Month: <span>September 2017</span>
Month: September 2017

Week 4: Finally, France

The drive from Huntingdon down to Folkstone began in less than promising fashion. It was raining and the traffic was slow, tailing back from roadworks. The sun did emerge eventually. We wanted o get the M25 over and done with before stopping. Services were few and far between thereafter and we were not far from Canterbury, so we did not stop at all until we reached the park and ride.

We had lunch at the nearby pub and serviced the van and killed time until we could set off for Folkstone, where we were  moved up the queue and caught the 20:50 hrs shuttle.

Waiting to be called at Folkestone terminal
Farewell to Blighty

We were on the other side almost before we knew it and took the brief ride to Cité Europe where we parked with seemingly dozens of other vans in the car park.

We took advantage of our proximity to Carrefour in the morning and bought a few supplies before setting off for Boulogne-sur-Mer.

The Friterie van across the road provided our lunch of frites and mayo and, fuelled up, we set off to walk into town.

I loved the beach huts.. very “French”

We were looking for a Pharmacy as it appears that off the counter remedies are not a thing in French supermarkets.  Pharmacies don’t appear to be all that common either as we failed to find one.

I was very taken with this monument and the bird upon it

our Carrefour purchases provided a delicious evening meal.

a Special Offer that could not be refused

On Wednesday we left Boulogne and on spotting an Intermarché on the edge of town, we called in for more supplies.

Vincent at the supermarket

Our destination was a  France Passion site not far distant. We wanted to take a scenic route (and it was, very) so turned off Motorways and Toll roads on the satnav. This resulted ultimately in our being routed round a single track road with no passing places but plenty of ditches. We met the school bus coming the other way. He appeared to desire us in the nearest ditch. 

It was a relief to arrive at Les Vergers de Brunembert, where we had a very pleasant stay and fully sampled the produce before moving on to Montreuil-sur-Mer on Thursday for a two night stay on the free Aire there.

We had a fabulous time in Montreuil, which is actually nowhere near to the sea any longer. It is an attractive  historic town within walls which can be walked in a complete circumnavigation. The weather was wonderful and we were able to take full opportunity of walking on the ramparts and indeed without the walls, where a leafy green area surrounds the town. This area can be accessed directly from the Aire, which is a positive bonus for travelling canines. Nell was a happy dog indeed.

A short drive on Saturday took us to Rue and our first French caravan site. We booked in for two nights at Camping de la Maye.

Rue is another pretty town but not at the same level as Montreuil.


and that was our first week in France.

Snail Spaces: Camping de la Maye (Caravan Site)

A peaceful caravan site on the edge of Rue, conveniently located opposite a Carrefour supermarket and a short stroll into town. Rue is another pretty town, though not in the same league as nearby Montreuil.

The site is ACSI approved and a member of the ACSI Camping Card discount scheme. Touring pitches are interspersed between static caravans and are on grass, which is not particularly level or smooth but are pleasantly screened by hedges.

The whole site has an air of gentle neglect, with the grass being quite lengthy and the hedges not in the least manicured. This is not necessarily a bad thing in my book… so long as the important facilities are in good shape.

Electricity is 6amp. We paid 30 Euros after discount for two nights with a dog plus a 3 Euro Tourist Tax.

The facilities block looks smart enough at an initial glance  but a broken skylight and damaged floor in the dishwashing area might be taken as hinting to a general lack of upkeep.

There are separate Male and Female facilities, with special provision for Disabled and Babies. External dishwashing facilities and a laundry room with one washer and one dryer. Both are sturdy high capacity machines. A wash is 5 Euros, with detergent supplied and a dry cycle costs 4 Euros. My washing took 36 minutes. The dryer gave more than the 30 minutes that we were told when we enquired. I think perhaps more like 45 minutes. Sufficient to dry a king size flannelette duvet cover with two pillowcases and some othe ritems. really dry. Snuff dry. My best ever camp site drying experience in fact, so perhaps not as expensive as it at first seemed to be.

Showers are push button delivery. The water was just about hot enough. The shower trays are sunken within the cubicle but there is no curtain to protect clothes and shoes from wetting, just a narrow screen which offers a shelf for toiletries. The floor became very wet and with nowhere to sit down, it was impossible to dress without getting trousers soggy,

The toilets are of a seatless type and somewhat off-putting to an English bottom. Toilet paper is not provided so be sure to take your own supplies. The toilets themselves were badly stained and not at all pleasant to those of  us used to squeaky clean club sites.

Dogs on lead on site but there is a green lane close by where we could exercise Nell off the lead. In town there is a green avenue by the Lycee where she could also have a good play.

Last Visited: September 2017 (unlikely to return)


Snail Spaces: Montreuil-sur-Mer (Aire)

An 8-pitch purpose built Aire with hard standing and attractive planting is situated just outside the town wall in a quiet residential area and adjacent to the car park that supplies the Motorhome servicing via a single borne and a superloo.  The car park was previously the Aire and now acts as an overflow area as the location is an extremely popular one. There were over two dozen vehicles in total on our first night.


the overflow on Saturday morning

The car park does double duty as the school bus station and there are large and clear signs prohibiting Motorhomes in the  car park between 16:00 and 18:00 hours and at lunchtime on Wednesdays.

They mean this!

It is easy to see why there is a prohibition, there are large numbers of children milling around and perhaps 8 buses using the space, Yet so many drivers seem to find themselves immune to the notice.

On both days that we were on the Aire we saw the local Gendarme turning vans off the car park. Where drivers were not at home, tickets were issued.

The Aire is a short stroll from the main square in town, where Bars, Boulangeries, Charcuteries etc. abound. There is a Carrefour Contact store and a wonderful Fromagerie. We found a Launderette within lugging distance and a lovely Salon du Thè specialising in marvellous patisserie.  There is a Saturday market in the square and this also applies pressure to the overflow parking area.

I could happily have stayed forever but the Aire is restricted to 48 hours parking.

Free but drinking water costs 2 Euros.

Last visited September 207


Snail Spaces: Les Vergers de Brunembert (France Passion)

Les Vergers de Brunembert is a small Orchard and Dairy farm, producing cider and cheese products. Up to five vans can be accommodated in a small orchard area, parked beneath the trees. A farm shop is open 09:00 to 19:00 seven days a week. Some English is spoken and a warm welcome given.

The location is highly rural and  very quiet. The farm itself is very pretty.

Our spot for the night was in a small orchard, parked beneath the apple trees, where we were joined later by a van from Belgium.

We bought Cider and Cheese for our supper

There was plenty of walking on quiet lanes for Nell. 

In the morning we returned to the shop to say goodbye and to purchase some honey.