From Arcachon and onward

Last week we had arrived at Arcachon, where we stayed for three nights. It was a very pleasant campsite, with fair to middling sanitaires. There were four washing machines and two dryers so by the time that we left, everything in the van was squeaky clean.

Direct access into the forest meant that Nell was more than happy with her particular lot.

As for ourselves, we walked into town a couple of times and found plenty to occupy us, though the proposed celebratory dinner morphed into crèpes for lunch.

Arcachon is a pleasant and quite upmarket seaside town with plenty of sandy beach. The weather was such that there were people out on the sands and we even sat on the front eating ice cream one day, watching the carousel turning in the sun.

The carousel filled me with instant joy the moment that I saw it. Even from a distance I could tell that it was a genuine old one and as we came closer and heard the organ music I do believe that I began to squeee. I even attempted to capture a video in order to share the full effect. Sadly, it failed to pick up the music.

The Parc Mauresque completely captured me and I was happy to stroll through more than once. It was fantastic to see the French out and about and using the park in an enthusiastic way that we tend not to see in the UK. There were many games of boules in progress on both afternoons that we passed trough, and quite a  few players eschewed the formal squares in order to play in the sunshine on the park pathways. This made negotiating a route quite challenging at times. The young people were in evidence on half day Wednesday too, some of them practising with their skate boards. All very charming.

I had discovered that the town sported a bridge construction and an observation tower, both of which had engaged the hand of Gustave Eiffel in his  early career. It is said that his work on the observation tower informed the later work on his better known engineering work in Paris.

Anyway, it was a glorious day when we came to it, far more clear than the previous day had been and I was minded to be brave. I actually climbed to the top despite the wobble and even managed to release my hands from the railings at the top in order to take photographs! I felt very pleased with myself and the view was certainly worth the effort.

One other thing that we will remember Arcachon for is the sighting of a column of Processionary Caterpillars. Nasty wee beasties.

By the time that we left Arcachon, the weather had warmed up somewhat and the overnight frosts had passed. 

Our next stop was at a beautiful lakeside aire at Gastes, where we stayed for two nights after stopping in Biscarosse first to collect our package.  We also had a Chinese lunch…

The aire lies next to a marina and a cycle path runs by, we were not short of walking for Nell. The village is small and what facilities it could boast were closed for the season, sadly. A Friday evening market consisted of one fruit and veg van and a mobile pizzeria.

By the campsite at Castets

After Gastes came Castets, where we are now on our third night.  The walking here is not so good but there is a space by the river that borders the site. A cycle route is about half an hour’s walk away. The small town boasts a cinema and a bar and also a rather pleasant restaurant, Les Forges, where we had dinner on Saturday evening.

That’s all from France for now. Tomorrow we hit the motorway and go take a look at Spain to see if we like it.

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