Le Beach

After a few days at Lac Du Parloup it was time to pack up and head south. Before we came out here I fitted a bike rack so we could bring out bikes and a trailer for Arielle, the idea being that when we got down near the beach we could use the bikes to venture out if we wanted to. Clearly I am not used to how long this additional item makes the van and I managed to snag my rear wheel on a tree.

I’m not going to lie, I did swear and was really annoyed at myself. It transpires that 26” MTB wheels are extremely difficult to come by so that was my bike and the trailer out of action for the rest of the trip.

The drive to where we were staying next, Dunes Et Soleil Marseillan plage took a couple of hours, the kids were well behaved even when we stopped at Lidl, the temperature was noticeably warmer.

Check in was easy and we’d initially booked for a few nights, within no time at all we were setup.

The beach here is lovely, entry to the sea is a very gentle slope and you can wander out a long way and still be only up to your waist which is great for the kids, finally they got an ice cream from the man who walks along the beach with an ice cream trolley, Stella remembered this from the last time we came to France and she was dead set on getting one!

We ended up extending our stay here for another 4 nights at a cost of 70 Euros which is great value. There is an onsite bar that does amazing burgers and Pizzas plus the main drag is well within walking distance as is the local fairground I suppose is the best way to describe it.

There were plenty of rides for the kids and at around 22.00 they’d spent all their tokens and we headed home to be greeted by our first storm.

I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been, the water wasn’t an issue but the wind whipped up pretty quickly, luckily Lolly saw what was going on and came out and held on to the awning while I put some straps in to stop it blowing away, that did the trick and next day everything’s was as it should be, still attached to the van!

We had a great time here and probably would have ended up staying till we went home, we had lovely neighbours from Germany, Belgium and the UK and I even found a working three way fridge someone had chucked which came in well handy for keeping my beer cold!

What we didn’t have was a pool. I don’t mind hanging at the beach but the pool is a nice thing to mix it up for the kids so after seven nights we packed up again and headed to Vias Plage.

Le Trip to The Lake

After a good few days in Argentat we set off to Lac De Parloup via a friend who we hadn’t seen for a few years. We mentioned we wouldn’t mind a stopover and he said he knew just the place for a picnic and a sleepover and that it was beautiful, he wasn’t wrong.

After meeting up we took a short drive to Najac and followed a dusty track and parked up next to the river.

It was absolutely stunning, we had a lovely picnic and there was a little beach with calm water so the girls could splash about, they loved it.

We were the only people there and had an undisturbed night, the Maxxair fan I put in the van kept us all cool as in the evening it was about 25 degrees.

The following morning I stripped off and a had a wash in the river, something I haven’t done in years! Shortly after 4 canoes came past and had they been a bit earlier they’d have had an unexpected sight!

Before we left we took the opportunity to take a family photo.

Lauren notice fairly quickly that Arielle doll she was holding looked like she’d popped out of her dress!

We hit the road again and in a few hours arrived in Lac De Parloup and setup our pitch.

The site is mainly French and Dutch, a mixture of static caravans and pitches for motor homes and tents. There is a huge play area for the kids which they love, particularly the bouncy castle.

Also there is a nice pool with a restaurant adjacent.

The following day we headed to the beach by the lake, it’s a man made beach and a bit rough but the kids enjoyed it, the temperature of the lake is bearable and as it’s proper hot a nice way to cool down.

Lind and Ian joined us for three nights and secured a pitch right next door which Stella is very happy about.

Day two was spent in the pool.

At the time of writing we are back at the van about to have lunch, we have one more night here and then we’re off to Cap D’Agde for the remainder of our holiday, the beach there is the best we’ve come across on our travels in France and I’m assured none of the sites we’re staying at are naked which is a huge relief for me!

AND SO IT BEGINS…..

Lolly and Stella flew to France a few days back and I’m driving to her Mum and Dads place in Argentat to meet them, from there we’ll spend three weeks travelling around France staying in what will be Bumblebees last adventure with us…

Saturday morning at 9am I was all packed up and ready to roll..

The journey to Folkestone was uneventful but the satnav did take me on a rather long winded route as one of the sections of the M20 was closed, the upside was a saw some beautiful countryside I’d not seen before.

When you get on the train, driving through the carriages always reminds me of the Death Star run and I always hope a tie fighter will come screaming past me, never does 😦

It’s all very efficient on the train and with in no time at all Bumblebee was secured and we were on our way..

I took a wander down the carriages to find the loo and saw this which made me laugh

Hopefully they’ll see the funny side of it too.

From Calais the plan was to head to Oreleans and find somewhere to plot up for the night using the trusty all the Aires book, I was aiming for a place called Beaugency which is about 4.5 hours drive. It chucked it down for the entire journey and when I got there the Aire was permanently closed. I looked up another about 25 mins away, got there and also was closed. The next one you had to be a member of a camping club to get in, finally I found a little spot that was actually far more up my street.

As you can see I was the only person there, there is a serviceable toilet, the road it’s next to is reasonably quiet and it’s right opposite a lake.

Everything happens for a reason!

The van is full of stuff so I had to empty the van to get the blinds and bed setup, then find somewhere to put everything, at this point I have realised it’s unlikely we’ll be able to stay at any aires as the space I used to store most of the stuff is where Stella sleeps, we definitely need a bigger van!

As I cracked open a beer a small Mercedes Vito turned up and the owners proceeded to beach their vehicle on a concrete kerb stone, much revving and wheel spinning later they gave up trying to sort it and went to bed.

I had a great nights sleep, probably the best one I’ll have of this trip! I woke up and started to pack up the van ready to roll to Argentat. My neighbours got their van unstuck, rolled out a table and chairs and made themselves some breakfast, very civilised..

I made some tea and munched a BLT I picked up yesterday.

There’s been a lot of activity here this morning, some dog walkers, a chap fishing on the lake and what appears to be a hunting party.

There was also a couple of vans with hunting dogs go past, this place does remind me a little of Lake Crystal from Friday the 13th, I hope they’re not hunting for the local murderer!

Le nice spot

About an hour and a half after leaving Brive we arrived in Sanquinet, our home for the next couple of nights was an aire by the lake, there were a number of free bays / pitches but we decided on one that we probably weren’t allowed to park on.

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We parked up here because the view was really nice.

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As Lolly had rightly predicted, we weren’t allowed to park where we were, the lady who comes round to collect your 9 euros for the night made it quite clear in French it was not possible to stay there and we would have to move, annoyingly i’d put up all the blinds to keep the sun out and pretty much covered the front seats with all our stuff, I chucked it all in the back of the van and reluctantly headed back to where we should have parked.

What you can see in front of us is actually a lake, not the sea although it’s a sandy beach beside it, we spent the remainder of the day hanging in the sun, I read Lolly the final chapter of the Martian and we ventured out to find food. A few wrong turns later and we found the intermarche, beer, salad and few other bits and bobs were purchased, on the way back we grabbed a roast chicken from a rotissere store and munched our way through the sunset.

There was no shower facilities at this aire so I made one, many people got to see my bum..

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The problem with being next to a lake is mossies, they are everywhere, thankfully Lolly had packed mossie defences such as spray, smoke coils and a battery operated mossie defence thing, they all worked admirably, no bites.

Next day we ventured out on a canoe around the lake, we were gone for a couple of hours, saw some cows on an island and more tethered plastic birds than i’ve ever seen in any one place at any one time, we think it’s a bird watchers ploy to attract real birds as there were also what looked like bird watching hides..

Canoeing is knackering so after a couple of hours we retreated to the beach. We had a little walk about and found a suitable spot to eat our lunch and watch the world (paddle boards and catamarans) go by, we decided to come back for sunset.

More chicken and salad was on the agenda, i’d since moved the van to a better spot and on returning to it found an older but similarly coloured version of a camper van parked close by.

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We watched the sunset from the spot we found at lunch, it was peaceful and quite spectacular.

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I haven’t taken a selfie of us for a while so here’s one!

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Not long after this we returned to the van and crashed, early start in the morning, we’re on the way home, via montalivet, less than a week and i’ll be back at work, boo….

If you have a T4 camper and like us, a sink with a waste water pipe that goes straight out the bottom of the van and dumps your water wherever you are parked you might want to try this simple and affordable waste water catcher solution.

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Works like a charm, get a knife and cut a cross near the top of the neck of the bottle, that way you can pretty much fill it up without spilling any, seen a lot of europeans with T4’s doing this…