Glorious Gruissan

A long overdue update……

After our short stay in Germany and our dash to the sun and warmth of southern France we had arrived at Gruissan and a warm welcome from old friends David and Anne.

For those not fortunate to have been to Gruissan a short description might explain why we keep returning.

Gruissan

A street in the ‘old’ village of Gruissan

Gruissan from the hils

Gruissan, as seen from the hills

This ancient village is situated about 7 miles east of Narbonne on the edge of the sea. It is surrounded by a low lying landscape of étang’s, marshes and canals and has always been a fishing village. A large sandbank, now built on and accessed via a long causeway, almost cuts it off from the sea and creates a large calm lagoon. Some years ago a huge marina was constructed beside the old village and is now mooring for many hundreds of boats as well as apartments, restaurants, bars and shops. 

Masts a plenty

A forest of masts in the marina

There is an Aire de Camping-Car across the causeway and beside the enormous beach but our favourite is situated between the lagoon and the marina. Gentle and calm blue sea on one side, masts and rigging on the other. It is a large and very popular aire which always seems to have a good, laid back atmosphere.Called the Aire of the Four Winds (Aire des Quatre Vents) (GPS 43.10417º 3.09964º) it has the reputation, as the name would imply, of being very windy as cooler air rushes down from the nearby Pyrenees mountains to the south and the Massif Central to the north. This time however we just had gentle breezes off the sea to keep the temperatures comfortable for us northern Europeans.

We stayed for two glorious weeks and spent lazy days alternating between sun and shade, having lunches under the awning, then snoozing for much of the afternoon before a BBQ supper.

Fishing at sunset

Fishing for his supper at sunset

During an evening walk around the marina we bumped into another couple we had met and befriended several years before at Gruissan. Graham and Kath are very experienced motorhomers and we hadn’t seen or heard of them since our first meeting. It was great to see them again and as they also knew David and Anne we were forming our own little Brit community in our corner of the aire.

David and Anne are super keen cyclists and kindly invited me to join them on a few rides. Riding around that area is bliss. Warm weather, mostly flat countryside and cycle paths everywhere make it an absolute pleasure to go for a fairly gentle and sociable bimble without worrying about traffic. David did persuade me to accompany him up into the Montagne de la Clape though. ‘Mountain’ sounds impressive and scary when riding a bike but these are really just rocky, pine covered hills which lie behind Gruissan. David is one of those strange cyclists that actually enjoy climbing hills (Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas are others that come to mind) whereas I will definitely avoid them if at all possible. Still, what I might lack in leg power I can make up with electric power so why not have a go. Even with my battery assistance, when we reached the top and stopped, I was puffing like a knackered old steam engine while David showed no signs of the steep climb. 

Note to self: Must get fitter.

Anne & David. Cyclistes extraordinaire.

Anne & David. Cyclistes Extraordinaire

After two weeks we moved a short way inland to Homps, (GPS 43.26885º 2.71742º) a small village on the Canal du Midi. It’s another place we have been several times before and we always like the view across the canal to the traditional buildings and roofscapes of the village.

Homps

Homps

Canal du Midi

Canal du Midi

This time it was really hot though and without that cooling sea breeze we found it a bit too hot to be comfortable.

With the weather still looking good we left the Med and started a very slow plod north towards home.

Driving up the A75, probably my favourite road anywhere, we climbed up into the hills heading towards Millau. Just before the famous viaduct we turned west and down into the valley of the River Tarn before climbing back up and on to yet another favourite place.

Lac de Pareloup ( GPS 44.20027º 2.77601º)is a huge man made lake situated some 2,500 ft up in lovely countryside. The Aire de Camping-Car has been formed from the previous Municipal Campsite and still has electric hook-up and water on the pitches. The only real difference is that entry is by credit card operated barrier so there are no staff on site.

Pitch with a view

A pitch with a view

Due to the altitude the weather can be changeable and sometimes chilly, this time it was perfect. Despite it being a weekend the aire was not at all crowded but there was lots of activity to watch on the water. On Sunday the local sailing clubs were racing and we counted almost 100 boats out on the lake. The mass of white sails against the deep blue of the water was a beautiful sight under a cloudless sky.

Sails

A mass of sails

Evening calm

After the racing, evening calm

After four lovely days by the Lac we headed across the hills to rejoin the A75 and then north to the hilltop village of Montpeyroux, just south of Clermont-Ferrand.

The free aire (GPS 45.62493º 3.20109º) is part of the general parking for the village but there are water and dump facilities available. Water requires a jetton (token) from the Marie or Tourist Office.

After a stroll around the village we had a peaceful supper watching the light fade across the hills and the distant lights of villages below start to twinkle in the dark. It is a very pleasant and convenient place to stop for the night.

North again the next day and on to another favourite at Sancoins. The canal side aire (GPS 46.83404º 2.91575º) seems to become more popular every time we go there and this time, although we arrived in time for a late lunch, there was only one spot left on the canal bank.

Canal du Berry

The peaceful Canal du Berry

After three nights it was north again to La Mailleraye and another three nights by the Seine before our return home.

The World

Cruising the Seine in style

It had been six glorious weeks and just over 2,000 miles. Apart from a couple of tiny showers, which weren’t enough to even dampen the ground, the weather had been perfect. We had met lovely people and had perhaps the best holiday ever……………..until the next time.

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Here comes the Sun.

After a noisy Friday night of thumping music we left the Mosel and retraced our steps back past Luxembourg, then south on the A31 towards Metz, Nancy & Vesoul. The aire at Vesoul where we intended to stay was filled with some sort of event so we continued a little further towards Besançon and a small campsite a short way off the N57 at Cromary. 

Through narrow winding lanes and a couple of small villages we arrived at a small ACSI site tucked away under trees and in the middle of countryside. Camping Verterive is a pretty basic sort of site but is quiet and OK for an overnight stop. The 4amp electrics won’t allow you to go mad but did manage to drive the coffee maker in the morning so I got a few brownie points for that.

Back on the road again and continuing our dash to the sun we passed Bourg-en-Bresse on our way to Lyon. As usual I was intent on keeping off toll roads and the N436/A46 around Lyon was excellent. When the péage started we went onto the N7 with the intention of stopping for the night just south of Vaence. After a short distance of winding road, narrow streets through towns and 3.5 tonne weight limits I was hacked off enough to bite the bullet and admit that the motorway might be the better option. At the next junction we jumped on the A7, to hell with the cost.

We had already decided that we would head down to Narbonne but first a stop at Carro just west of Marseille, which is where the A7 leads.

We are used to almost deserted roads over much of France so it was a surprise to note just how busy the road was for a Sunday. The motorway was packed in both directions. However, most of the time we were bowling along nicely at 100kph and when we passed a sign saying “Marseille 240km” thoughts of another en-route stop were abandoned and we kept plodding towards the sea.

By late afternoon we were driving through the narrow streets and around the pretty harbour of Carro to the aire. (GPS 43.32932º 5.04050º) We were there in May and liked it very much despite the very strong winds at that time. This time there was just a breeze and wall to wall blue sky.

Payment, €9, is by CC at the entrance and includes water and dump. Pitches are marked out but quite narrow, just enough to open doors and lockers, forget C&MC spacings for fire risk.

Not a lot of space

Not a lot of space

but space in front

But room in front

The clue to the appeal of the aire is location, location, location. Right on the rocky shore with views directly out to sea in front, along the shore with lighthouses flashing from the side and overlooking the small harbour at the back, its a lovely spot.

View through the screen

Our view through the screen

 

A tranquil evening

A tranquil evening

No Comment

No comment!!!

After two days at Carro we headed west past Arles, across the Camargue and then south west. To save a large detour we once again joined the péage A9 between Montpelier and Narbonne.

Yet again we were arriving at Gruissan and the Aire des 4 Vents (GPS 43.10440º 3.09940º).

We drove round looking for a suitable pitch and became aware of frantic waving from a couple sitting outside their motorhome. It was David and Anne who we had met twice before at Gruissan. What a lovely welcome to one of our favourite places.

It looked like we might be staying for a while.

Sunset at Gruissan

Sunset at Gruissan

Advance into Germany.

We left Thieu on Monday morning and headed east, then south round Charleroi and on to the N5, leaving Belgium and back into France. Past Charleville Mézières and Sedan then following the River Meuse to Mouzon.

A pleasant enough small town with an attractive centre round a huge abbey church but looking rather run down at the edges, with a number of derelict factories beside the river.

Mouzon Aire

Mouzon Aire de Camping-Car

The aire though was excellent (GPS 49.60690º 5.07707º). There are 9 pitches, separated by shrubs and hedges with 16a electric and overlooking the canal. Beside the aire is a port office, which seems to have erratic opening hours, where you pay. The fee is €8 plus €0.20 tax per person, water and dump facilities are included. It was a peaceful spot to stop for a night.

Mouzon Aire 2

Mouzon Aire 3

Next day and we were heading east again towards Luxembourg. Bypassing the city we stopped for fuel at an immaculate  motorway service station where the fuel was the cheapest we have found for a long time. Apparently the fuel prices are the same everywhere in the country with no extra cost on motorways.

We stayed on the motorway past Trier then joined the 53 beside the Mosel to the stellplatz at Mehring. There are two stellplatz side by side, both on the river bank. We went to the first one, Mosel Beach, (GPS 49.79431º 6.81813º)  which has a bar/restaurant attached. The next door one is part of a Wine Cellar/Zellerhoff.

Mehring Stellplatz

Mehring Stellplatz and cycle path

After our first night in ‘row 2’ we moved to a riverside pitch when someone left the next morning. There were almost uninterrupted views of the river and boats passing up and down until an enormous river cruiser tied up in front and blocked the view completely. After a couple of hours it moved a bit further down and our view was restored. It seems that these cruise ships, with their flat tops I referred to them as ‘aircraft carriers’, tie up there almost every day. Their cargo of ‘wrinklies’ are disgorged to go off on coach tours and trips round the area. However, I suppose we shouldn’t complain too much about them spoiling our view for a few hours. We were paying €11 per night to look at a river cruiser but they were paying well over €1000 a week to look at our motorhomes on the bank.

Blocking out the view.

Blocking our view

River Cruiser

We strolled into the village and found the small supermarket to top up our supplies. After years of going to France with its rather scruffy and run down villages, the smart and well ordered state of the German one was quite a contrast. Modern and well designed houses, each with its very well cared for small garden, usually low maintenance with lots of gravel and ornamental grasses. It was all one expects of the orderly Germanic state of mind.

Future wine

Wine production

A Mosel 'Aircraft Carrier'.

A Mosel ‘Aircraft Carrier’

We were still uncertain about the weather. The early mornings were very chilly and the wooded hillside across the river was starting to visibly turn autumnal. Along the river bank contractors had been setting up a series of large marquees in readiness for a wine fest. On Friday night the fest got under way, but instead of the traditional German ‘oompah’ music we expected, pop music blared out. The constant ‘boom, boom, boom’ was still going strong at 2am. At 06.30am there was still music coming from somewhere.

What with cool autumn weather and blaring music most of the night,, we decided that our Mosel adventure could wait until another time. What we wanted was to extend the summer for as long as possible, so the obvious plan was to head, once again for the Med.

Germany Calling, Germany Calling.

For several years we have thought we would like to return to Germany, a country where we had several holidays in the early years of our marriage.

I remember driving our red Ford Corsair with its ‘go faster’ mat black bonnet, all the rage on rally cars in those days. We camped in a tiny two man ridge tent and cooked on a small Camping Gaz single burner. A few years later we went in a little more style in our rather luxurious silver Rover SD1, this time staying in hotels and Gasthof’s but still with a small tent in case of good weather. I don’t think the tent got used for more than a couple of nights. That must all have been over 40 years ago.

In the last few years, each time we have thought we might return, the weather looked better further south in France so that’s where we usually end up.

Another motorhomer on a forum had spent some time on the River Mosel earlier this year and enjoyed it so much they went back in August. He suggested a ‘rolling‘ meet with other forum members dropping in as and when their routes crossed. The Mosel has a huge number of stellplatz, similar to French aires de camping-car, all along its length and combined with lovely scenery is a popular destination. This was as good a reason as any to return to Germany after such a long time.

Right up to our departure we weren’t sure about the weather. After a lovely summer at home we weren’t ready to go into autumn yet and wanted to extend the sunshine and warmth as far and as long as possible. The winter months drag on far too long and any excuse to shorten them is fine with me.

After our usual late afternoon crossing through the tunnel we stopped the night at Cite Europe, stocking up on a few essentials, mostly of the liquid variety, at Carrefour. The following morning we headed north up the A16 before turning south east onto the A25, past Lille and crossing into Belgium. 

With all the current chatter and moaning about Brexit and border controls I was surprised to see that all the trucks were diverted off the motorway and into the large area that was once the border post and customs. I was under the impression that with Schengen there were no customs or border checks so why was every truck having to go through a check-point? All very strange and it makes you wonder why there is all the fuss about borders after Brexit.

Anyway, enough politics, back into holiday mode.

The A25 became the A27 and then on to the A16. We left the motorway at J29 and into Peruwelz and the Jachthaven Aire beside a canal (GPS 50.51893º 3.60754º).

Aire entrance

Entrance to the Aire and Capitainerie

Peruwelz aire

Peruwelz Aire

It is a rough gravelled area with canal on one side and boat moorings on the other and a very popular bar/restaurant next door. The friendly fellow from the Capitainerie looks after the site and collects the fees and will connect lecky if you want it. There is no drive over waste dump, the loo can be dumped down a manhole by the toilets and water is available if paying extra for electric hook-up. The chap has to open a cabinet for access to the tap. At €6, including hook-up, it was excellent value and a pleasant spot.

Peruwelz

Those Vulcans get everywhere

Those Vulcans get everywhere

Having heard horror stories about the state of Belgian roads we were pleasantly surprised at the smooth state of most of the motorway. There were one to two short potholed sections but when we went into Peruwelz we knew what people had been saying. Even with our air suspension we crashed and banged along the streets.

Next day it was back onto the A16 for a very short hop to the far side of Mons and the small town of Thieu. It’s an unexceptional town apart from it being on the Canal du Centre where the canal need to rise up over the hills. The engineers devised a series of four boat lifts to take barges up to the higher level.

Proper heavy engineering

Proper heavy engineering

Old lift No.1

Old lift No.1

At the top of the lift

At the top of the old lift No.1

These spectacular pieces of engineering are still in operation but now only for pleasure boats and tourist trips. Some years ago the canal was diverted and a new lift built to take the much larger modern barges up in one lift. It is a magnificent and spectacular piece of engineering.

The new lift

The new lift

The caisson to hold boats. The tiny boat in the middle is actually a good size cabin cruiser.

The caisson that holds the barges. The tiny boat moored at the side is actually a good sized cabin cruiser.

The free parking is on the canal bank on a large concrete apron close to the first of the old lifts.

Thieu parking

Free parking at Thieu

It’s not an aire and has no facilities at all but is very popular all the same. There is excellent cycling beside the new and original canal. We found it to be a very pleasant spot and stayed for 3 nights.

Our view

Our view

RIAT.

The Royal International Air Tattoo is the biggest UK military airshow and is held in July each year at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

We worked at the show as volunteers several times while working with Vulcan to the Sky but to say it was hard work would be an understatement. On site by 06.30 in the morning and not leaving until 20.00 after a day of crowds and the constant roar of jets, plus the hassle and bureaucracy of getting into the show ground. Now our Vulcan is no longer flying and we have retired from the airshow scene we can visit and enjoy the flying from a comfy lounger beside the motorhome outside of the airfield.

We stay on the C&MC rally field on the edge of the aerodrome and this year we were in a separate small field right beside the wire fence and with views of some of the parked aircraft and part of the runway.

DSC_0120

A Chinook parked by the fence

Show days are Friday, Saturday and Sunday but we arrived on the previous Tuesday to catch the aircraft arriving. We had been on-site for a matter of minutes when the BBMF Lancaster arrived from the RAF 100 flypast over London and after buzzing the airfield turned right above our heads to go downwind and land. A wonderful sight and sound.

City of Lincoln

The BBMF Lancaster “City of Lincoln”

What with aircraft arriving from all over the world and many of those needing to obtain their display authority, the days before the actual show are busy as pilots fly their displays to prove their skills to the CAA examiners.

The first day of the airshow, Friday, was dedicated to celebrating the RAF’s 100 years and one of the highlights was to be a large flypast of multiple types from all round the country as well as a large flight of Typhoons making the number 100 in the sky. After weeks of dry clear and settled skies the weather gods decided to spoil the party by sending thunder storms into the area at just the time the aircraft were assembling. It was a huge disappointment to everyone, not least the aircrews who had flown from all over the country, when the flypast had to be cancelled. Of course, as soon as the whole thing was called off the storms dissipated and the clouds moved away and the weather returned to ‘As you were’.

For us the days were spent sitting under the awning in the shade then going out to watch the displays which took place right above our heads. With the display commentary from the radio we were kept fully up to date and knew what was going on. It is a very comfortable way to watch an airshow.

Our camp

Our camp for the week

Watching the flying

A shady spot to watch the flying

Some of the highlights were the BBMF ‘Trenchard’ and ‘Trenchard Plus” formations, the tribute to 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron with the Lancaster, Tornado and the brand new F35 flying together and the amazing and rather creepy looking B-2 Spirit ‘stealth bomber’ which flew across the Atlantic, did one flypast accompanied by two F15’s from Lakenheath, before returning to America. Just how cool is that?

B-2 Spirit + 2 F15's

B-2 Spirit plus 2x F15’s

BBMF's 'Trenchard Plus' Display

BBMF “Trenchard Plus” formation

617 Sqn tribute flight

617 Sqn tribute formation. Lancaster, Tornado, F35 ‘Lightning 2’

Among the extremely loud fast jets which spent hours whizzing a few feet above our heads the prize for the noisiest must go the the new and very expensive F35. It is said to have the most powerful engine of any other jet fighter and it certainly creates the noise to prove the point.

F35 with Spitfire & Mustang

F35 with Spitfire and Mustang

It was great to catch up with some of our old Vulcan colleagues who came to visit and have a good natter. Much fat was chewed, gossip updated and friendships renewed.

The English summer played fair for once (apart from one mis-timed thunder storm) and we had a most enjoyable week among pleasant people. 

“Let’s do it all again next year” seemed to be the theme as we and our neighbours packed up to leave.

Red Arrows

The ever popular Red Arrows

A much delayed update

Ok, OK, I know the blog hasn’t been updated for ages but once again an acute attack of laziness overtook me. Once we got home the garden had reverted to a poor imitation of jungle and sorting that out plus the other necessities of life seemed to take over.

Meeting an old mate and fellow Vulcan Volunteer, ‘Shackers’, at RIAT I was forcibly reminded to get on and complete the blog. So here goes……..

Regular readers, if there are any left, might recall that we had got as far as the Canal du Midi at Homp after our drive south through the Ardeche and spending some time by the Med. at Gruissan. We were now starting to slowly head north and home.

Leaving Homp we drove through the extensive Minervois vines heading for Beziers and the A75 towards Millau. Just short of the Millau Viaduct we turned west and through the hills to Lac de Pareloup (GPS 44.20027º 2.77601º) and its lovely aire on the steep banks of the lac. We have been there several times and it is now firmly on our ‘favourites’ list. With the weekend approaching and good weather we expected the aire to be really busy but there was loads of room with only about 15 out of 70 plus pitches taken.

Lac de Pareloup aire

The almost empty aire at Lac de Pareloup

Pitch with a view

A pitch with a view

Evening storm clouds gather

Evening storm clouds gather

Lac de Pareloup is about 2500ft high in the hills and so the weather can be changeable to say the least. With thunder storms all around we were lucky to miss them all but after four lovely days the forecast started to look a bit dodgy so we continued our way north.

Our next stop was at a site recommended a couple of years ago by our caravanning friends Jenny & John, https://jennyandjohngocaravanning.wordpress.com.

Huttopia Camping

Campground Huttopia at Beaulieu sur Dordogne (ex Camping des îles. GPS 44.97957º 1.84196º) is on an island in the Dordogne and right beside the lovely old village of Beaulieu. The approach needs some care if you are in a high vehicle as not only do you need to negotiate the narrow street from the village centre but there is a 3m high footbridge at the site entrance. We just scrapped through, literally, as the satellite dish was just touching the wood work. There is another side entrance, which we later found, with has no restrictions. That entrance is off the D12 and past the Aire de Camping-Car under the high road bridge that crosses the river. (GPS 44.97738º 1.84196º) That gives you a back way in to the site.

Low site entrance

Beware! Low entrance.

It is a lovely, well cared for site, much of it under trees for shade but there are also open areas with plenty of sun. Our pitch was right beside the river and apart from the distant roar of water pouring over a weir, was very peaceful. Although we didn’t use any of the loos and facilities they all appeared to be of a very high standard.

Peaceful pitch

Our peaceful pitch beside the river.

A short walk through the site entrance and you are right in the middle  of the village with its medieval centre. Narrow cobbled streets and alleys, some entrered through stone arches, a huge 13th century abbey church, market square and plenty of bars and restaurants. The church was once part of a benedictine abbey around which the village was originally developed.

Entrance arch

Original entrance to the village.

 

Mellow stone and cobbles

Mellow stone buildings and cobbled streets.

Arches, towers and timbers

Archways, towers and timbers.

Elegant village square

An elegant village square.

Entrance to the abbey church

The impressive entrance to the abbey church.

Cross the footbridge over the river for lovely views of the Dordogne and another church that stands on the edge of the village with a string of attractive houses beside the water. It all makes an extremely scenic and photogenic picture. There are plenty of benches on both sides of the river to rest on and enjoy the views.

Riverside church

Lovely old riverside church.

Atractive group of riverside houses

An attractive group of riverside houses.

Gabare moored on the river

A gabare moored on the Dordogne.

As I mentioned before, there is an Aire de Camping-Car just outside the site and along side the ‘back road’. It looked pretty basic with a pay machine and not much in the way of views. OK if you just want to visit the village but I would rather pay a few more euros and enjoy the site which takes ACSI cards and so isn’t too expensive out of high season.

After three nights at Beaulieu we only had a week of our trip left so we continued north. Across country to join the A20 motorway, past Limoges and Chateauroux and then onto the D2020 to Salbris and Camping de Sologne. (GPS 47.43025º 2.05475º)

This pleasant site is set beside a lake with a short walk round the lake to the village for morning croissants from the excellent boulangerie by the bridge. This is another ACSI site and there is always a warm welcome from Christine who runs the site with her husband. The weather was lovely so we spent three days enjoying the sun and moving under a shady tree when it got too hot.

Lakeside pitch

Our lakeside pitch.

With just a few days remaining we continued north and back to La Mailleraye-sur-Seine for a couple of nights and then to Cite Europe for our last night before getting the train home next morning.

We had a terrific  six weeks and had driven for just over 2,000 miles through France. We met up with good friends and enjoyed weather from snow to hot sun.

Must do it all again soon.

Head for the Med

Day 15 of our trundle and we were heading over the high hills towards the Ardèche.

We started in drizzle and rain and when we hit the real hills we were at over 1,300m high and in thick cloud. Last time we used the N102 to Aubenas it was a hot sunny day and we were climbing from east to west, this time it was dull and damp and the spectacular scenery just didn’t look quite the same.

We were going to Camping Beau Rivage, just outside of Vallon Pont D’arc, to meet up with our caravanning friends Jenny and John. We don’t often use sites but I have to say this was an excellent choice.

It’s not a huge site but it is one of the best cared for that we have seen. Everything was immaculate with the hedges and shrubs clipped to within an inch of their lives. The family that own the site are extremely friendly and all the pitches are a good size. Our pitch was right at the front overlooking the river and was good value for the ACSI price of €17, including 10a hook-up.

Reflections on the Ardèche

Reflections on the Ardèche

We spent five nights at Beau Rivage and very much enjoyed a couple of days with our friends in their car driving round the winding roads beside the Ardèche and up into some of the old hill villages.

Ardèche

Canoes on the Ardèche

Canoes on the Ardèche

Aiguèze

Aiguèze

Lunch

Lunch

Vinezac

Vinezac

Chassiers

Three wise monkeys

Three wise monkeys

L'Ardèche

L’Ardèche

Once again the changeable weather played its part and we had a very wet weekend. As a little compensation it was the Spanish F1 GP that weekend and as the Ch4 reception was borderline with the heavy rain we watched the race live on German RTL TV with the commentary via BBC Radio 5 over the internet. Only problem was the radio commentary was about 6-7 seconds later than the pictures which made for frustrating viewing.

Evening calm

Evening calm on the river

On the Monday we said goodbye to our friends and headed south to try and find some Mediterranean sun. I had seen photos posted by other motorhomes of the aire at Carro (GPS. 43.32932º 5.04050º), between Marseille and the Camargue.

Carro 2

Rough sea at Carro

The popular aire is right by the rocky beach with the small harbour behind. There are about 80 marked out pitches and entrance is via a credit card barrier which is €9 per night. There are lovely views out to sea if you manage to get at the front as we did and views over the harbour at the rear. In the strong wind the sea was rough but the windsurfers seemed happy enough and were out on the water until it was too dark to see much.

Carro

View from the aire

Carro harbour

Pretty harbour at Carro

After two nights we partly retraced our steps with a lovely drive over the Camargue towards Montpellier then down the A9 to Narbonne and our frequent haunt of Gruissan.

As usual it was windy when we arrived but the weather forecasts were saying that the wind would drop the next day and it would remain sunny.

Gruissan village

The old village of Gruissan

We quite expected the aire at the marina to be busy and were surprised to find it almost empty. That allowed us to find a nice quiet corner spot where we could spread ourselves out a bit without intruding on anyone else. Sure enough, the next day the wind dropped, the sun was out and that started a week of perfect weather. As the Pentecost holiday weekend approached the aire soon filled up and by Saturday night it was packed. Tucked up in our corner we were OK except for the constant loud nattering of our French neighbours who seemed to have a continuous stream of family come to meet them. Gawd, those Frenchies can jabber!! Still it’s all part of holidaying in France.

Wine o'clock

Wine o’clock

After a lovely week  at Gruissan we drove a short distance inland to Homps on the Canal du Midi.

The aire de Camping-Car really is just a piece of scruffy and often muddy waste land but is beside a lovely village and on the bank of the canal. There are no facilities apart from rubbish and recycling bins so you need to have water on board and empty waste tanks. It is though, a peaceful and pleasant place to watch folk messing about on boats and to walk beside the canal or through parkland to the nearby lake.

More to come…………….

Homps

Canal du Midi at Homps