Ouistraham. Thury-Harcourt, Flers, Domfront, Mayenne, Montsurs, Sable, La fleche, Bauge, Noyant, Breil, Lac Rille [173 miles].
4th June, Thursday. Lac Rille. 4 nights. Excellent site in woodland by a large lake which is a bird sanctuary. Easy very close access for launching kayaks. Good cycling. Small pool [cold out of season]; simple (v. good) camp restaurant. Poor shop and no nearby village. Bread delivered. Spotted flycatchers, Black redstart, Reed warblers, Common tern. Little train ran around site on Sunday. Run by Mathieu & Rada (wife). Met Laurie (dog judge) and Caroline (mother of viola in Tippett string quartet).
Langeais, Langeais, Motorway past Tours, Vierzon, Bourges, Montlucon, Clermont-Ferrand, Issoire, Brioude, La Chaise-Dieu [297 miles]. (Note: always avoid Vichy)
8th June, Monday. La Chaise-Dieu*. 1 night. Good basic site. Near interesting small town. We did not explore as this was overnight stop.
La Chaise-Dieu, St-Paulien, Le Puy en Velay, Solignac sur Loire, Pradelles, Thueyts, Aubenas, Privas, Crest, Die, Luc en Diois [161 miles]. A wonderful drive; this route avoids Valence.
9th June, Tuesday, Luc en Diois*. 1 night. ‘Les Foulons’. Good site. In the small town so good adjacent small supermarket. Excellent restaurant (Relais; the Magret de Canard was the best I have ever had). Redstarts on campsite, Swifts in village.
Luc-en-Diois, Veynes, Gap, Espinasse, Barrage de Serre-Poncon, Barcelonette, Meyronnes, Larche. [108 miles].
10th July. Wednesday. Les Marmottes at Larche. 3 nights. One of our top sites. Run by Mr Durand. About 1800m. Excellent restaurant on site but not open as low season. Very good restaurant in village. No pool. Good shop. Very many high mountain walks. Crag martins in village. Many lesser whitethroat warblers, Garden warblers and many Winchats. There is now a small coach service (not in low season so we were disappointed) up the road to the high plateau for wonderful mountain walks [to Italy]. We had the heaviest rain we have ever experienced through a whole night.
Barcelonette, Seynes, Digne les Bains, Les Mees, Bras d’Asse, Riez, St. Laurent du Verdon [108 miles]. Great drive.
15th June, Monday. 4 nights. St. Laurent en Verdon. By lake near Verdon gorge. Huge friendly site under pines. Great kayaking in lake and gorge. Nice pool, shop and restaurant. Excellent restaurant in village. 4 Hoopoes hopping about the site. Magpie nest overhead, Crested tits. Dutch friends Mike and Kim.
Riez, Greoux les Bains, Manosque, Apt, D100 then N7, around ring road to Avignon, Barthelasse [95 miles]
19th June Friday. 1 night. Pont d’Avignon. Good large site. Free boat over to old town (but have to walk back). Old interesting town is packed with restaurants. We went to our favourite small Italian restaurant. Good small pool, camp shop, bikes for hire. Our neighbour, Peter Harris was retired GP and expert photographer. Hugh flew home next morning from Avignon airport. Easy access with parking for van. Enjoyable airport. It was extremely windy so a disturbed night. Weather forecast was very windy in Camargue region so we changed plans, omitting this region.
Around larger ring road to N7 for airport (at Caumont), Noves, Graveson, around Tarascon, ring road around and through Nimes (not nice), Quissac, Sauve, St Hippolyte-du-Fort, Ganges, Le Vigan [107 miles].
20th June. Sunday. Val d’Arre in Le Vigan. 4 nights. Good very friendly site, small pool, shop, snack restaurant. Owners (Dutch and French were always very helpful). Interesting town but 3 km bike ride. Met previous friends: John and Mafanwy, involved in Leeds International Piano Competion. They helped by driving us to town to get my front punctured tyre replaced.
Ganges, St Hipplyte-du Fort, Anduze, Ales, Portes, Genolhac, Villefort, Langogne, Lac Naussac [107 miles] Great drive.
24th June. Wednesday. Les Terraces du Lac, on lac Naussac. 3 nights. Excellent site on terraces overlooking lake and beautiful countryside. Swimming in lake and boats available from nearby Loisir centre. Small children’s pool. Administered by a hotel on site. Excellent restaurant. No shop but the bar will provide coffee milk bread etc (not wine). Great walks and bike rides around lake. Very friendly. Neighbours were Andre and Naomi from Holland; we celebrated my birthday with them a day early in the restaurant.
Langogne, Pradelles, Langos, Grandrieu, Col de la Croix-de-Bor [44 miles].
27th June. Saturday Col de la Croix-de-Bor (camping sauvage). 2 nights . Wonderful silent site with 180 degree views. Good (exhausting) bike rides and easy walks. Garden warblers, meadow pipits and magnificent Montagu Harriers. Met friendly Frenchman, (?Massif?).
St-Denis-en-Margeride, St-Alban-sure-Limagnole, morotway to St Flour, Murat, Puy Mary and other volcan cols, Salers, Pleaux, St-Privat, Argentat, Chambon campsite on Beaulieu road [123 miles] Wonderful drive through Auvergne, route des Volcans.
29th June. Monday/ Chambon L’Europe campsite near Argentat. 3 nights. One of our favourite kayaking sites, on banks of the Dordogne, but we cannot do the rapids without Clive. Had a morning thunderstorm. Temperature 32-38 degrees. We sat in camp chairs in the Dordogne. Had excellent dinner in restaurant of campsite next door. Roger and Gabriel as energetic and noisy as always; it was good to see them again.
Argentat, Tulle, Egletons, Meymac, Millevaches, Felletin, Aubusson, Gouzon, Bussac, Poinsouze [122 miles]
2nd July.Monday. Poinsouze Castel campsite. Expensive Castel campsite by lake. Very friendly, with excellent swimming pool. Kayaking ok in lake. Excellent restaurant and takeaway when it is closed. Met good new friends from Southport, Rob and Lisa, who had a gigantic caravan; wonderful company.
Ste-Severes-sur-Indre, La Chatre, Argenton-sur-Creuse, motorway around Chateauroux to D943, Buzancais, Chatillon-sur-Indre, Loches, Blere, Amboise, Chateau Renault, Montoire-sur-Le Loir,La chartre-sur-le Loir, Marcon to Lac des Varennes .
4th July. Saturday. 1 night. Lac des Varennes*. Large site on the lake. Very full. Many children. Swimming in lake (bit dirty). OK for one night stop.
Back to La chartres-s-Le Loir, Ponce, St. Calais, Vibraye, La Ferte Barnard, Le Theil, Belleme, Mortagne-au-Perche, Vimoutiers, Livarot, Argences, Troarn, Herouvillette-Escoville, Ranville, Merville-Franceville-plage (near Ouistraham) [159 miles].
5th July, Sunday. Pont du Jour at Merville-Franceville plage. 1 day. Very busy campsite with direct access to beach. Excellent small restaurants on sea front 15 minutes walk along beach.
6th July Merville-Franceville, Ouistraham (pausing at Carrefours) just before reaching Ferry [10 miles].