After our time on the Normandy coast (blogged here) we had a decision to make. Would we head towards the south Brittany coast area or towards the valley of the Loire. In the end the forecast for the coast looked marginally better than the one for the Loire and although the day we left Pontorson was forecast to be poor, it appeared that better weather would arrive soon. As it turned out the day was very wet indeed and we were very glad to get to our destination.
While the trip was largely unplanned we had decided to try out the ACSI card which seemed to give quite good discounts on out of season stays. The site at Pontorson had been one of them and had been good so we decided to try another one. Using the ACSI app we checked out the camp site and it was located on the coast of the Loire-Atlantique just outside a small town called La Turballe. We actually arrived there while reception was closed for lunch however this presented no problem as the owner came out to greet us and ask if he could help – it seemed to bode well. While we had a choice of pitches, he showed us to one he felt appropriate for our motorhome and the expected weather (!) and we were happy with that. In practice the pitch was maybe a maximum of 5 metres from the high tide on the Atlantic though fortunately sheltered by a sand dune and a small hedge and the gate onto the beach itself was also less than 5 metres from our pitch.
That night we probably had some of the worst weather I’ve had in the motorhome. It shook in the wind, at times it felt, and sounded, like the side of the van was being pressure washed and the noise of the sea was awe inspiring. However the morning was better and we walked into La Turballe to have a look around, get a coffee and do some shopping. It was still very windy but nothing like as bad as the night before. We had another night of fairly bad weather, however after that it calmed down and we had some good periods of sunshine.
La Turballe itself is simply a small town and not in any bad sense of the word. It is actually a working fishing port so compared to some places that we stayed on the trip there was far less of an “end of season” feel to it. With a mini market in town and a decent supermarket on the outskirts couple with a very good market all within easy walking distance of the camp site it covered our needs very well indeed. The camp site itself was excellent. Obviously the location was stunning however all the facilities were of a high standard, staff were extremely helpful and it even had a covered swimming pool that was open. Finding out that there was a “7 nights for 6” out of season deal made staying a little longer that we had intended a very easy decision and we would go back there again. The camp site’s website is here for those who are interested.
We walked along the coast somewhere most days. The small and pleasant town of Piriac-sur-Mer was a little north of us while the lovely long beach (around 3 miles long) between La Turballe and Pen Bron was south of us. Slightly inland was the start of the salt marshes which I find a very interesting habitat. There is the history of extracting salt from the sea couple with an extensive bird population. I mentioned the area in a previous blog here. We certainly found enough to do here and started really getting into the holiday.
We really enjoyed our time at La Turballe however if I was to pick only one aspect it would be the sunsets. The ability to step outside and walk a few paces towards sunset time and see such stunning displays was wonderful. I took a lot of pictures and put a very small selection here.
All things must end and we decided it was time to move on. In conversation with another couple of UK motorhomers they had mentioned an area they had passed through coming north and we decided to head that way. At the northern edge of Charente-Maritime the commune of Coulon is in the Marais Poitevin or Venise Verte and the camp site was on the edge of Coulon. While we loved the tranquillity of the area and the small (& large) canals with some great birdlife Coulon in particular really did feel as though the season was over (this was mid October). So while this area has much to offer we decided to move on and start our slow journey back up to the Channel.