Tag Archives: Camping

1975: 18 Aug, Lez-Eaux, France

During the night, it rained quite heavily; it had certainly been very cloudy in the evening. Sarah and Gareth slept in the little tent and Andrew had his half of the trailer all to himself which pleased him very much. Sarah awoke us all at about 7am all bright and cheerful and we eventually had breakfast at 8.0ish – croissants, French bread, raisin bran and Wonderloaf according to taste… Afterwards the holiday books were written up, with a certain amount of grumbling.

Went into Granville and parked at a meter, then walked along the narrow little street to the beach by the casino. Sandy beach with rocks, and lots of young, pearly oyster shells about which we collected.When we couldn’t hold any more shells, decided we’d better get back to the car with them. Shops seemed quite expensive in Granville, but they were mostly shut anyway as it was Monday.

At lunch time, we looked for the Relais in Granville and were somewhat horrified at its 18Fr lunch so we drive on to Sartilly to the Vieux Logis. Here the menu was 16Fr so we went in and ordered 4 assiettes. David, Sarah, Gareth and I all began with moules marinière which were absolutely delicious and mountains of them. Andrew had tomatoes vinaigrette, delicately shunning the mussels. Then we all had steak, sauté potatoes and salad, again delicious and bien cuit. We drank a red wine called Excellence, and they had an Anjou rosé. To finish up we all had a peach except for David who had a coffee ice-cream. It was all very delicious and the place was full of French people, including lorry drivers of course.

The weather by now was being very nice and sunny, we went to the nearest beach which was Carolles, and was big and sandy with a rocky headland at the southern end. There were lots of people about, all French, and we spent a very pleasant afternoon there. The children and David went into the sea which was quite warm, and Sarah enjoyed herself on the surfboard. Andrew swam out to the raft. Later, when the tide came in they all made seaweed castles, there were immense quantities of seaweed being washed in.

It was interesting to see the differences between the French and English approach to the seaside resort. No deck chairs for sale – most people sat on the sand. Volley ball nets were set up and free to all. Very little in the way of candy floss etc. though there were some men selling ice-cream walking up and down the beach. Certainly very little of the ultra-chic beach outfits which the Daily Telegraph had assured us would make us all feel very dowdy when we got the French beaches.

Reluctantly left at about 6.0 as the clouds began to move in – the Iles Chausey were totally obscured after being brilliantly clear. When we got back to the camp we had a bacon and egg tea, with fresh fruit, and the children played table tennis afterwards with David. Retired quite early, feeling ruined after a busy day.

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1975: France – Aug 17, Hornchurch to Lez-Eaux, Cotentin

Awakened at a dreadful hour 5.45am (I think!) and dressed, packed ice-box and picnic bag, got into the car and drove off more asleep than awake except for Sarah who was revoltingly lively.

Drove to Southampton along quite peaceful roads and breakfasted at the service station on the M3 which was very nice, lots of choice of cereals, hot food etc. Filled petrol tank at Southampton and drove to docks where we then sat for hours – our line was the last one on, and we got very cross watching everyone else sail on and get places to sit.

Our boat was the Vikint Venturer, a large ship with terrific capacity for cars etc. and we had to go ‘upstairs’. Then got seats in the restaurant part and ate our bacon sandwiches and drank our orange juice, and looked around. Weather misty and drizzling, sea calm.

Boat sailed at 10.30am and for at least 1 1/2 hours we were sailing past the Isle of Wight. Good view of Alum Bay and the Needles, lots of sailing boats out and some very fast power boats zipping around. Went to the duty free shops and stocked up with gin, Martini, sherry, and cigarettes and tobacco for Grandad’s birthday – it was a little supermarket in fact, not a shop, and very well stocked. Price far too high really, but they have one over a barrel in these situations. Large numbers of people on board, lots of whom were sitting on the floor which seemed a scandalous state of affairs.

Arrived at Cherbourg at 3.30pm-ish and were promptly off the boat, driving through the back streets of picturesque Cherbourg… Followed some amazing straight roads to Valognes, Coutances and finally Granville. Streets of Granville seething with traffic, crowds everywhere. To add to the fun, we had no idea where the site was, and there were remarkably few sites about anyway. Drove desperately round narrow, jammed streets, time was getting on and we were getting worried. Finally stopped at the Syndicat d’Initiatif and got directions (and the impression that it was not the first time they’d been asked that question!).

Found the site, drove in, went to the office and discovered the site was full…! What a gruesome moment, after all that searching. Said hopefully that we were hoping to stay 6-7 nights. Mme said dubiously that peut-être… they had been let down by people who said they were staying and then went after a day or two… we assured her we weren’t intending going;.. so she decided we could stay, thank heaven, despite the fact that they were really ‘complet’. Heaved a great sigh of relief and followed young Nicolas on his bicycle to a very nice spacious pitch where we thankfully pitched our tent and the little tent, opened some tins and had a tasty supper of Cup-a-Soup, Chunky Chicken and rice, and fresh fruit, and the remains of Gareth’s birthday cake.

The site is very pleasant, not a bit crowded, and surrounded by peaceful fields and woods. There is a lake with water lilies in which one can fish, a games room, television room, showers, hot water and English loos as well as French (relief! relief!) and a farm selling fresh milk and eggs.

After the washing, retired to bed for a fairly early night, feeling very relieved to be here and encamped.