Into the Autumn and so time for a trip in the motorhome. The plan (of which more later) was to head down the west coast of France, along the Pyrenees and then on to the eastern Spanish coast. We decided not to rush along and having enjoyed cycling on the Vendee in early summer we wanted to head back there. Plans didn’t work out in a number of ways starting with the fact that our crossing of the Channel was delayed. This meant we didn’t get to where we planned on the first night. This had a knock on effect for the trip down meaning we had to rethink it. Looking for a suitable place to stop on our first full day in France we decided to try a campsite on the Loir (without an “e”) at La Fleche. We’d decided that this was simply a one night en route stop. However we realised very quickly that the campsite, location and town probably meant we shouldn’t rush away. The campsite was on the edge of the river with the town an easy walk (or cycle) away. There was also a good cycle route heading east as well. We really enjoyed our time at La Fleche and it will be somewhere we will aim to return to.
When we were away in June we’d stayed and cycled on the Vendee coast and really enjoyed it (see here). In particular the Île de Noirmoutier drew us as we’d only managed to see part of it as we’d cycled from the mainland to it. Noirmoutier is the main town and is busy and well provided with shops, restaurants and the like. Someone we’d met at the previous site had suggested that the Camping Municipal might be worth staying at so we headed there. We were amazed just how busy it was in mid September with few pitches available. Equally and rather unusually the majority of motorhomes were French. In general there tends to be a fair spread of nationalities at campsites in our experience. The campsite wasn’t particularly good but it was decent enough, well placed for cycling and very close to the coast. After initially cycling into town on the direct road we realised that there were pleasanter ways to do it! The views above are a sample of what we saw everyday on our route into town. We saw many over wintering birds on the salt marshes (marais salants) as well as activity on the water channel into town and almost completely avoided any traffic.
Cycling on Noirmoutier is mostly excellent with decent well marked cycle paths. During our time on the island we saw pretty much all of the island by bike in mostly decent weather conditions. We didn’t get our timing quite right when we headed to the east of the island to look at the tidal road. We had not realised just how short a period the road was actually open for. Those with sat nav beware – ours did try and take us that way but fortunately we already knew better.
Once again I find myself draw to monochrome images from time to time. There are times when the approach seems to get more from an image than a colour rendering. I often find that my images only have one or two real colours in anyway. More images of mine that tend to be monochrome can be seen on my Flickr feed.
I’ll close with this image – it brings back great memories of a meal out in Noirmoutier and the cycle run back (it was taken on my phone so the quality is not brilliant). We ate well – the mosquitoes did nearly as well as we cycled back but it was worth it! The plan was to leave Noirmoutier and head south however “events” took over and so we needed to head back to the UK. The next blog – soon I hope – will be about that trip.