|Campsites 2016||Aires 2016|
|From Normandy to the Île de Ré
||Coast to Pyrénées
||To the Med then Inland
|From Millau to the Creuse||Decorated churches||To Giverny and the Coast|
taking a daytime crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe we turned west along
the Opal coast to visit Étretat then across the Seine estuary to the
popular resort of Honfleur. We then turned inland through the Calvados
countryside with attractive half-timbered villages to reach Falaise
where we discovered that there were fuel shortages due to industrial
action at the refineries. Luckily we found some expensive diesel at a remote
filling station so were able to continue south to
reach the Loire near Angers.
We then decided to visit the coast, skirting the Marais Poitevin in the Vendee and crossed the toll bridge to the Île de Ré for a few days. From there we drove through the rural Charente region to the western Dordogne around Monpazier then on to Marciac in Gers, famous for its jazz festival every August but a quiet town in June. The Pyrénées to the south were now visible on the horizon so we drove via Lourdes to the impressive snow capped Cirque de Gavarnie. Avoiding the Col de Tourmalet as there were so many cyclists on the narrow roads we instead drove over the Col d'Aspin, unfortunately shrouded in thick mist. Continuing along the foothills we passed the Cathar chateau stronghold at Montsegur on the way to Carcassonne, before reaching the Mediterranean coast at Gruissan Plage near busy Narbonne.
Now it was time to turn north visiting Pézenas and the Cirque de Navacelles on the way to Millau. From there we drove across the barren Monts d'Aubrac and Cantal to the Plateau des Millevaches in the Limousin region and along the river Creuse to the Loire valley. Mainly driving on empty rural backroads we reached Monet's garden at Giverny before the last leg of our journey to Dieppe.
Our route around France 2016