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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 near Southampton.

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. uuu

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.


Langres

The following 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 Cruas.

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 Pradelles, 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 customers.

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 campsite at 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 Chalon-sur-Soane, Carrefour 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 delicious.

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.