Moving up north again towards the Channel from Coulon (the previous blog is here) we decided to stop off on the Loire. While we had no real plan for the break the idea of stopping somewhere along the Loire had always been a possibility. It is an area we have passed through a number of times but never stayed in so it was time to put this oversight right. Again using the ACSI card we found there was a camp site on an island in the Loire at Saumur and the idea of that was simply too tempting to miss out on.
We arrived at the site while reception was closed for lunch however that gave us a chance to have a look around at the site and some of the pitches so that when reception re-opened we had an idea of where we would like to be on the site. There are a small collection of hard standing pitches which are at a higher level than the rest of the site – there are benefits! The view from our pitch was one of the best we have ever had. Over the course of our stay there we did have the odd night where another motorhome would obstruct our view however, even then, it was a matter of two or three paces to be able to see the view again. Looking at the château across the Loire will remain one of the most memorable aspects of the whole trip – the various times of day, weather and light all making for great photographic potential.
The town of Saumur is one of those particularly appealing French towns to us. Large enough to be interesting and small enough to be easy to get around on foot. We also found the service in the restaurants and cafes good, again maybe an aspect of the size of town. The obvious place of interest is the château however much of the town close to the château is very old indeed and there are plenty of other things to see both in the town and a little further afield. The river is good for walks and is scenic. There is a large military establishment there where horses are trained (if that is your thing). Again the campsite offered a “7 nights for 6” deal out of season so we stayed a little longer than we planned however the time passed quickly and we would certainly return to Saumur and the campsite in the future.
Sadly we had to consider the trip back up to the tunnel by this time and so the maps and campsite books came out. After quite a number of “plan B’s” we ended up with something that had been the original “plan a”! We decided to head back up to a different spot on the Normandy coast. The place we originally decided on was St Valery en Caux. The town looked fairly well situated on the coast and, although the campsite did not get rave reviews, we felt it should be alright for a night or too. We were right about the town but not about the campsite which was the least good of those we stayed at on the trip. The last straw was the lack of anything other than warm water in the shower and so we moved on after a night. We moved a fairly short distance to Saint-Valery-sur-Somme on the coast of Picardy
Our stay at Saint-Valery-sur-Somme was very pleasant. The campsite was well placed for the town and the Bay of the Somme was an interesting area. The old “city” of Saint-Valery-sur-Somme was fascinating. Set apart from the modern town, it is very old and with a lot of history to it varying from the fact that the invasion of England set off from it in 1066 to the fact that the English held Joan of Arc there until she was put to death. Throw in a very good food market which we sampled and the interesting railway that runs around the bay which we did not have time for and it is an area I’m sure we will return too. Three nights was not enough. From there we had a night close to Calais and headed home. All in all a great trip which we thoroughly enjoyed and we will be going to Europe in the motorhome again in 2015 I hope.