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Home Travel StoriesFrance 2013

France Day 15 - A Bit Of 2 Star Delight

By Sharon Parker

The morning is grey but after more chocolate muesli for breakfast it begins to brighten up. I wonder briefly if I should have another shower but decide against it. The one last night was a little uncomfortable. Uncomfortable not because as previously when I found reason to complain about the water it was just tepid if not damn right cold this was too HOT! It actually hurt and the only way I could have the shower was to jump in and out of it to cool down in-between scoldings. It seems almost criminal to complain about the water being too hot after me crying over the freezing experience I had a few days ago but it was what it was and it was too hot. Apart from the over hot water the shower block is immaculate and has those all so important sockets for my straighteners. 

stone and red tile outbuilding used as the shower block at the chateau
Shower block - Beware the hot water.

The owner of the campsite, who lives in the impressive Château comes riding past in his Golf Buggy merrily waving at his guests as he rides by. The back of the buggy is stuffed with French sticks which he then procedes the feed to his Red Deer. The whole scene fills me with delight. I feel happy and chilled but I can see that the relaxed morning is beginning to make the bf fidgety so I reckon is is time to pack up and move on.  

We decide on a shorter trip today with a plan to head towards Le Blanc. The sun does battle with the clouds and as the day goes by they are pretty evenly matched. The landscape now becomes flat farmland and long straight roads. Although we pass through some lovely villages this area is not as  picturesque as the areas we have already passed through.

a long straight road running through gently undulating farmland
Straight roads through flat fields

The day rolls by with the scenery remaining pretty much the same throughout. We stop at the pretty river side village of Le Blanc. The town is attractive but the nearest campsite is some distance from the town itself and it is a rather run down looking Municipal. After red deer and a Château this does not appeal at all so we decide to go in search for something more suitable to our now raised standards

smart french houses and chateau seen from across the river at le blanc
The pretty river side village of Le Blanc 

We carry on to Barrou and find ourselves at Les Rioms www.camping-lesrioms.com The star rating shows only a 2 but peering over the barrier it looks all rather lovely so we decide that this will be our home for tonight. Once inside we are greeted by the very friendly lady owner who tells us we can choose which ever pitch we want. There are 24 pitches in total, all surrounded by a high private hedging giving each pitch a lovely secluded private feel. The ground is flat and covered with well maintained mowed grass. The sites facilities are all modern which leads me to conclude the site is rather new. The toilets block is an outside one but the covered canopy means it is not completely open to the elements. There are seats on the toilets and toilet paper is provided. There is however only two showers, one for females and one for males. Although this is fine for us during this time of year I do wonder how it would be during high season at full capacity. There are also washing areas for both dishes and clothing. 

crisp hedge lines and smart grass pitches at les rioms
The well maintained and modern Les Rioms
smart modern and very angular small toilet block at the campsite
Toilet block

The pool area although closed at the moment due to the inclement weather is most impressive. A large pool and a smaller paddling pool is surrounded by a large decking area which is covered by a large canopy. I imagine this to be the perfect place to relax under on those really hot days that surely must be more typical of the south of France? 
For those not wishing to camp under canvas there are some smart modern caravans available for hire on the site. With starting prices for a week of €195 this is not too bad at all.
Our camping fee was the lowly sum of €9 per night. So in my opinion be careful of the star rating. It does not always indicate the quality of the camping to be found. This camp may lack a restaurant or shop which may indeed bump up its star rating but the actually pitches themselves are the best I have seen so far.  

smart new static caravans with decking for hire
Pretty caravans for hire.

The weather has improved and the sun is actually shining. It is also warming up nicely so I quickly change into my shorts and look forward to some sunbathing once we have put up the tent. The tent takes no time at all to erect in our now experienced hands but even in this short time the weather has changed. Threatening black clouds have rolled in to take away my sun. I am so unhappy about this that I have to take 5 minutes to sit on the grass and have a mini sulk. The black clouds release their threat and it begins to rain. Although it is now raining it is still pleasantly warm in the tent so we take advantage of this and make our own entertainment within the tent, which proved to be far more fun than sunbathing anyway.

the motorcycle and trusty tent on a smart private pitch at les rioms
Our nice secluded home for the night

The rain stops so we set of for the local shops for supplies for tea. The village is very quiet and tiny and we find only two small shops in which to buy our tea. One being a boulangerie for bread and the other a very small general store selling a few cans and fruit and veg. There is not much choice but we settle for some hotdogs, it will do us just fine for tonight. As we walk back to the campsite I am loving the feeling of quietude and space. No crowds of people pushing and shoving you. No feeling of hurry and haste. 

After tea we want to explore the area and set out for a long stroll. However we do not get far when the heavens open and we are forced back into the tent. The clothes we had washed are hanging on the tent ropes so we take advantage of the large clothes airier situated under the decking areas canopy and hang them there out of the rain. The rain stops and we set out again only to be driven back once again as the rain falls. Sometimes you can not help but think the weather is a bit of a tease. When is stops for the third time we can not be bothered trying to go for our long stroll, besides it will be dark soon. So we just stroll around the outskirts of the camp site. As per normal the site it situated besides the river. The campsite also owns more land both to the side of the current campsite and across the road from it. No doubt this site as a huge potential for future expansion. This may prove financially advantageous to its owners but for my own self I am glad to have found it as it is today, small, friendly and very quiet.   

a full and swollen river flowing through trees at barrou
The essential river, very full due to the rain, rain, rain.

Forming a Plan The formulation of a cunning a devious plan to take on Europe is formed in the tiny mind of our intrepid explorer...
The GF Question Do I take the gf with me to France? Can she come? Will she like it? These are all very difficult questions...
France...I wanna go but can I...?? Can Sharon make it to Europe? Will the kids survive? Will the bf behave? Is there any space for makeup? All these questions and more...
The Load Getting everything we NEED and a few items we WANT onto a motorcycle can be a problem. Now I have to work out how to get 3 WEEKS worth of gear onto the poor donkey(aka bike)
Camping In Cambridge The start of our Epic Adventure...or bike holiday around France. Cambridge is surprisingly nice really.
France - Day 1 Sharon's first day from her point of view. Cushy Cambridge and dry weather...what more could a girl want?
The Chunnel The Chunnel, I'm excited but also stressing because the bike's already broken before we leave the UK. I worry too much...
France - Day 2 - Bikes, Trains and Tents Sharon leads us through sunshine, hair issues, the Channel Tunnel and into France. But France is eerily quiet...
Here Comes The Rain Bike fixed...bike broken. Rain, endless dull roads, miserable towns and more rain. Oh the joy of travel! At least Epernay welcomed us with a huge smile :-)
France Day 3 - Crying Through The Rain The rain plays tricks with Sharon's spirit but a stiff upper lip and giving herself a good talking to see her through.
Rain Into Dijon Rain, rain and more rain. Just how long can it last? Would we be better off with a Jet Ski? Can we continue to keep our Great British Stiff Upper Lips?
France Day 4 - We Are Mustard We Are Dijon is the destination and we're surviving the rain...that makes us well mustard! We're happy in spite of the rain but how long can we keep smiling?
The Joy Of Being Lost As we head south the rain lightens but will it ever stop? I get lost which is no surprise, but lost turns out to be the best part of travelling. Are things finally taking a turn for the better? I do hope so...
France Day 5 - Biker's Paradise Sharon's day 5 in France starts out rough but improves considerably. What delights can put such a joyous grin on her face?
The Stunning Alps We are both facing a very strange situation...that of sunshine, warmth, beauty and pleasure.
France Day 6 - Magnificent Mountains Sharon shares the delights of the Alps. Sometimes life is good!
Highs And Lows From the stunning Alps to our ultimate destination...MONACO! Is it all I expected? Will it be as I imagined?
France Day 7 - Scooter Mayhem Sharon describes the best and the worst France has to offer. Ride on the back with her from the beauty of the countryside to the mayhem of Monaco
Resting And Deciding Today we stop to take a breather and recuperate. It's also time to make a decision about the rest of our journey. I used to be indecisive, I'm not so sure now.
France Day 8 - Chilling In The Pool A day off from the journey sees Sharon and Ren doing something very silly, breaking things and achieving very little. What a splendid way to spend a day!
Going West Day 9 sees us heading west from the coast. It's finally dry, but it's still windy so not too hot. The gf's not well and Ren is relentlessly lost. Overall not a bad day then!
France Day 9 - Poppies, Vines and a Wet Lettuce Feeling poorly rather spoils Sharon's day today. Still on she must go on and survive what might have otherwise been a good day.
Biggest Bridge In The World In glorious sunshine and fine health we make our way from Nimes to Millau complete with it's Viaduct. Sometimes life is good, occasionally it's great!
France Day 10 - Deflated to Elated Today is a good day for Sharon. Today the sun shines, the scenery is beautiful and the people are pleasant. Join her as France puts a smile on her face.
The Wettest Bridge In The World The Millau Viaduct ought to be impressive. It is, but nowhere near as impressive as the amount of rain falling from the skies.
France Day 11 - Grim Not every day can be filled with sunshine and smiles, even on holiday. This one certainly was not for Sharon!
False Hope Part One Ren would like to invite you to a joyous report about the delightful weather in the South of France! He'd like to. Instead it just rained and rained and rained and rained...
France Day 12 - It's Gloomy Inside And Out Sharon freezes her butt off during the night then is treated to a cold and wet ride. The Ren sure knows how to spoil a girl.
False Hope Part Two Is this the end? Has Armageddon arrived? Is this the Apocalypse? It sure as hell feels like it.
France Day 13 - Quietude For A While Sharon's report on another day of mixed weather. There's peace and beauty then there's mud and cold. Adventure...no-one said it would be easy!
Sunshine After Rain A night of rain soaked delirium. Will the day be any better? Will our travellers ever dry out?
France Day 14 - A Bit of 5 Star Luxury Sharon has a much better day on the road and a luxurious 5 star campsite. It's amazing what difference a little dry weather can make.
Back Into The Flatlands A quiet, simple and easy days ride through France for Ren. Pleasant enough but the flatlands are getting a little boring now.
France Day 15 - A Bit Of 2 Star Delight Sharon has an ordinary day and a frustrating battle with the weather.
Not Far To Chinon It's a short, easy and peaceful ride this day in France. Ren gets all philosophical too.
France Day 16 - A Historical Walk Around Chinon Sharon enjoys a hint of sunshine and the history of Chinon, France.
Shopping To Mamers Ren's airbed's leaking now. No problem, find a shop and buy a new one...easy? I don't think so...
France Day 17 - The Gift Of TIme Even though the weather is cool Sharon's heart is warmed by the people she meets in France today
Don't Go To Ault Ren has a grim, long, dull and uninspiring day in France. The accommodation doesn't help.
France Day 18 - Is This Misery Or Joy? Sharon finds sunshine, ancient caravans and ponders about hapiness.
Looking For Luxury With time on their side Ren looks for the perfect campsite for the next to night. Not finding it makes him a very grumpy boy.
France Day 19 - Campsite Conundrums Although the wind blows the sun is shining while Sharon looks for the perfect pitch.
Resting In Ambleteuse Ren philosophises too much on the final day of his trip around France.
France Day 20 Sharon's in a reflective mood on the last day of our French trip.
Back Into England Ren recalls the final day of the French Adventure. It's all over far too soon.
What Did We Learn? Ren sums up his thoughts about France and the French trip.
France On Reflection Sharon sums up her her experience of the French Trip. Damn those Alps.
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