the left hand side of the road is a restaurant. Just as you approach the sign for the restaurant turn right & you will see the communal parking area on your right. Just find some where to park, enjoy the mountain views & have a very peaceful night’s kip. Even though the church rings its bell until 10pm & the N85 is close we found the noise was minimal & it was very peaceful & quiet all night & we were the only ones parked there for the night. I logged the co-ordinates for here as: Nº44.38.415 Eº006.05.170.
Day 59 – Thursday 04-09-08
After a wonderful night’s kip & the usual morning brew we left Col Bayard heading for Orcieres. We have decided that as we’re in the Rhone Alps region we might as well look at some of the ski resorts while the weather is still good & take in some hopefully breathtaking scenery. Orcieres is at an altitude of 1850m & is apparently one of the top ski resorts in this area. So here we are driving up these steep winding mountain roads & I’m scared of heights. Well at least I have me cups of tea & plenty of fags to calm me nerves. The scenery certainly is well worth the effort to get to theses places & I’m now probably turning grey before I should be. Seriously the drive to the resort was great & even though some parts of the road was a bit tight it was well worth the effort to get there. We arrived at Orcieres Aires no: 81 page 206 (if you have the all the aires
Day 60 – Friday 05-09-08
After thunder storms & heavy rain overnight the morning started bright & sunny. After me usual morning cuppas we decided to leave Les Orres & head into Embrun. The aires no: 19 page 190 is listed without co-ordinates is at the Intermarche supermarket off the main N94 road. The LPG is expensive here & you get it & pay for it in the Roady tyre garage which is also handy for any motoring accessories you require. There is a Bricomarche next to the Intermarche supermarket & there is also a McDonalds there. After getting some supplies ready for the weekend we drove into Embrun to have a look around. The town has an interesting cathedral along with quite a few shops & the usual bars & restaurants. We left Embrun heading for Mont Dauphin; from there we took the road to Guillestre & then the D902 Combe Du Queyras road which is amazing. This was the most scenic & amazing road we have driven along so far. There is a dam & river gorge running all the way along this stretch of road & the scenery is amazing. We stopped at nearly every opportunity to admire the surrounding scenery. We stopped off at some of the Kayak launching trails & the water here was ice cold & very refreshing. We were very lucky at one point as we could sit & watch Salmon trying to jump up the river. If you love rafting, kayaking this is a great place to visit. We eventually arrived at Château Queyras where we found a nice parking area next to the river. We stopped there over night along with a few other motorhomes & it was very peaceful & quiet.
Day 61 – Saturday 06-09-08
The morning started bright & sunny just what we wanted as we were heading for Casse Deserte. So after the usual morning cuppa we set off along the D902 heading for Arvieux. The road is a slow winding climb & there are plenty of altitude markers just to let you know how high you are climbing. This is also I believe a Tour De France route as there are plenty of cyclists pedalling their way up these steep hills. After passing through the ski resort of Arvieux we headed up for Casse Deserte. There are quite a few places to stop & have a picnic on route & the main parking area for the Casse Deserte is marked at an altitude of 2360m. After a well deserved cuppa we headed for one of the view points. There are plenty of walkers along with cyclists in this area & the views are fantastic with Mont Thabor which stands at 3181m visible in the far distance. Sadly there was an extremely ice cold wind blowing here so we cut our walk a bit short & headed back to our motorhome for a cuppa & to get warm. We left Casse Deserte heading for Briancon & stopped along the way to admire more amazing scenery & to taste the fresh running mountain water. We drove through Briancon & headed for our overnight stop at Le Montier Les Bains. We found an area which has a large parking area & services which is near one of the ski lifts & I have logged the co-ordinates as; Nº44.58.256 Eº006.30.760. There are about 25 of us parked here & there is probably parking for around 100 motorhomes here. This parking spot has plenty of mountain views & we could see 2 mountaineers walking along the top of one of the ridges. The weather has turned a bit sour with heavy rain & low rolling cloud but it’s still great to be here. We are heading for La Grave which has an Ice cave at 3200m & some terrific views of Mount La Meije which stands at 3983m & from here you can also see
Day 62 – Sunday 07-09-08
Just what we ordered, the day has started dry bright & sunny. So after the usual morning cuppa we left Montier Les Bains heading for La Grave. The drive on route provided the usual good scenery & after a few stops & a few cuppas by mid-day we had arrived at the Telepheriques De La Grave. So here we are parked in the large parking area just past the cable car lift where there’s a bar & a rafting centre with some gites above & I’m wondering what on earth am I doing here looking at the height of the mountain & the route the cable cars are taking. So after a cuppa & a few fags we walked to the entrance of the cable car lift. You can take single trips or return trips up to either stage 1 which is at 2400m or go to the top at 3200m. Single trips, I want to come down not be stuck up there. So after looking at the information which is at hand we decided to buy 2 return tickets to the 3200m stage at a cost of €36 for the 2 of us. So here we are getting in to the cable car which is going to whisk us up to 2400m & then we have to change cable cars to reach the 3200m summit. Well I must admit the trip up was great, the scenery was fantastic & the weather was dry & bright. When we departed from the cable car at 3200m the wind hit us & it was time to get the jackets on. So what’s the 1st thing you do when you get to this height? You go into the restaurant & order 2 coffees & a large plate of chips along with bread rolls so you can make a chip butty. After our meal at 3200m it was time to explore this glacier. The views were great from here & the tables of orientation show you where the different mountains are. I must admit I was a bit disappointed with the view looking from the restaurant to the ice cave. I thought it was going to be a fantastic see for miles type of view instead of being in a kind of dip on a glacier view. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean from the pictures. The glacier with its crevasse’s looked mean & if there would have been the opportunity to hire the necessary equipment & the guide we would have paid the €85 each to walk out onto the glacier. We believe the glacier walk has to be arranged a few days in advance of your arrival & there is a telephone number for you to ring to arrange the glacier walk. So we headed for the ice cave, easy access & safe. Well the route to the cave is a bit tricky especially as its quite a steep walk down & the snow is quite deep in places. I trod in one part & my foot went down to my calf muscle. As you start to head towards the ice cave there are ropes which you need to hold on to but if your unfortunate like Sonia was then you just slip up on your bum. Of course I rushed to help her after I stopped laughing & took a photo. The ice cave costs €4 each & as your there it’s worth seeing. It has matting laid down inside & it’s surprisingly warm inside. You can see & hear the glacier melting in some parts & one part of the cave was closed as it was underwater. The sculptures are interesting & were well worth visiting. At 15.45 it was time to depart the glacier & take the 30 minute trip back down to earth. By now the cloud had come over the mountain & there was very little to see. Back in the cable car I put the camera into movie mode & videoed the whole trip down. On playing the video back it seemed like we were hardly moving but believe you me, the trip down was scarier than the trip going up. Safely back on the ground it was time to get back to the motorhome & put polly on. Sitting there reflecting on our trip to 3200m all we can say was it was brilliant & I’m looking forward to the 3,842m trip when we arrive at Mont Blanc. Hang on; did I just say I was looking forward to it? I don’t like heights & I want to do it again. Must be the air I’m breathing here, making me think strange things. Where we had parked the motorhome we had fine views of
Day 63 – Monday 08-09-08
After a very peaceful nights kip the views of
Day 64 – Tuesday 09-09-08
After a little spot of rain overnight the morning started dry bright & sunny. After me usual few morning cuppas we left Barrage De Grand Maison still heading for
Day 65 – Wednesday 10-09-08
After our morning cuppa we left St-Charles taking a rather interesting drive to Bourg-St-Maurice. From there we took the D902 to Beaufort which was once again another scenic steep winding mountain road with a peak at 1969m. We stopped at Les Saises Aires no: 4 page 368 (if you have the all the aires
Day 66 – Thursday 11-09-08
After a very peaceful night’s kip & the usual morning cuppa provided by polly, we decided to carry on & head for
Day 67 – Friday 12-09-08
We were hoping the day was going to start bright, dry & sunny. From 3am we had nothing but heavy rain & low level cloud. Looking out of our motorhome drinking my 1st cuppa of the day our trip up to the Aiguille du Midi was looking bleak. I thought I would catch up on some typing & a few other things & by 11am the weather had shown no signs of improvement. So we decided to head into
Day 68 – Saturday 13-09-08
After a peaceful night’s kip, polly was busy whistling away & my 1st cuppa was on its way. The day started just as yesterday, dark, dull & a sky full of rain. But we somehow knew that high above us the sun was shining & the people who were planning a trip up to the Aiguille du Midi were in for an amazing adventure. We decided to pay our parking fee which was €20 & head for
Day 69 – Sunday 14-09-08
After a peaceful nights kip & listening to polly whistling away I was getting ready for my 1st cuppa of the day. We went for a walk around Verbania & even though the weather was still damp we enjoyed our walk & all of a sudden we have had a brainstorm. We have enjoyed the Dordogne & Alps region of
Day 70 – Monday 15-09-08
After having sufficient rest & my morning cuppa we left Reims heading for
Conclusion of our 70 day trip.
Well what can we say? We have had a fantastic time & have gathered some invaluable experience & knowledge of just how good