Category Archives: France

European Family Holiday, Day 8 – Onwards to Annecy

Stopping at the last French town of Annecy before we cross the French-Swiss border.

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Finally, we are getting closer to the eastern end of France and these mountains form part of the Alps, a large and expansive mountain range shared with Switzerland, Italy and all the way to Germany and Austria.

 

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No, we’re not in Switzerland yet. This is still France, in the lovely town of Annecy which they call the ‘Venice of the Alps’ or ‘the Pearl of the French Alps’. Geneva is just 35 kms away.

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So inspired with our last French campsite for this holiday that we just had to have an aperitivo! But first, a groupie to mark our first day in Annecy.

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Beautiful blue sky and the French Alps as our backdrop, what a great place to wrap up the French leg of our European holiday!

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Lake Annecy

European Family Holiday, Day 7 – From west to east of France

Our many stopovers traversing the center of France from west to east. ..

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A quick stop at a dépôt vente in Bourganeuf to buy some second hand but high quality items like a large stainless steel pot to cook a large meal for four, branded wine glasses, dish rack for the campervan, some home accessories for K and A for- believe it or not – only 12 euros total!

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A walk-stop for Charlie in the Auvergne countryside, great for some wacky photoshoot.

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Stopping for a sandwich lunch at an Auvergne countryside.

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Our sleep stop for the night – this free campervan aire just behind the Mairie (c ity hall) and church of Montboucher. Our profuse thanks to this tiny village for giving this excellently situated area for travellers like us – good walks, panoramic view of the countryside, a boulangerie-on-wheels (bakery in a van) and clean facilities.

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Stopped at the hilltop town of Chamalieres for a quick appointment with a doctor. Here, Charlie is admiring a rich man’s glass mansion under construction that overlooks the city of Clermont Ferrand.

European Family Holiday, Days 5 & 6 – Esnandes on the Atlantic Coast, France

We wanted K and A to experience the feel of France’s Atlantic Coast so we randomly selected the town of Esnandes, 12 kms north of La Rochelle, as our next destination. Little did we know that our ho-hum first impression of the town was to be overtaken by wonderment and deep admiration when we went hiking along the mussel and oyster-rich ‘Baie d’Aguillon (Bay of Aguillon) and did some exploring of its 13th century fortified church.

On this third stop, we stayed in a campsite where, surprisingly, 9 out of 10 holidaymakers came in their campervans. In fact, we found out that this month of September is the peak of the campervaning season as we are seeing a great number of them everywhere we went and stayed. H even noticed the ‘waving etiquette’ where campervaners wave their hands everytime we approach each other on the road. Hence, this kickstarted the ‘Adams Family Waving Game’ which would get us LOL whether the approaching campervaner would acknowledge the four clowning hands waving at them…. or not!

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We originally planned to visit and camp in La Rochelle but the carpark we stayed in last month is being spruced up for an upcoming yachting exhibition so we decided to go somewhere instead.  This is the old town of La Rochelle.

 

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Dinner Day 5 – With our miniscule oven and electricity from the campsite, I managed to make individual pizzas for 4 people and a healthy salad on the side. Autumn nights are getting colder and colder so dinner had to be indoors.
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Raspberries and Greek yoghurt sweetened with honey is our Michelin-style dessert for the night.
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Never have I seen a church that looks like a castle, but it was designed as a fortification against the invading English. This 12thC Romanesque style church of Esnandes is classed as a historic monument.
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This 13th century Romanesque church was made into a military fortress during the Hundred Years War (14thC) to protect the region from English invasion.

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Grotesques (sculpture of ugly faces) figures at the medieval church of Esnandes.

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Story goes that this church was the stopping point of sailors who came to pray for safe voyage before setting out to sea.

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These 18th century pews are just one of the main attractions of this extraordinary church.

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A sightseeing trip of a town or village is not complete without stopping at the local cemetery. It’s like visiting an open air museum.

 

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At the Bay of Esnandes.  Our campervan (on the right), though vintage, looks good from afar.

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Saw this group of motorcyclists stopping at the panoramic viewpoint of Bay d’Aguillon. Some preferred to doze off at the first available ground they could lay their weary bodies on.

 

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La peche au carrelet or shore-operated lift net.

Nets are held horizontally by a large fixed structure and periodically lowered into the water,  They are dipped into the water and raised again, but cannot be moved. They  may hold bait or fitted with lights to attract more fish.  (wikipedia)

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Photographing baby mussels

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K and A going to their fishing net cottage.

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The bay at low tide.

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The bay at low tide.

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The Baie d’Aguillon (Bay of Aguillon) along the Atlantic Coast has been a place for oyster and mussel farming since the 13th century. Currently, it produces 10,000 tons of mussels each year. Naturally, shells of these bivalves are scattered around the bay and Charlie just loves licking them!

 

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Dinner Day 6, instead of dining at a mussel restaurant which is very popular in the area, we concocted our own mussels speciality – moules marinieres (mussels cooked in white wine).   Bon Appétit!

 

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Our campsite for two nights in Esnandes.

 

 

 

European Family Holiday, Days 3 & 4 – Le Mans, France

The Unesco-ness of each place we go to is just a coincidence because this holiday is more on family bonding and eating. We don’t need to eat out at bank-breaking restaurants to enjoy our food because it’s more enjoyable to prepare 6 to 7- course meals out of a tiny campervan galley (kitchen) and share it together with lashings of wine, chats and laughter with only candlelights and twinkling stars to light us.

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Found our camp for the 3rd night, this free campervan park with facilities including drainage for grey water (dishwashing water from the sink).

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Loved the tranquility and practicality of this free campervan spot so much that we stayed here two nights!

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Simple breakfast of croissants and coffee but the bonding is worth its weight in gold
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Barbecue night

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Need to stock up one year worth of food!

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Part of the holiday is shopping for campervan parts – it’s fun to browse for camping gears and gadgets, actually!

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Le Mans

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“Get us out of here!”

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European Family Holiday, Day 2 – Chartres

Chartres, France

Renowned for its well- preserved 12th century Cathedral which is an architectural masterpiece of French Gothic style, and its original 176 stained glass windows, the Cathedral of our Lady of Chartres is listed among Unesco’s World Heritage Sites. We’ve always dreamed of visiting this place as it’s only one hour from Paris but that moment was meant to come as the first town to explore!

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Chartres Cathedral with a 12thC Romanesque spire on the right and a 16thC Flamboyant Gothic spire on the left.

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The Cathedral is known all over the world by its original stained glass windows dating back to the 12thC.

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It has the largest nave in France towering at 144 feet.

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The U-shaped choir contains 200 sculptures in 41 scenes. The sculptures depict scenes from the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary.

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I have this particular attachment to the 13th Station of the Cross, depicted by the Pieta, and this one in Chartres Cathedral is quite different from the traditional version.

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Sculptures on the west portal of the Cathedral depict Christ’s ascension into heaven, episodes from his life, saints, apostles…..

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One of the many medieval bridges of Chartres.

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How to deal with Charlie who is not allowed to visit churches? Simple. Wait for K and A to take their turn on looking after the boy.

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Refreshingly good, Affligem is an Abbey beer from Belgium produced since the Middle Ages.

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