Europe Roadie Part 6 – France (Revisited)

France 

So now to the last country on our road trip…we started off just driving a quick trip up the coast from San Sebastian to Biarritz, we loved the feel of Biarritz and spent most of our time there walking along the beaches, chilling out and Nick surfed a fair bit. In Biarritz we found a shop that sold Nicks giant pairs of flip flops so we got him and Ashton a pair for his birthday (sorry Kristina). Had our 2 year anniversary here also so went out for a nice dinner, had a few minor disasters with the food that came out but got a free shot of it and also how could I be annoyed when Nick had got me such a nice anniversary present…a leaf (in his defence it was a big leaf). From Biarritz we headed to Labenne where Nick originally wanted to go surfing but unfortunately it was flat as a pancake and it was pouring with rain so only stayed for one night. After Labenne we worked our way up the coast a bit to a nice little place called Capbreton, we popped into Hossegor for a mooch around and to get a bite to eat, we would have stayed there but couldn’t find a campsite anywhere! So Capbreton it was and it was good value as it was only 10euro a night with power as well, parked up next to a nice couple from Newquay, spent the rest of day trying to battle the wind on the beach.  

Time to move off the coast but we made one last stop before going inland we headed to a place called Archachon (sounds like a robot doesn’t it) and stopped off at the Dune de Pyla which is Europes largest sand dune. Car parking was super expensive but you got 30minutes free so after a quick hoof to the top and taking photos we ran straight back down it (we are cheapskates) and got out for free…yay! After this we headed on past Bordeaux and into the wine country. We found a lovely little campsite in a really beautiful village called St. Emilion, we were able to walk i

nto town and found out some information about vineyards in the area to prepare for our own wine tasting trip! We rented some bikes for the campsite the next day and headed out ready to booze, we went to visit a few vineyards and did a tour and tasting at Soutard Chateau and bought a nice bottle of red, was a nice day.  After St. Emilion we had a fair bit of driving to do, so we drove most of the way to Tours which was an adventure as the Sat Nav took us onto French farms and to the middle of nowhere and ended up staying the night in a small UK family run site that did home made Chinese food which was quite random but very yummy. After that we headed up past Tours and stopped for the night at a small campsite in Mont-Louis Surloine where a huge thunder and lightning storm passed over us which was pretty awesome so we sat outside under the awning with a cuppa and watched…we love a good storm (bit sad).

So now we were in the Loire valley and planned a scenic drive to Paris via various different chateaus along the river. We stopped at 4 of the most famous chateaus along the route and went into 2 of them (Cheverney Chateau and Chateau Chambord). They were pretty amazing, the drive was really beautiful itself and was a nice way to break up the journey to Paris. Paris was obviously super expensive and the campsite we stayed at was even more expensive as it is the only one in the city of Paris, however it was pretty convenient. We spent the next couple of days exploring the city, we got a metro pass thing and went up the Eiffel tower via the stairs, not the lift! Had a nice crepe after the exercise, went to see Notre Dame, the Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa and heaps of other famous artwork, went across Pont Neuf, saw where the Moulin Rouge was, went to a famous graveyard where lots of celebs were buried and saw the grave of Jim Morrison, went to the Science museum, finally we went to the Pantheon and then Luxembourg park. I cant forget also that Nick knowing how to spoil his girlfriend in the city of love decided to take me to a sewage museum…which was exactly as you would expect it to be. Shit.

After Paris we headed out to the coast again and went to Bayeaux, not to see the tapestr

y (that was really expensive) but we went to the war memorial and paid our respects and went to the war history museum which was pretty interesting and learnt lots about the Battle of Normandy. We also went to visit Omaha beach where the US landed and to the US Military Cemetery which is mindblowing with how many people are buried there, you cant get across in photographs quite how many crosses there are, it was quite moving. We then went to Point Du Hoc and saw the remains of German gun bunkers and heaps of craters caused by the Allied bombings, they were pretty huge. Now being at the end of our trip we didn’t want to spend money on campsites so found somewhere free to camp where an old fella came round to the van and sold us home made cider which was pretty good and then the next day we had to sneak into a campsite to use their showers, we are rebels! After which we were refreshed and ready for more of the d-day beaches, we went to see Gold Beach where the UK troops landed, Juno Beach where the Canadians landed and Sword Beach where more UK troops landed. We then headed off driving again, stopped at a bakery and bought a loaf of warm fresh bread which was delish and eventually found somewhere free to stop at in St. Valery en Caux where another old fella found our van and sold us more home made cider, Nick nearly bought 7 bottles off the guy! Unfortunately the old fella had been carrying the cider in a little trolley and when Nick opened the bottle it went everrrrrrrywhere! First thing we did on our penultimate day on our road trip was buy more fresh bread…it was bloody delicious and then we went for a swim at the local pool (mostly to get use of their showers). Stayed our last night in a small town called Wissant in another free spot, and went and watched heaps of kite surfers out in the water, had a strange last meal of mixed leftovers including steak hache, pasta, pesto, tinned veges and gravy. Yum.

Then the next day we went to Carrefour, spent our last 150Euro on booze and chocolate, stocked the van to the brim and headed back on the ferry to England. Where we are currently. More to come on what we have been getting up to here.

Love Nick and Nat

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