Following our journey through France in “b”. We headed on to La Rochelle for a couple of nights then to Il de Ré.
What a great little place this is. It offers beaches, a huge harbour and lots of little streets filled with shops and the obligatory cafés and restaurants. Jet2 fly here from Leeds Bradford airport, and probably others too. I would definitely recommend it somewhere to come for a city break, with the benefits of the beach.
Il de Ré
Just a short distance from here is the Island called Il de Ré (well…. it now has a bridge to its not officially an island). It costs €16 to drive onto the island. A bit cheaper than the €27 some fellow travellers paid in Norway to cross a bridge! 😮 We were planning on staying for 2 nights. In the Aires book it wasn’t showing any that were free, but Kev managed to find one on Google maps and it has services (water and waste disposal). We left La Rochelle with an empty tank of water so needed some as soon as we got to the Island. Just our luck that when we got there, the aire had no services at all! The only water we had was bottled drinking water. We parked up and headed to the beach to see if there was a water point. There was nothing there so walked along the beach to the village to get a baguette. We were getting like the locals with our consumption of crusty bread 😉.
We couldn’t survive the day without water so I took our large water carrier and went in search of some. I ended up being cheeky (who me, being cheeky? 😉😂) and asking a local, who was stood in his garden, if I could have some water. He didn’t speak English and I’d been learning/refreshing my French, but icd managed to convey what I wanted and he obliged. Before leaving with my water carrier filled to the brim, he said if I needed another to come back. Five minutes later in was walking back in his garden with my empty water carrier. Haha. You have to be cheeky sometimes. 😊
The village of Saint Martin was similar to the other small villages. Old buildings with painted wooden shutters, flowers and plants outside windows and doors and windy narrow streets, with old fashioned lights hanging from the sides of the buildings.
On some grass just outside the centre of town was some donkeys, the likes of which I’ve never seen before. They had dreadlocks 😂. Cute in an ugly sort of way.
Our second night was spent at Ars en Ré. The aire was quite big and we found the service point so we could empty our black waste (toilet) and grey waste (shower/washing water). There was a man washing a frying pan at the water point and was stood where we needed to drive on!! I asked him if he could move over so we could pull onto the service point, (There was a pavement he could stand on). The look he gave me 😕. He started twittering in French then moved to the side. He was still standing on the service point and Kev needed to empty the toilet cassette, so he had to ask him to move as well. He wasn’t a happy French man. He walked back to his motorhome (where he should have been cleaning his pan anyway) twittering away in French.
The only free space for us to park was near him 😣.
Seems he wasn’t happy at all. It’s at times like this when I wish I was fluent in the language. I heard him telling his wife I was a “vache” (cow). Later in the evening he’s sat outside his motorhome watching the French football game against Belgium. We were sat outside too and could see his TV. He (to put it crudely) farted really loud, laughed and said “Anglais” (English). He must have been in his 50’s. Talk about childish. I didn’t say anything and Kev didn’t know what he’d said as I’d not told him. If he knew he’d have had a go at him.
We took a walk to explore the area. It didn’t have much to offer but the beach was nice and it had some cornfields. They looked lovely and Kev said for me to take a photo of them, golden against the blue sky. He then said “I could drag you round them with your feet so your fat ass could make patterns in the field, that’d make a better photo then” 😅.
Our next visit was to a place called Angoulins sur Mer. Only a small place and the aire was just grass with rubbish bins, that they charged €5 to stay on..the good thing..there was a campsite 2 mins walk away that had a bar where we could watch the England semi final football game. The beach was a short walk from here too.
I’d bought a beach bed that you capture the air in and roll it up and then you can lay on it on the beach or in the sea. It took me a while to get the hang of filling it…..turning round in circles, walking towards the wind etc. I finally filled it, put it on the beach and carefully sat in it. I can’t have put it level as I tipped sideways, legs in the air and covered in sand! Kev thought it was hilarious 😁.
As we walked around the bay you could see the school children having catamaran/paddle board lessons. It must be great to live near the ocean and have these as part of the curriculum.
As everyone is aware England lost and didn’t go through. So many people were proud of them for getting to the semi’s. I think luck had more to do with it than skill lol. They played against the easier teams and as soon as they were put against a decent team they lost! Croatia fought hard and won….and deserved to.
It wasn’t such a disappointing night though. I asked the guy behind the bar if he had WiFi I could use. He gave me the code, I set 7 episodes of Orange Is The New Black to download from Netflix, and asked if I could charge my phone whilst the match was on 😁. After the game finished, my programmes had downloaded and my battery was on 100%. See what I mean a bit being cheeky? The barmaid even forgot to charge me for 2 drinks..bonus! Haha who said Yorkshire people are tight? 😂😂🤔
We decided to stay in Angoulins for 2 nights, but we were getting worse at at not wanting to pay for Aires that didn’t have any services. Cars could park for free but motorhomes had to pay. Why?
The following morning we were up and off for 7am, before they came to collect the money. Haha. We didn’t feel too bad cos a German guy went just before us and a couple from Castleford (also in Yorkshire) went at the same time as us! 😂
We’d been told that Fouras was a lovely place and worth a visit so we arrived at 8am and went to the aire. It was very quiet with only 3 motorhomes there. They were charging €8.20 and again the cars could park for free 😠. We parked on the side of the road and went to explore. Neither of us were enamoured with the place so we bought some bread and drove off. That’s the beauty of not planning where to go or stay. If we don’t like somewhere we move on. I didn’t even take a photo of the place, that’s how much I liked it 🤔.
The next place of interest was Rochefort. It was a quiet aire, close to the town with services and only €4.10.
The town itself was OK, we walked around the maritime area that had a huge pirate ship that you could look around for €10…….it looked nice from the outside 😉.
The town centre was full of shops, cafes etc and was pleasant to walk around but again it’s not somewhere I’d enthuse over. Everything was too spread out.
It was red hot and I’d asked Kev to rub some sun lotion on my back, as I couldn’t reach. He rubbed it in so roughly that I nearly lost my balance! I told him not to forget my fat bits (near my arms). “I haven’t got enough lotion to do all your fat bits” he said. He really is cheeky. I’m not thin but I’m certainly not as fat as what he paints me!
When I say something to wind him up, I get called all the “fat, ugly f*ckers” he can think up. When we’re getting ready for bed on a night and I’m getting changed he’ll screw his face up and say “Jesus! Can you warn me in future” 😲.
If, on the rare occasions, he does say something nice to me he’ll pretend to spit, to get the bad taste from his mouth 😝. He always fishes off with a cheeky grin or a laugh and that makes me laugh.
We didn’t know where to go from Rochefort so Kev looked at the Michelin road atlas, found a place we liked the sound of, looked at Google images and set off!
La Palmrye, on the Atlantic Coast, was great. We both loved it. The aire was €12 a night but we bit the bullet and paid for 2 nights. It was surrounded with trees, close to the beach and the town.
The French take the mickey with the Aires. You’re supposed to just park. No tables or chairs out, no washing hanging out, no awnings etc. Well they take up 1.5 spaces and set all the garden furniture up outside and put their awnings out. The second night we decided to join them! Haha.
It was the cup final today and we found a bar that was showing it. It wasn’t football fans that were watching it so it didn’t have much of an atmosphere. It was just ‘Joe public’ waching their country play football. It was full and everyone had the flag painted on their face and they cheered but there was no excitement. It was baking hot and we were stood up drinking beer, at €6 a pint, whilst burning the backs of our legs and back in the searing heat.
The day was finished off with a swim in the sea at 7pm to cool off. Tomorrow we move on……where to? We’ll work that out tomorrow. 😀