Holidays Our little holiday diary

France Part One

September 2012.

Introduction to our little French Trip.


Way back last year, Diane casually mentioned that she would like to go to the South of France for a holiday. We had a brief discussion about it and then promptly forgot all about it. Some months later at work, I had a flash of stupidity and thought about both the South of France and Motorhomes. When I talked about it with Diane, she jumped at the idea and so this trip was born.

I spent many a happy hour searching the web for a suitable motorhome and sought advise from a number of forums. The general opinion seemed to be, get one bigger than you think you need. GOOD ADVISE.  I eventually settled on a motorhome owned privately by Sarah and Charlie Packer down near Bicester in Oxfordshire. They only have the one Motorhome which they rent out regularly so we couldn’t pick it up before 2.30pm. on Saturday.

At this point, the usual Sanderson military precision planning was set in motion. Books for French camp sites, sights to see in France and a gigantic French road map were all bought. The sight seeing book was popular with Diane and I was engrossed in the road map night after night. We didn’t bother with the campsite book because we thought that until we were in France, we wouldn’t know just where to start looking for a camp site. During my searches on line for campsites, I came across something called Aires, which seemed to be areas set aside for motor homes, commercial vehicles etc., There was either no, or very little charge depending on what facilities, if any, were available, such as fresh water, electricity or toilet blocks. That was when I came up with our cunning plan of stopping one night in an aire and the next night in a proper camp site. That way, we could save on site fees but still have water, electricity and toilet use every other night.


Before we go any further, it must be said that we didn’t realize just how far we planned to drive. Also, we didn’t count on the fact that we were driving a motor home and not a family car. We are mentioning this now as we don’t think we can write about this trip in the same way as our usual holidays.... "Some days it was all driving with nothing to write about and very little to photograph"..... So please bear with us.


Day 1.


Because we couldn’t collect the motor home before 2.30pm, I made the decision to book the ferry from Dover to Calais at 5.00pm to allow us time to get across the channel and find our first nights site before it gets dark. (Some time ago, I spent a day out with elder daughter Angela, and during one conversation, the subject of ferry crossings to France came up. She told me that she had booked a crossing but bought a flexi ticket which allowed her to book a specific time for a ferry but could sail 4 hours either side of her allotted time.) I remembered this and made the same arrangement.

Having packed everything but the kitchen sink into our car, we set off for Bicester, arranging to get there as near to 2.30pm as possible. We arrived very soon after 2.30 and met Sarah and Charlie, two very nice people. We completed all the necessary

Our First Day

paperwork and they then gave us a detail tour of what was to be our home for the next two weeks. They showed us how everything worked, toilet cassette, filling on board tank with clean water and draining dirty (Grey) water, connection to mains electric, the cover over the hot water boiler vent etc, where everything was kept (I think the term is stowed!) and plenty of advise about touring including many does and don’ts. There was even a Sat Nav for which they gave us very basic instructions. How to switch it on and how to put an address in to it. They are such a nice couple and we stayed longer than we intended so setting off late to get to Dover for our ferry crossing. We eventually caught the 7.00pm sailing, docking in Calais at 9.30pm (because the clocks had to go forward one hour). Pitch black as we blundered out of Calais with only a vague idea which direction to take. After only a few miles in, I suddenly remembered, I had to stick the headlight beam benders on. Staring into a headlight beam from only 18 inches and trying to stick a small flimsy plastic deflector onto the glass is no easy job. Off we went again. Fortunately, I remembered some of the map that I had studied and finally found Tatinghem, but no site. We drove round until midnight, I think we went through every village in a 20 mile radius of Tatinghelm before finally giving up and parking down an alley next to what we thought was a small industrial unit. In the morning, we found out it was a jujitsu centre. What a great start to the holiday.

Do you want to go to Part Two?

Mileage: 396 Miles (660Km)

Our Home for two weeks



This is the map of the route we took during the two weeks. We travelled down the right hand side of the map and came back up on the left hand side. The towns printed in blue are where we stayed for the night/s. We will be putting daily maps on the relevant pages and putting them all into the photo  gallery.

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