French Villages with Aires Feb 2020

Here we were, once again, travelling through France in Feb. Unlike last time, in 2018, we did not have snow, but we did have plenty of wind and rain. We needed to break the journey from Spain to UK into sensible driving distances and so we allowed ourselves 5 days. Most campsites were still closed but there are plenty of aires in France, some of which even have electric points. We were able to get drinking water in most places and there were facilities for emptying waste water and the toilet.

Capbreton

We really loved it here last time we visited, so decided to head there again. The drive from Burgos took nearly 5 hours, but we felt that we had bitten off a good chunk of the journey. It didn’t seem that way after another couple of days on the road! We were last here in Oct 17 and it was buzzing with activity due to the excellent surfing beaches. This time, it was much colder and extremely rough with some heavy rain late in the day. In the morning the bread van arrived bringing delicious French bread to cheer us on our way.

Capbreton beach
Capbreton beach looking in the other direction

Nersac

Nersac is in the Charente Department in South Western France, eight kilometers from Angouleme. The village is very pleasant with a very old church, a chateau that needs Dick and Angel’s attention, and an excellent patisserie. The aire is located behind the Marie’s building and provides free electricity. Campers are requested not to use the electric for running their heating. We were joined by an English couple who were on their way south; lucky them!

We had a stroll around the village between showers and enjoyed the view across the parkland, visited the church, and bought fabulous pastries to have with a reviving cup of Earl Grey tea.

Village Centre. The Marie is behind this building
Small square behind the church
View from the Marie’s place
Parkland view from the aire
Village church
One of the altars in this charming small church
Beautiful colours in this stained glass window
More fabulous colours
Even on a dull day the colours are vibrant
Council buildings alongside the aire
Sunset over the parkland after a stormy day

We were here when the schoolchildren started coming home from school and then reappeared with musical instruments, heading for the music school in the village centre. Several of them bid us a cheery bonjour as they passed. We had a peaceful night, apart from the bonging of the church bells until 11pm and again from 0600!!

St Genouph

This village was a bit remote and there were roadworks in the village centre with a diversion alongside a canal. It was a bit confusing, but we found the aire which was surprisingly busy. The village is in a market gardening region near to Tours and looked as though it would be nice to wander round. However, the storm that was due to arrive around now, had started to make itself felt and we stayed in the warmth of the van. The aire is located on the outskirts of the village and is a short walk into the centre.

Nonancourt

The weather was a bit better today, although breezy and a bit cold. By the time we got to Nonancourt, it was sunny and after a bit of lunch we went exploring. I enjoyed the architecture of this place and once again, the aire was situated alongside the Mairie and the riverside park.

Bridge at Nonancourt
Pretty riverside houses
Town centre
Back streets
Central chateau

Front of the Mairie’s place
WW1 memorial
Church at Nonancourt. It was not open and close to, is quite delapidated

This is a place with a history that starts back in 1112. There are some delightful buildings and a lovely riverside park. Unfortunately, we could not walk along the river as it was far too wet and muddy.

Channel Crossing

At last we were nearing the end of our journey home. We had an e.mail from DFDS advising that our ferry crossing on Sunday was cancelled due to the impending effects of storm Dennis. After much discussion we decided to see whether we could get a crossing on the tunnel instead. The difference in price was £8, so we looked for an aire away from the port, and the immigrants, and found one on a farm.

We arrived in a gale on Saturday, which was Clyde’s birthday, and headed round to the back of a large barn. It looked very modern and robust and provided some much needed shelter. To make his day complete, Clyde battled with the slightly primitive toilet emptying facilities, almost being blown away in the process! It was a far cry from last year’s birthday spent in Madrid. It was a very wild night and in the morning we were very concerned that we might not make it the few kilometers to Calais. However, we managed to keep on the road, which was very quiet, and arrived in time for the earlier crossing. It was certainly a lot faster and calmer travelling through the tunnel and we will probably use it again.

Back in the UK we drove through heavy rain and wind from Folkestone to Gosport and went straight to the minor injuries unit for his leg to be looked at. A ruptured Achilles Tendon was diagnosed and we headed to our usual car park to consider our next move. We were blissfully unaware of the excitement looming once we got into the medical system for Clyde’s leg and eye issues!!