France Sept’21 #5 – Josselin

Maybe it was too much sunshine or too much lovely French wine but whatever caused it I completely missed writing a blog for our stopover in Josselin when on route from Caen to Bènodet. I’m not sure how I managed this because Josselin really made an impression on both of us when we were there, and it’s a place I know we will return to many times in the years ahead.

This beautiful town makes you feel as if you’ve stepped on to the set of a Disney movie set in Medieval times. The Château is the main tourist attraction but when you add to this the half timbered houses – some dating back to 1538, the quaint cobbled streets, canal walks and lovely shops and restaurants, you have yourself a gorgeous stopover for at least a few days.

We found a little stop over on the Park4 Night app. This is basically a carpark but it is a pretty one with public toilets (spotless), a children’s Playground , a Grotto, and access to walking and cycling routes. There was even waste disposal/recycling there too. It was very quiet at night but it did have some early morning traffic.It was situated right opposite the Château and was free of charge. It’s worth noting that this is only suitable for van’s of approximately 6 metres or less.

There are two more Motorhome parking areas in the town, one in St.Martin, where there are facilities for grey and black waste emptying and fresh water. There are public toilets here too but they weren’t the cleanest when we were there. Motorhomes need to move from here on Saturday mornings to facilitate parking for the weekly market.

The second one is a grassed area near the canal, which to our knowledge doesn’t have any facilities but appears to be spacious with fairly level pitches. Both appear to be free of charge.

There’s a buzzing Market in Josselin on a Saturday morning which stretches over several streets in the town. There’s a great selection of local crafts and wares on sale and an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables and local delicacies at every turn. Even in Covid times there’s a lovely atmosphere about the place.

If you can’t stay in this beautiful town overnight it is definitely worth a visit, even if it means taking a detour to see it.

Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as we did😄

Lots of lovely places to dine out if the fancy takes you 😄
The Beautiful Château
Where we parked up for two nights while in Josselin
Lovely play ground in the carpark where we stayed in Josselin
Lively Saturday morning market

France Sept ’21 #4- Bènodet, South Brittany.

After the intensity of historical Normandy we moved on to the seaside town of Bènodet.
This beautiful picturesque town is in the Finisterre region of South Brittany.
It boasts a fabulous promenade which stretches right along its amazing beach, where you’ll find a nice selection of bars/restaurants to choose from.
There are a few souvenir/gift shops in the same area, however, if you need grocery supplies, the nearest supermarket is approx a 5 minute drive or a 20 minute walk from the town centre.
A weekly market is held on Mondays from 8am until 1pm – this offers a great selection of clothing, handbags, plants, fruit and veg, jewellery, and much more.
The aromas of the different local foods cooking will be sure to tempt you to buy.
Anything from roast chicken, paella, ham joints, sauteed potatoes and vegetables can be found here, along with the must have crepes for a sweet treat.
Even if you aren’t buying it’s still lovely to walk through the market and savour the experience.
We took a lunch cruise on the Vedettes de L’odet from Bènodet to Quimper which was a fantastic way to spend a few hours.
It was lovely to enjoy the scenery and listen to the guide explaining the interesting facts about the area while enjoying a beautiful meal.
The trip lasted about three hours – see the link for further information.
This area is brilliant for walking and cycling with lots of different routes to choose from.
We stayed at Camping Poulquer for our week in this gorgeous town.
This is a lovely campsite which is approximately 200 metres from the beach and Bars/restaurants.
See the link for further info
There are two more campsites close to the beach and several others a little further out.
To sum up, if you’re looking for a classy little seaside destination then Bènodet is definitely for you – I suspect you won’t be disappointed.

France Sept’21 #3 – Arromanches & Caen Museum.

We drove on from Colleville to Arromanches . Here the harbour is dotted with Mulberries which allowed war ships to dock alongside them. Soldiers, artillery and the floating road system which would connect them to the beach were offloaded here. What a tremendous feat in engineering. Reminders of this dark time such as tanks, guns, sections of the floating road and windows painted with Thank You messages to the allies can be seen throughout the village. There is a Museum here but we didn’t visit it as we were heading on to the War Museum in Caen. There are lots of shops, bars and restaurants to enjoy here too. We stayed at the Aire beside the 360 Cinema where we viewed a short film about DDay. It was only about twenty minutes long and cost €7 per adult, Interesting, but not sure it represented good value.The Aire is pretty basic, with toilets, black and grey waste disposal and fresh water available. We didn’t use these facilities so can’t really comment on them. The parking bays are extremely close together but the view from the front row is spectacular if you’re lucky enough to get one of these spaces.

We drove on to Caen to visit the War Museum. This is vast and depicts not only the D Day invasion of Normandy but all the other wars which were happening around the world at the same time. It was difficult to take in how man could be so cruel to his fellow men, women and children and inflict such cruelty on them.

Entry to the Museum is €19.80 per adult with an additional €4.50 for an audio guide. We found the audio guide to be very useful as there really is so much to try to take in. There is a separate parking area for Camping Cars but this is very small and fills up quickly. As it was full when we arrived we found an alternative area to park close by.

This is the end of our D Day tour, looking forward now to relaxing times in pretty seaside towns enjoying the beauty of present day France.

Sections of the floating roads
Caen War Museum

France-Sept ’21 #2 – Omaha Beach & Colleville American Cemetery.

After Sainte-Mère Église we moved on to Omaha Beach and later visited the American Cemetery at Colleville.

The trip from Sainte-Mère Église to Omaha took approximately 50 minutes. Google Maps brought us on secondary roads which were mostly ok. However, it did decide to take us for about three miles, on what could only be described as a country lane. A little scary to say the least as it was full of twists and bends with no room for passing traffic but thankfully we lived to tell the tale 😄

Standing on that beach in beautiful sunshine, it was very hard to visualise the horrors and devastation it witnessed back in June 1944. So sad to think of all those young brave men who lost their lives here. Looking at the landscape it’s easy to see how they were such easy targets.

The American Cemetery at Colleville is on a site of over 172 acres. Words alone can’t describe the sight of almost 10,000 white crosses laid out before you in perfectly spaced out rows. In stark contrast to the final hours of these brave young soldiers this Memorial is calm, peaceful and serene and definitely worth a visit. Even though it’s an outside space the wearing of masks was mandatory.

Entrance to the Cemetery is free.

France -Sept’21 #1, Ferry Crossing & Sainte-Mère-Église

We’ve had lots of requests to post some photos from our ongoing trip to France together with a few observations of how we’re finding things during these Covid times.

We travelled with Irish Ferries and found the check-in process to be extremely easy and efficient . We were asked for our Passports and Digital Certs at check-in, (we had our Declarations printed off but we weren’t asked to provide these).

The ferry was quiet enough. Like at home, masks are mandatory in public areas – obviously they can be removed once seated at your table or when out on deck.

We arrived into Cherbourg Port this morning to a very misty welcome but the day has developed into one of glorious sunshine. It feels so good to be back on French soil for the first time in two years.

This trip we’ve decided to come without any campsites/Aires pre – booked. We have a rough idea of where we are going but will basically make decisions on a day- to day basis.

Our first stop was Sainte-Mère-Église, we’d originally thought of stopping here for an hour or two before moving on to some of the Normandy Beaches. However, we’ve enjoyed visiting the Airborne Museum (€8 per adult) and taking in this typically pretty French village, so have decided to stay the night.

Health passes are requested for entry to tourist sites , and bars/restaurants.

We’re in an Aire for Camping Cars which is a five minute walk to the Centre-Ville. See photo for rates.

On board the Ferry.
Amazingly calm crossing .
Fab crossing.
Ste Mere Eglise Main Square and Church.
The dummy which represents John Steele – the American paratrooper who was trapped by his parachute on a church spire.
inside the Church.
Yet another tribute to all those brave soldiers who lost their lives during WW2.
The Airborne Museum in Ste Mere Eglise, Entrance Fee is just €8 per adult – well with a visit.
One of the gliders on display – hard to believe they could carry jeeps and other artillery as well as soldiers.
One of the other exhibits on display.
Can you guess which one he’ll go for ? 🤣
Munching on some fresh local Pain au Pave
Fab Pizzas from Les Pizza’s du Pêre Wil in Ste Mere Eglise .
Rates for the Camping Car Aire in Ste Mere Eglise.

Oh So Lucky….

One plus side of the Lockdown restrictions is that we’re all discovering what great amenities we have in our own local areas. We’ve certainly been discovering some beautiful little gems right on our own doorstep.

This current lockdown seems to be never ending but hopefully we’re getting that bit closer to the end of the restrictions. With a bit of luck the weather will improve and the brighter days will help to make it all that bit easier too.

Missing getting out for our trips in Harry but so looking forward to hitting the road again when it’s safe to do so.

Keep safe everyone.

Strange Times

These certainly are strange times we are living in at the moment and unfortunately there doesn’t seem to an end in sight anytime soon. All we can do is adhere to the guidelines as best we can and hope that there will be better days ahead . It’s a bit strange not being able to travel freely in our vans at the moment but we can still get out and about and enjoy our own counties.

Keep safe out there and enjoy whatever trips you are having as best you can.

Here are a few photos of our last weekend away in Carlingford a few weeks ago.