Covid had prevented us from visiting our favourite caravanning destination, France, so it was with great anticipation and excitement that we hitched up the caravan for the long journey down the M27 to Portsmouth.
We took an overnight crossing to St Malo and then a days’ drive to the île d’Oléron where we were to meet up with our friends Kevin and Maggie, whomoved over to France before the pandemic to start a new life!
It was a lovely place to celebrate my birthday, plenty of great seafood and quaffable wine!
However I did get a bit of a surprise when I ordered a glass of red wine! (A ‘vin rouge’ for those who don’t speak French!)
After 4 days of taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of the seaside we headed inland to see Kevin and Maggie’s new place in the heart of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine countryside. The nearest town is Melle.
It’s huge, and there was plenty of room to park our caravan for the next part of the trip.
One of our day trips took us to Verteuil-sur-Charente where Kevin had seen James Martin (the T.V chef) trying some of the local delicacies. One in particular was the brioche, which we sampled along with a cup of coffee on the banks of the river. It was unlike any other brioche we had tasted, similar in consistency to lardy cake and absolutely delicious.
We had a walk around the charming town before meeting up with a couple of Kevin and Maggie’s friends and having a lovely long lunch at a local bistro (not the one pictured) which we later found out was run by an Englishman.
We did a fair bit of al fresco dining whilst we were here. Kevin has a healthy appetite and loves to cook. One of his favourite dishes is pizza and he has a small pizza oven outside in the “hanger” just in case anyone is passing and fancies a quick hot and spicy! Here we are in the lovely outside open barn area (the “hanger”)!
Another day trip took us to Cognac, a lovely town to visit. Neither of us like brandy so the only bottle I purchased was a chilled water! The park was very peaceful and wouldn’t have normally been a place we would visited if it hadn’t been for looking for a geocache!
It looks like Maigret is in town!
Kev’s reputation amongst the expat community has spread far and wide, and he volunteered his services (and mine!) to provide evening sustenance at a local wedding!
It didn’t seem like long before we were heading back to St Malo for our return crossing We had a little heart-stopping moment when the satnav took us down a VERY narrow road on a peninsula It was so narrow that I had to unhitch and turn the caravan around using the motor mover…….just the thing you don’t want after an eight hour drive!
We always like to spend a couple of days close to the port before going home as it’s such a fascinating place with so much to see.
We, or should I say I, even found time for a little bit of geocaching in the boat graveyard!
The gardens of a nearby Chateau were free for us to wander around and admire all the wild flowers
St Malo is a beautiful walled town that is often bypassed by people driving off the ferry and continuing on to their ultimate destinations. We love it and are always greeted by great views when we stroll along the ramparts.