That’s it, I am definitely getting old, the winter cold is getting to me. I am sitting here dreaming of the days when I will be writing this blog in the sun soaked fields of Orchard View Farm where my mind blissfully slips away into a dream-like state allowing me to deliver my best. That’s not to say this won’t be as I have decided to focus on my second home, a country I spend my holiday time in, France for this month’s blog.
I cannot go any further however without updating you on the arrival of our 2018 GlamperRVs. I mentioned previously how excited we were when they first arrived off the production run but now they are painted, stickered and decked out with all the fabulous trimmings I am quite overwhelmed. I guess it is a bit like those who convert a wreck of a house, the before and after pictures are remarkable – this is certainly no ordinary motorhome! If you want a peak for yourself the photos are on our Facebook page (facebook.com/GlamperRV).
So onto the land of wine and cheese! With so many customers heading to France this year and many asking for recommendations of where to visit/where to stay this blog is the perfect opportunity to help them out by giving some personal insight into my favourite regions coupled with some fabulous overnight spots.
My husband’s family is from Vendee, a little know region compared to its popular neighbour, Brittany however it is home to some of the finest coastline and probably one of the most tasteful amusement parks in Europe (I know many of you will wonder if those two words can go together but believe me, Puy du Fou has to be experienced).
Our preferred route to the west coast is to meander down the traffic free autoroute from Calais, stopping off in one of the pretty Normandy ports – Honfleur, Deauville and St. Malo are all worth a visit and like most French towns have motorhome aires (parking areas) bang in the town centre. For a more direct, albeit pricier route we occasionally splash out on the overnight Brittany Ferries cruise to St. Malo – it shaves off a few hours driving time and the younger members of our family love to indulge on the on-board dessert buffet!
So back to Puy du Fou, what makes it so special? It creates an incredible journey through time with a wide range of shows and experiences which touch the hearts of all visitors. The shows are truly breath-taking from the frenzy of the Roman Circus in the incredible Gallo-Roman Stadium to Cinéscénie, a night time show involving 2,000 actors on a stage spread over 23 hectares with 24,000 costumes. Just one look at the website and you will realise that to make the most of Puy du Fou you will want to visit over a couple of days and in typical French style this is no problem for campervan owners, a special parking area with everything you need is available on site for just 7 euros a night!
So once you have visited this attraction I would suggest heading over to Vendee’s coastline which extends from Noirmoutier in the North, an island only accessible by road during low tide and a quieter alternative to the Parisian enclave of Ile de Re, down to La Rochelle in the South. The stunning beach and port of Les Sables D’Olonne is equidistant between the two and as home to France’s off-shore yachting industry is always buzzing.
As a farming region France Passion, the French equivalent of Brit Stops, has many farms in Vendee on which you can stay overnight. These are definitely worth exploring – some have more facilities than others but you will certainly be guaranteed something different from the standard campsite and at many the owners will have local produce to sample.
Another region close to my heart, at the other side of the country is the Les Alpes Maritimes – I have visited regularly since the early ‘90s and has a strong pull for both winter and summer sunshine although due to its popularity I would not recommend a long stay in the summer months especially if you fancy being near the coast. This is an incredible region for action sports with many of the world’s top cyclists using it as a training base, for art lovers with an abundance of galleries and also families with a wide range of top notch attractions.
One of my favourite with young children is Le Bois des Lutins, a totally charming, original adventure playground with netted walks high up in the trees, linking tree-houses and platforms alongside the slides and tunnels which are great fun for children and adults alike. Situated in the woods it makes a great day out even on the hottest days.
Whilst researching this piece I came across a great blog full of great ideas for family adventures in the region – I have been to many and agree with the author’s comments – https://www.loumessugo.com/en/blog/entry/top-10-things-to-do-with-children-on-the-cote-dazur
If you are considering where to stay I would recommend campsites away from the coast – Camping du Brec comes highly recommended from a previous customer and is situated in a stunning landscape beside a sparkling, private lake and whilst big on facilities, it has a refreshingly uncommercial presentation.
Do take a look at the links at the end of this blog where you will find many other great overnight suggestions. One thing is for sure in France, you will never be far from a good overnight spot, such is their love of the ‘campingcar’.
Useful links for finding overnight spots in France and previous related blogs: