We left Dieppe and set off for a night at Saint Valery en Caux, which is only about 26km down the coast but has a cheap aire on the seafront. We arrived around 10am and was lucky that one person was just leaving. We got a spot looking out to sea.
To say it was cramped was an understatement! It was their Bank Holiday weekend, and it seems everyone had headed to the coast.
Once our side blinds were closed we could only see out of the front and had a great view….and it was only for one night 🙄.
We went to pay the €6 for the nightly charge but the machine wouldn’t accept any of our cards! Apparently only the French credit cards worked in it so we gave our next door neighbour the cash and he paid for us. They were charging €3 just to fill up with water. Pfft. Luckily we’d got enough on board to last us. Why some offer it for free and others charge I don’t know.
Anyway we set off, with our winter coats on, to explore the town. It was sunny and 16° but had an icy wind. The place was quite small but pretty. It had a large harbour and a small town square with a market. The huge cliffs were spread along the coastline and met with a pebbled beach and green sea.
If there definitely is an unwritten law that you can’t put chairs, tables etc out in the Aires then everyone ignores it. It was like a campsite so we got our chairs out and joined them.
We met an English couple just getting out of their motorhome and got chatting with them. They gave us some tips on motorhoming in France, and how to do it cheaply, as it was their 7th year they’d got plenty of experience. We’d put their tips to the test later.
We had an evening walk on the beach before retiring to the moho for the night. It’s not getting dark until late so we’re tending to stay up a lot later. We don’t have work the next day so why not 😊.
Up and off early the following day to our next port of call. The coastal spots are busy so we decided to head inland and stay on a free aire.
On our way we stopped off at a gorgeous little village called Veules-les-Roses. It had small canals running between the streets, that were decorated with colourful plants and flowers. The cottages were old and quaint, many with thatched roofs.
I bought a couple of new tops in a local shop, not that I need them but for €19 for a linen top I couldn’t resit. Haha. I wanted one and couldn’t decide on the colour so Kev encouraged me to get 2!
As we walked along the sea front we were just in time to see a local fishing boat and it’s crew untangling all their catch from the nets. Fascinating to watch. They then took it round the corner to a little market stall to sell.
On to our next place. We’d seen an aire that was free to stay on in Saint Nicolas de Bliquetuit (or saint Nicolas de biscuit, as Kev calls it). We knew it had no facilities, only parking so we followed up on one of the tips we’d been given by the English couple. My mum’s friend Chris also told me of this good tip. Thanks Chris 😘. We passed this church and stopped to find a water tap. It was just inside the gate! Haha. Tank 3/4 full we headed to the aire. We always carry a collapsible water carrier and this came in handy here. (Thanks Carol 😘)
The aire was a small car park overlooking the River Seine. It held about 12 motorhomes. There were 4 of us and we had the end spot. The sun came out, the temperature went up to 19 degrees so we donned our shorts, got the picnic table out and had a late lunch, al fresco. This was another tip…stay on free Aires to save money 😀.
We awoke early the following day, had breakfast and started on decorating the van. When we bought it, the units were all brown wood. We found it made it dark so decided to paint it. We’d got specialist furniture paint from Wilkinsons’ and we just needed to finish off what we’d started in England. I got some stick on tiles from Poundland to finish the cuoboards off. We love the new look.
We stayed 2 nights on this aire. There wasn’t much to do around it, but for what we needed it for, it was perfect, Paint the van and chill out. The fields surrounding it were a luscious green and we had the river in front.
As I climbed the ladders into bed that night (we sleep in an overcab bed, and it’s sooooo comfy) I was singing away to myself. “Come and get in this bed” he says quite lovingly. Then follows with “with your deep manly voice” 😣. You can only live in close quarters with someone that you get along with. Luckily I find him funny. 😉.
Our next port of call was Jumiéges, Normandy. Yet again another free aire. They really are set up in France for motorhomes. €3 for 80 litres of water and a free place to stay for the night. It was in walking distance of the village and the water. We looked out onto a little farmyard, the setting was perfect.
We decided to take a walk around the fields and head towards a lake. As we stepped out, it was colder than what I thought so I asked Kev to pass me my cardigan. He had his thin base layer in his hand that he was going to put on. “Bet you haven’t brought yours have you?” He said. “Yes I’ve got my blue one”, I replied. “Oh you mean the one that makes you look fat?” He retorted 😲. “I wore that all around in Patagonia” I said. “Yeah you looked fat in it there too!” Omg. I laughed but he is bloody cheeky. 😂
Walking through the fields he put his arm around my shoulders. “Look at the size of those cows” I said. They were very big, but cute at the same time. “I’ve got my own heffer here” he quipped as he leaned in to kiss me, whilst laughing. I bet you’re all wondering how he is still alive? 😂😂
The village was lovely with a very colourful Creperie, huge abbey and beautiful houses, with a style that seems to be all over Normandy. They have wooden beams on the exterior walls and look so olde worlde, yet modern at the same time.
After walking 18k steps we headed back to our home on wheels. We finished the day by watching a film. It had been recommended to us and we’d downloaded it to a USB stick to watch on the laptop. If you haven’t watched “Argo” I can highly recommend it. A true story of how they got hostages out of Iran. One of the lines from the film was “Argo..f*ck yourself” haha. We found it amusing and decided to use just “Argo” as a code word if someone was annoying us. 😮
I was climbing the ladders to go to bed and realised I had left my slipper socks on. “Do me a favour and take my socks off” I asked Kev, as I pointed my foot in his direction, whilst half way up the ladder. Can you guess his response? Yep…”Argo Tina” he said. I just collapsed laughing on the bed. 😂
The next point of our journey was to head on to Honfleur with a call in at a small riverside village called Pont Audmer on the way.
We parked up by the side of the river and ventured into the glorious sunshine. Someone had turned the heat up! 😎
Pont Audmer was a nice place to stop off but nothing to attract you to stay overnight. It had a large market that was spread down a long street but the French markets are nothing like ours. In the UK a market is cheaper than a supermarket. Not here, the produce is usually double the price! They do sell quality though.
We got to our aire in Honfleur at 3pm and found a spot that had spare electric points. It was €11 a night including services. When checking the ticket that the machine had given Kev we noticed that it wasn’t our credit card details on it, and it had the arrival time of 1.20pm. Seems someone had left their ticket in the machine. We checked our bank and no money had come off the card. Thank you very much. Free night again 😀.
Honfleur is a great place but extremely busy with tourists. We heard more English and Americans here than anywhere. I’d hate to think what it’s like in the height of Summer. The houses are yet again the same with beams on. Very “same same but different” as they say in Vietnam/Thailand . Nevertheless, they still have charm.
Being newbies at motorhoming abroad we didn’t understand the electric systems for campsites/Aires re wattage v amps. Kevin tried to heat the water via electricity and it blew a fuse. After checking on the Facebook group “Motorhome and Campervans UK” it seems you should only use the electricity for charging phones etc. It will also keep the fridge going. So after taking everything out of the wardrobe to get to the fuse box, we sorted it out and put everything back in the wardrobe, without tempers fraying 😂.
We like to explore around our base so took the local bus took Trouville and Deauville. They are very close took each other but one side is very chic with designer shops and posh restaurants whereas the other is more your normal seaside resort.
We finished our last night at Honfleur in a local bar watching the football final. There was was a funny Liverpudlian man in supporting his team and some French supporting Real Madrid (because their manager is French). We couldn’t have wished for a better crowd. Had a really good night. An Irish couple came in and the lady went to the bar to get served. The barman served someone else before her, or so she thought. She stormed out saying to her husband “I’m not having that, no one does that to me, let’s go!”. The Liverpuldian turned round and said “Your husband’s going nowhere, stop being a mardy arse and get yourself back in here” 😂. Everyone laughed, including her, and she came back in. He was hilarious and made our night. When Liverpool lost he apologised to us, before hand, and said he was going to “do him over outside”, talking about a French guy who was over excited about RM winning. He was laughing as he said it but his scouse accent made it sound more funny. …you had to be there 😅.
It had been scorching today, at 31 degrees, and the motor home was hot when we got back, even though we’d left windows open. I hope it doesn’t get much hotter or we’ll have a few sleepless nights 😳.
We move on today. We are take the Route de Cidre (Cider route) and we’re staying on a cider farm 😊. It’s part of the French Passions. You pay £26 for the year and can stay on local properties and businesses for free. There is no pushing to buy their produce, you just need to be self sufficient (own water, toilet etc). Think we may buy some of their produce though 😉🍺.
Tuesday we are staying on a campsite for a week and meeting up with friends in Dinard, Brittany.