Further flavours of France

August 2016

Our next destination was les Sables d’Olonne which has a paid for aire (46.497288-1.775243) near to the centre at 15.4o euro per night it was more expensive than we’d been used to paying and actually although it had electric points (if you were lucky enough to get one) it didn’t have any views so was essentially just a glorified car park.

The town itself is at the start of the Vendee region an area that had been recommended several times to us. Les Sables though was not really for us, its a very large sprawling seaside town, and reminded us some what of the Spanish Costa’s with its high rise buildings and array of tourist shops. Although the beach was a huge expanse it was packed full of people (well it is August) so we didn’t bother joining them!

After just one night we continued our trek north and had an overnight stay at L’Aigillon Sur Mer (46.332314 – 1.306501). The aire was next to a lake where a zip wire set up means people could take part in mono skiing. Whilst we were sat watching another group of people had a kind of jousting competition in canoes – it was almost like a mini its a knockout and we had quite a laugh watching their antics.

The next morning we were on the road again making our way up to La Rochelle. We arrived around lunchtime and found parking at Port Minimes (46.144059-1.171602) a great parking area right by a small beach and marina. The town itself is around 15 mins by bike or alternatively there is a regular bus taxi for 3 euros from the marina.  The weather though was overcast and cloudy so not really warm enough for the beach. Whist Paul chilled out I got some practice on my roller blades along the quayside.

The last and only time we’ve been to La Rochelle was about 12 years ago and it rained heavily whilst we were there so we didn’t get to see it at its best. It would appear the rain Gods were not on our side this time either as just shortly after cycling into town the following day the heavens opened and it howled down with rain. We darted into a coffee shop and mooched in and out of shops until it finally stopped early afternoon. Next time we need to look at the forecast first as I’m sue its a beautiful place to explore in the dry.

After a few days moving from place to place our next stop on the at Noirmoutier en I’lle was perfect for a few days stop over. We had intended to stop on an aire but spotted a campsite just down the road with motorhome paring in front. The campsite had great facilities with a pool, direct access to the beach, a cafe/bar and modern shower blocks. Camping de la Court charges just 10 euros per night for moho’s (46.966565-2.218481) so is actually 3 euros cheaper than the nearby aire. Another of the west coasts islands Noirmoutier is perfect for cycling with great cycle tracks around the island and out to the passage du gois which offer an alternative route onto the island at low tide when a road opens up with sea on each side!

After a 3 night stay we wanted to make our way a little further north as were meeting Paul’s brother and sister in law on Friday in Carnac so decided on a stay in Piriac Sur Mer (47.3965592-2.512759 – 7 euro per night) which is a small aire opposite a beach on the outskirts of Piriac. We took a picnic to the beach but as the cloud came over it became a little chilly so we made our was back to the moho and relaxed reading and listening to the radio. Late afternoon our French neighbour turned his TV right up so that it was blasting out. After about 15 mins Paul went to knock on his door to ask him if he would mind turning it down, as he knocked though the guy leapt out of his moho shouting in french that we had had our music up far too loud all afternoon whilst he was trying to sleep so he was just retaliating. It seemed like a bizarre reaction as we felt that we hadn’t had the radio up loud and Paul tried to say that all he had to do was let us know and we would have gladly turned it down. We decided because of this to move on again the following day.

Love Andi & Paul x

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