This page was last updated on
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 16:38
by Richard Spencer.
|A new era started for us during October 2014! Our yacht Inadee was sold and
we took delivery of our new motorhome, an Elddis 115 from Dolphin Motorhomes
Our first journey was to visit the Camping and Caravan Show at
the NEC with an overnight stay at the venue. From the NEC we travelled a few
miles south to Stratford-upon-Avon then on to our first campsite. We were away
for just 3 days which gave us a chance to cover a few miles on motorways, 'A'
roads and a couple of narrow country roads. The venture also gave us the
opportunity to find out how stuff worked and to understand the routines
that we should follow.
All went very well with a few minor learning curves to
sort out, such as rattling equipment and sorting storage, before setting
off. All equipment worked such as TV, cooker, microwave, water and
toilet system, and the heating system for both water and space heating.
French trip (November 2014)...
Outbound to Narbonne...
Our catalyst to visit France came from The
Hotel Camelia at Aviernoz, just east of Annecy. They were celebrating
their 25 years in business and of course we wanted to join in the fun.
In preparation for the 'adventure' we organised a telepeage tag from
Sanef Tolling, to make passing through French motorway tolls easy. This
subsequently proved to be an excellent decision. We also booked a slot
to go through the Euro Tunnel, which we had never experienced before and
thought this would be quicker and easier than ferry particularly with
Ben, our dog.
Armed with our three passports our trip up the A3 and along the M25
and M20 to the Euro Tunnel Terminal took us just over 2 hour 20 minutes
and we found ourselves heading down the ramp to board the train 3/4 of
an hour early. We were quickly ushered onto the waiting train and within
ten minutes we were on our way through the tunnel, half an hour early.
We arrived in Calais at 11:50 local time and were quickly on our way
down the A26 motorway toward Reims. The traffic was really light and it
was a pleasant change from travelling on UK roads as was the lunch we
had at one of the motorway service areas - very nice. Journeys end for
the day was at a campsite (www.campinghautoreille.com
), Bannes, just outside Langres. It was raining and the
surrounding countryside was very misty, having said that the campsite
was welcoming and all the facilities were up to scratch.
morning we were up early and took time to look round the ancient town of
Langres before heading off south toward
Aviernoz. Our arrival at the
Auberge was just in time for tea at 17:30. We stayed for three days
before moving on toward Montelimar and
Our journey to Montelimar took us via Grenoble and Valence through
excellent views of open countryside, gorges and the
Massif de la Chartreuse. Entering Valence reminded us of our stay
here when travelling by boat to the Med in 2009. The view of The Rhone
brought back happy memories as we made way south, this time by the
riverside road. We stopped overnight at
Camping les Ilons a small
site on the east bank of the Rhone. In the morning we made our way down
river to Montelimar and then back up to the town of Cruas on the west
bank of the river. The marina at Cruas was very quiet and chilly in
comparison to the time we stayed there in 2009 and after looking round
for our old friend Claude, the Port Capitaine, we settled down to stay
at the local caravan site for the night. After a good nights rest and
hearty breakfast we made tracks for
our next planned stop. Coming into Pradelles downhill gave us fantastic
views of the countryside and halfway down we came across an
Aire de la Salaison opposite a charcuterie. What a lucky stopover!
We had WiFi, electricity and all the services for an electricity charge
of €2.00. The
meats were excellent and the car park was almost always visited by many
|Going across the
Central Massif was impressive and we would need considerably more
time to explore the region which we will hope to do in the future. It
was also noticeable that the south western side got warmer as we moved
toward Millau. Coming into Millau we could see The Bridge, which is why
we came this way but our intention was to park in the town and visit the
local area. The parking facilities were very good, alongside the river
Tarn, and we joined the
Aires Camping-Cars which issued us with 'prepaid' card which
automatically opened the barriers and could be easily recharged at any
of their sites machine. After a pleasant day visiting Millau and viewing
the bridge from a good vantage point we joined the A75 motorway to cross
the engineering masterpiece. In Montpelier we again used an Aires
Camping-Car and met up with a couple of other British motorhomers. The
weather, by the way, was shirt sleeves, even at 20:00 when we sauntered
to the local McDonalds for our after dinner pud.
Homeward from Narbonne...
At last we got to
Carcassonne, our goal for this adventure, and managed to park just about
100 metres away from the 'fairytale' castle. We had a smashing lunch in
the castle square before completing our wandering and then driving on to
Castelnaudary for our overnight stay and to plan our return route
home. We camped at a nice site for our last night before turning north
towards home at Villefranches
de Lauranges (Camping du
lac Thesauque). This was evidently a very popular summer site with
excellent walking, cycling and things for the kids to do. Our next goal
was to Forges via lunch at Le Bistro Condruis, in
Cordes-sur-Ciel. Lunch was
excellent and the town very picturesque only to be capped by the
Forges. Forges was idyllic and we had the site to ourselves. With
the possibility of snow on high ground and generally deteriorating
weather we made for
Villefranche-sur-Soane, just south of Macon.
We were again
visiting areas where we had sailed and the site here was on the river
side. We unhitched our cycles and set off round the large town where we
were again lucky with our choice for lunch; it was very nice but I did
mistakenly choose tripe salad! The motorhome park here had everything,
and it worked. Our next journey was to lunch at
restaurant, and then overnight at
St John-de-Losne, where we had had an enjoyable stay when sailing.
Our parking spot, Port Bernard, was on the town outskirts alongside the
Soane. Next we return to our outbound route starting at Langres. First,
the local vet to have
Ben's passport checked and he treated so that he could re-enter the UK,
then on to our original campsite 'Hautoreille'.
This was their last night of opening and there were just us and a German
couple. The weather had closed in and it was very misty and wet,
however, the fresh baguette that was delivered next morning was
Our last overnight was at a small
motorhome campsite at Marck, just outside Calais. It was adjacent to
a big sports centre and not more than a 100 metres from a very good
restaurant, From here we just slipped onto the Eurotunnel train
effortlessly and made our way home.