July 26, 2009 GMT
France Continued

Day 4 - 14/06/09
Surprisingly we got up at 7:30m, the camp was ok and we both had a good nights sleep. Had breakfast, (muesli) the milk in France seemed to be ok, nothing special, in fact it had a little bit of a strange taste but you get used to it and before any of you smart alecís say any thing, no it wasnít off. After our showers and breakfast we packed as much as we could and headed back to Le Mont St Michael, leaving our tent and possessions at the camp site securely locked away. We parked the bike in the car park, which they had the cheek to charge you for. We walked up to the city walls and went in, the inside was pretty spectacular. The main building itís self was superb, we didnít see all of it but what we did see was very impressive with great views all though the tide was out, again, so we can only imagine how much better it looks with the tide in. After we spent an hour an a half wondering around the city walls (we say city because once you get in thatís exactly what it is) we decided that it was time that we should get going. Once we were back at the bike we met two other on bikes too and they gave us a few handy hints on what route to take through the Pyrenees and some other roads that we would appreciate. When we got back to the camp site we pulled up next to the tent and I noticed that the door was open, I automatically panicked and as soon as the bike came to a stand still I jumped off to investigate, thankfully nothing was missing, even though it was all locked up they still had access to the panniers, they may not be able to get into them but they would be able to take them. We were on the road again by 11am, heading for Rennes and wanted to be in Nantes by lunch time.

Le Mont St Michael

The journey was a good one today the roads were pretty quiet as it was a Sunday and the scenery was great too, we headed from Rennes to Nantes via La Roche for fuel and it would be a day for us if we didnít get lost and boy we did.
Not only did we get lost, the weather was hitting about 30 degrees without a cool breeze. This was without a doubt the hottest day either of us had had for about 3 years. Again we got lost, we had taken a wrong turn and wasnít on the road that I thought we were on, in fact we were on the right road, we were just heading in the wrong direction. (that may have been my fault.) We passed through a little village called Lucon so we stopped for little while to try and cool down. We both liked the look of the village and wondered if there was a camp site in the near by area. No such luck, we pulled all our hot sweaty gear back on and got onto the road one more time.

So off we trot after consulting the Sat nav to another little village called la Tranche sur mer, we were both relieved when we saw from the street signs that there was a camp site and headed in the direction of the camp site. We Stayed at The Cobra 2 star camp site after the municipal campsite reception was closed. 17.94 euros !!!! No toilet paper. Putting the tent up, I managed to force it so hard into its slot that it actually snapped, oops. We fixed it with Gaffer tape and we will see how long it will hold for. We made dinner and then did another thin down of our stuff, we came to realise that we were carrying way too much weight and if we wanted to stay on a budget we would have to get food from supermarkets and at the moment there wasnít much room in the panniers, so we said goodbye to about half a pannier. Including a pair of jeans a couple of tops and pair of shoes and a few other things. We went off to bed happy with the decisions we had made.

Day 5 - 15/06/09
We slept pretty well until the heavens opened. It rained through most of the night and again in the morning, although it did stop long enough to get everything on the bike and almost ready to go or so we thought. Just as we were about the take the tent down, down it poured one more time and all we could do was sit in the tent and wait for it to stop. Eventually it stopped, we took the tent down as quickly as we could put the rest of the things on to the bike and off we went, waving goodbye to the very expensive campsite. We had decided to head for the south of Bordeaux and find a campsite somewhere around there.

Along the way we stopped in McDonalds in Saintes to use the free wifi (all McDonalds have free wifi in France) and went also went to Super U to stock up on food as our Tesco supplies where starting to run low. Surprise, surprise we got very lost trying to bypass Bordeaux and ended up riding to the coast towards Carcans. Not going south at all and but back up north. We were too far in the wrong direction but it was getting too late to turn around and come back. So we kept going until we could find a camp site. After seeing some tents from the side of the road we stopped and asked the people if they knew where a camp site was. Just prior to this stop I had a hissy fit about getting lost and the apparent lack of camping sites. Lots of pony parks and other totally useless things (to us) but no campsites.

We got directed to Brach and a possible site. When we got there we found it almost completely empty except for two rather dodgy looking types, showing a bit of interest in us. We where not gong to stick around until an English couple drove in and parked next to us. They soon offered us dinner and of course we accepted. They were a lovely couple from Chester that own a caravan on the site and had been going to there for 7 years. Dinner was great and we chatted till the small hours of the following morning, after having such and long and stressful day we had decided that we should get to bed. We thanked them for a lovely meal and off we went next door to our tent.

Day 6 - 16/06/09
Got up at normal time and packed up the castle, we said our goodbyes to John and Anne. The lady that owned the site had still not tuned up so we left with out paying armed with how to bypass Bordeaux easily. The weather was now gradually getting hotter and hotter and our textile bike pants were sticking to our legs so Jo decided to wear her Hornee bike jeans for the first time on the trip.
On our way out of the camp site our new found friends had told us of a couple of places to visit if we were interested. One of them was Europe's largest sand dune at Arcachon. So off we headed in that general direction. It took us a little while to find it, yeah yeah funny I know, How can you miss a giant sand dune? Well we did but we eventually found it, we paid 1.50 to park and walk up it. It was pretty cool and the views form the top were amazing. After the previous days fun we decided that a short day on the bike was in order and headed for St Jean de Luz. This also let us say in France for one more day and night. We managed to ride through a really cool thunder storm and stopped under a bridge to put on our water proofs and jumpers. We arrived in St Jean around 6 and after riding up the odd foot path, we found a 2 star beach campsite just outside St Jean de Luz. 17 Euros, with a great view of the Pyrenees. We Setup camp and had bolognaise with pasta. Very nice if we do say so our selves. We watched a beautiful sunset and retired quite early for the crossing of Pyrenees and on to Papolma the next day.

Europe's Biggest Sand Dune

The Beautiful Sunset

Posted by Rob Mott at July 26, 2009 02:00 PM GMT

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