Travelling in France – Baie de la Somme

The Baie de la Somme has been a regular feature of our trips to France over the years. Just a few hours drove from the Calais ports it often provides a first night of relaxation before heading into the more challenging regions of southern France or Northern Spain.

On this occasion we arrived mid-afternoon on a Thursday at our preferred aire in Le Crotoy. The books described this site as ‘Le Crotoy 1’ because there is another aire at the far extent of the town. Our choice hosts more than a hundred motorhomes some of whom have a stunning view of the bay and across to St Valery some12 km away by cycle path

The site provides a ticket machine (€7 per night in 2017) and a ‘Euro Relais’ stand for fresh water, waste disposal and, if necessary, power.

Acres of space mean that units are not squeezed together and the approach to alignment and to tables, chairs and sunshades is typically French laissez faire. The ground is rock-hard packed sand in the middle but the edges which are highly prized pitches have some grass and, in the wet season, some mud. Clearly it had rained recently in the following picture and one young French boy a,used himself for hours cycling through and then scooping up mud to hurl in every direction while keeping up a running conversation with himself and his imaginary friends.

Once the amusement palls it is time to head into the village, a few minutes walk away along a well formed path at the side of the small marina. One of the attractions of the site is the plethora of wildlife, particularly birds which crowd every area and entertain the passers by with their calls.

The village provides everything the visitor could want including a good tourist information centre but excluding post boxes. We struggled to find one single postbox on our walk through the village and back along the coast paths but, as the French would undoubtedly say, ‘tant pis’. There are restaurants to numerous to mention, all providing a sumptuous feast of fish and crustacean delights from produce caught and landed each morning. After dining well you cold enjoy a leisurely walk along the paths and alleys coming across a wide variety of interesting hotels and turreted homes. There is even a Pierre et Vacance centre jut at the other end of the village.

The lasting image, as you head back to your well-appointed accommodation, is of the sun setting over the bay and gleaming off the water.

The bread man arrives early each morning and circles the aire tooting his horn and inviting you to supplement your cornflakes with a warm baguette or croissant. Your memory, as you pack off and head further into your vacance, is inevitably going to be of the beautiful scenery and quiet relaxation and your plan the inevitably return as soon as possible.

All the Aires Book, Northern France N 50.13.094 E 001.37.992.

Travelling in France – Saint Jean de Luz

Every few days we find ourselves a ‘proper’ campsite so that we can charge our batteries, refill our tanks and, most importantly, have a shower. Now, of course, our Tribby has a shower but since the bathroom is approximately the same size as me and any shower curtain instantly takes on the properties of industrial clingfilm if a drop of water touches it. I have showered in extremis but because the curtain doesn’t quite fit I was treated to howls of concern as water leaked out below the door into the main corridor between the bedrooms and the main dining room.

For this reason we decided to ignore our planned destination – the Aire at Hendaye – in favour of Flower Camping’s campsite at Saint Jean de Luz. We have used FlowerCamping many times before and find their sites relaxed and welcoming. The one at Saint Jean de Luz is typical, long and sprawling paralleling the beach just yards away and with the tightly packed pitches you will see all over southern France.


Because we hadn’t booked and because the site is always ultra-busy we spent the first night in a grassed parking spot by the entrance barrier before being moved on to a proper site for the next two nights. It’s nice there if you like to interact with the rest of the world as they pass by some few inches from your chair and smiling at your second glass of wine.

One thing to be aware of is that if you go outside school holidays then you will still find it buzzing with children but mostly of toddler age. This can either be charming or infuriating depending on your point of view. Certainly don’t expect a peaceful lie-in listening to the roar of the waves as they crash onto the sand.

You can find more detail of the campsite here and of the resort here.

Camping CarParks – Evreux

We had decided to abandon the Aires de Camping temporarily to try out another of the Camping Car Parks network of mini sites. These are immaculate small sites of between six and twenty pitches usually including electrical hookup and even wifi in the price of around €9 per night. All are protected by key-entry barriers, the key being your membership card which can be topped up either online or at the entry point. The one at Evreux is by the banks of a small river less than five minutes walk from the town centre.


You may notice a small flower bed behind the Tribby. We found this to be a small herb garden provided free for us to use by local volunteers who have their own Facebook page.


Evreux offers free herbs to campers.  The site is popular with British van owners and each pitch shows the maximum vehicle length, making it easy to park. We never found it full but vehicles arrived and departed regularly during the day.



Evreux will be lovely… when it’s finished! The whole town is dug up. With massive works around the canal basin. Despite this the town has charm as a university seat of learning, filled with bright young things dashing around putting the world to rights.


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Evreux sits astride the river Iton and has been recognised since medieval times as a seat of learning particularly by the Jewish faith.   Its sons became kings of Navarre and essentially rulers of most of the Normandy region.


More information: Camping CarParks.  64 boulevard de Normandie  N49°01’23.0″ E1°08’18.9″ €9.20/24h