A Travellerspoint blog

May 2017

Three go to France 17

Day 1 Part 1

Up early and the car packed. We were actually earlier than planned.

No queues at check-in, allocated Train V, and we were in the dog play area for Reggie to run about.

But as usual with Eurotunnel the timetable goes out of the window. And once again we sat in the queue for an additional 30 minutes.

The 1050 I booked had morphed into the 1049 on check-in, and then the 1114.

At 1036 they announced the retimed 1041 (not its real time as it is Train U) was full and the overspill on the next train.

Let's see if we get away before 1200?

And so it was. Our train finally chugged out of Folkestone at 1154.

FR17 - Updates

Sadly the lack of wifi for most of the trip meant I was unable to keep posting and so instead here's a summary and a few pictures will be added later.

Day 1 Part 2

In the end they loaded us on a train and then announced that it had a problem and was being fixed? Why you have to ask do they load a train that has problems?

In the end we arrived in France 75 minutes later than planned. That meant that we missed lunch and instead carried on a bit further.

We stopped at Baie de la Somme again and Reggie had a walk about and his usual widdle stops and we had a coffee.

Progress along the Paris avoidance route was successful but it was gone 7pm before we rolled up at the Campanile near Orléans. In time to check in and give Reggie his late dinner before he and us went for ours.

We opted for the buffet and Reggie lay under the table. Amazingly dog friendly.

Day 2

Up and away quite early after breakfast. The plan to fill the tank thwarted by the hypermarket being shut on a Sunday morning. This is the norm for France in small towns but you expect better in large cities. Eventually filled up at Chateauroux at an automatic station. At least my UK MasterCard worked.

Arrived at the camping site at Le Val d'Ussel about 4pm as we had estimated. Reggie settled in. Very quiet site. Had a beer at the bar and take away pizzas.

Days 3/4/5/6

After a week my brain can no longer remember the order of things but we managed to get out everyday after breakfast to:

The gardens at Les Jardins du Manoir D Eyrignac, a splendid guided walk around the grounds to see the topiary and other planting.
To Sarlat and Domme for a walk around the medieval town centres.
The Village Troglodytique de la Madeleine where we had an interesting visit to see where man lived 17000 years ago until recently.
Les Eyzies de Tayac for lunch and to look for river access for us and Reggie. None found. We did have lunch though.

One day we had a TomTom "incident" when going to la Roque Gageac. "Turn Left" Jane (the voice of TomTom) said, so we did. The lane got narrower. The route showed a right turn to the river, except we were about 100 feet above it and there were only stairs down.

Luckily we managed to turn around and creep out and back to the slightly larger road and down into the village. Phew.

From there we went in search of a beach to paddle in the river. The river seems to be a magnet for anyone wanting to open a canoe rental business. How they make any money only their invisible friend will know. There are so many occupying the water's edge and the land alongside with "parkling privé" signs everywhere the river is almost impossible to access.

We found a public beach at last on the Dordogne near Chateau de Montfort. There was, of course, a canoe rental there as well, but we had access to the water. Reggie loved it and Claire paddled. I didn't bother as trainers and socks don't work with water. In fact we went again later in the week. After paddles we went up to the Chateau and its village and had lunch.

Most days we had lunch out and ate in the mobile home in the evening after a rest and a few beers.

The average temps for the region in May is about 22C but this week it was hovering around 32C!

On Thursday the camp filled up as it was Ascension Day and the French make it a four day weekend. Reggie was more agitated as he doesn't like bicycles and from none they were now plentiful.

Day 7

Last full day and Reggie was booked into the vet at MC-Vet in Sarlat for his worming pill and his pet passport checked that he had had it and that it was okay to get back into our rabies and certain nasty worm free country. There are some benefits to having water between us and Europe!

Firstly we went to the beach to cool down, and then lunched alongside the river at The Chalet at Vitrac. It was okay. The croque monsieur was massive but Claire said very dry. The frites portion was massive as well. The hotdog I had was okay.

Then it was to the Vet. All handled very well and Marie that saw to Reggie was very nice. Gave him the pill and a check over and then we were off. A quick call in at the Leclerc hypermarket where they have shaded parking and we bought stuff for dinner and some cheese to bring home.

One of the Eurocamp couriers showed us some other units. The one we had was the cheapest because of Reggie, as dog's are only allowed in some levels of luxury i.e. basic.

We think we might come back another year but avoid Ascension Day and leave Reggie in the Kennels in Kent. He likes it there and we can see more things where he can't go.

Day 8

The site still full and we had a lie in. We were the only Eurocamp customers left and Danny the site manager said we could stay longer if we wanted for no extra charge. Sadly we couldn't as had things booked plus work to go back to at home.

The plan was now to let TomTom choose the way home via fuel at Brive. After a coffee stop on the A20 we added Chateau de Chambord into the route to Orléans. It was a detour to the east and then back.

TomTom took us right to the car park. At times it seems that you have no idea where you are going even with it set to the fastest time routing.

And when you see it. WOW!

We didn't want to go in but take a walk around the grounds. Parking was €6 and we were there for about an hour. Time to be amazed. It was still 30C and after an ice cream for us shared with Reggie we beat a retreat. Another place for the next trip?

We arrived at the same Campanile Hotel as the week before and found the place full with a large group on a cycle and other means trip from Perigord to Paris. After a shower and change we left Reggie asleep on the bed (covered with our own cover) and had dinner.

Day 9 - The last day

Up and out early. No breakfast until way up the A71 with Jane taking us towards Paris and the outer ring to the west of the city and the A16 route to the coast. At a services I discovered the problem with MyDrive and connected to it with the wifi.

After that Jane changed the route to go to the east of Paris and the A1/A26 route to Calais.

Another of those "moments" had us turning left too soon and the correction she made took us to the A6 and onto the Périphique! I hate the Périphique. Things weren't too bad and we eventually made it to the A1 and then had a stop for a coffee and a cake. The wifi allowed MyDrive to update. I added a stop at the Auchun petrol station at Calais and it was plain sailing.

On the autoroute and in the service areas were loads of Harley's and a lot of patch clubs but mostly Hell's Angels. There were other MC clubs as well that I had never heard of. They do look impressive riding in twos in a long column but its not for me!

With the tank filled with cheaper than UK diesel we went to check Reggie in and were one of only two cars at pet passport control. We managed to get through both French and UK passports easily enough and got a crossing some two and a half hours earlier than booked and had to pay an extra £13! Rip off really as the trains were hardly full. We had the bikes behind us. When I have been on the bike we are loaded last and never share a carriage with cars. This time we had two bikes behind us and we were halfway up the train...... One of the bikes was a loud HD with an HA rider. He was in tshirt/cutoff and jeans and had very little luggage! Reggie waved his usual right to bark at the sound of a bike and slept most of the way home.

We were home via Waitrose in time for me to watch the highlights of the Arsenal winning the FA Cup the day before. In the Campanile they were watching rugby!

Posted by InvictaMoto 08:33 Archived in France Comments (0)