Crossing the channel: we used Eurotunnel because it is a
great way of using Tesco vouchers. Whilst Eurotunnel is 1.5 times the cost of
the ferry if you book in cash, it is much cheaper using Tesco points. The
crossing time is 35 mins (of which about 25 is in the tunnel).
In recent years we have tended not to book sites in advance;
this year we decided that since we were going in early August it might be worth
booking, so we used the Caravan Club booking service for all the sites
(including the ones for single night stops, when normally we use Municipals).
First night: we stopped at Le Clos Cacheleux, Miannay near
Abbeville. It took less than 90 mins from the Tunnel to arrive on site. Pitches
are a great size, we were allowed to choose, and there is a bar / pool / take
away in the sister site over the road. Wash
blocks are OK but felt a bit cold with the drafts. Would I use the site again? Yes for both night halts and a stay of a few days.
Drive from Eurotunnel 71 miles
(55 on motorway) toll cots 12.10 – Route: A16, A28 leaving junc 2 onto D925.
Second night: we stayed at Camping Le Moulin Fort, Chisseaux
near Chenonceaux. The site is on the river bank with a pleasant walk to the
Chateau. This is a site worth a longer stop (and we will probably do so in the
future). Being August the site was almost full; it is owned by a British family
and many of those on site were British and Dutch campers. Would I use the site again? Yes for both a night halt and for longer stays.
Drive today 276 miles (157 on
motorway) toll costs e5.5 [Rouen is a
slight pain at the moment with the closed bridge but didn’t hold us up] Route A28, A151/Rouen, A13, N154 to Chartres,
N10 to Chateau-Renault, D31
The third night: we stayed at Camping Moulin de Campech,
Villefranche-du-Queyran nearish to Casteljaloux. It was raining as we
approached and, if we hadn’t prebooked, we would not have stopped but kept
driving beyond the rain. I don’t know if it was the rain but for almost the
first time ever I wished I hadn’t booked this site. I’m sure many people would
love it, certainly there were lots of brits who seemed happy enough. But the
vibe felt like a throw back to the days when caravans leaked and were towed by
people driving Austin Maxi’s. Certainly sanitary facilities on site were that
vintage as well (though kept clean).
Drive today 287 miles (251 on
motorway) toll costs 27.50. Route A85, A10 to j30 Poitiers,
N10 to Angouleme then Bordeaux,
A62 to J6. The A10 Motorway goes to Bordeaux
but is peage and further than the N10 which is mostly dual carriageway.
By the fourth night we had arrived at Camping Pena
Montanesa, 2kms north of Ainsa. Towing through the tunnel to Spain? When you read some of the caravan literature,
it makes it sound as if towing through the Pyrenees is
something only attempted by the brave. Well, sure the roads climb high and have
tight bends but the car and caravan managed it without any difficulty. The only
difference to normal was the car temperature gauge moved slightly above it’s
normal position, had I not been looking out for this I probably wouldn’t have
noticed. The site has a restaurant,
pool, well stocked shop and take away. We were offered a choice of pitches and took a large one with a view; however there were others which had much more shade if that is your preference. The wash blocks are kept very clean. Would we go back? Absolutely.
You can walk from the site into Ainsa (in trainers or
better), across the road from the site is a waymarked walk, just follow the
signs. There are small supermarket/corner shops in Ainsa and a bigger (though
still smallish by UK
standards) Simplycity supermarket on the road between Ainsa and Boltana which
is more than large enough for holiday shopping.
Drive today 163 miles (no
motorway or tolls). Route Nerac, Condom, D930, D929, Bielsa tunnel, A138.
After a week in Spain
we travelled north to the Lot valley. Staying at Camping
Le Ch’timi. This site is owned by a Dutch family and is pleasant. Again we were
able to choose a pitch (in our case one which had some view of the Lot
river). There is a LeClerc supermarket a few kms away in Fumel (on Junction of
D911 and D139). The site has good
washblock, pleasant pool, bar serving food and an animations team (who were low
key but kept up a full programme of activities). Would we go back? Yes.
186 miles (no motorway or tolls). Route Bielsa Tunnel, D929 to Auch, N21 to
Agen then Villeneuve sur Lot, D911 to Fumel then D811 towards Cahors, (if
staying at Le Ch’timi make sure you avoid signs for Touzac and drive into
Duravel and then take D58 to Vire sur Lot and D8 into Touzac otherwise you have
an interesting narrow bridge to tow across!)
Following our few days in the Lot
valley we started the journey home. Next stop an overnight at Camping Les
Saules, Cour-Cheverny. We have stayed here before and it’s a lovely site,
albeit full, which is better suited to longer stays than a night halt. There is
cycling, Loire Chateaux and more to do. There are two supermarkets a couple of
miles south in Contres. Would we go back? Yes but it is really a place to stay for a few days.
289 miles (233 motorway) 14.50 tolls. Route A20 north, A85 to J13
Our last night in France
was again at Camping Bien Assise. I have a soft spot for this site, though
really it’s expensive for what it is. I guess it is because we have used it
often at the start or end of our holiday. There is a Carrefour supermarket nearby
for those essentials (and fuel).
Drive today 286 miles (239 motorway) 15.90 tolls. Route N10
to Chartres, N154, A13 for couple
of junctions, D6015, A28, A16
Route planning: we try not to do more than 300 miles
in a day, ideally a bit less, which normally gives us time late afternoon on
site to go out for a walk, cycle or swim; though some years we have done over 400
miles in a day in order to get all the travel in one day. When planning we
usually work on an estimate of an average of 50mph on peage / motorway, 40mph
on normal roads, or 35mph if the route includes driving though many towns. Usually
we do better than this until you take in toilet breaks etc.