Vive la France!

It’s been a few eventful days here in France. Off the ferry we headed south right away and came across a small town called Le Lude. The name belongs to the town as well as the castle, which was stunning. It is one of the last remaining important historical castles in France and is still lived in by the same family for the past 260 years. Very impressive!

After that we eventually enden up in a lovely campsite called Terre D’Entente just outside Saumur. If you’re ever in the area please camp there. The owners are Stéphanie and Raphaël who are super lovely. It used to be a municipal site but the council decided to sell it and the prices are still more than fair. It’s directly on the river Loire and has a proper sandy beach where you can watch an amazing sunset. The water was beautifully refreshing and exactly what we needed after a hot day on the road.

We cycled into Saumur the next morning to check out their impressive castle as well as the town, following the cycle path all the way. The views from the castle are breathtaking and we even pinched a few grapes from the little vineyard around the castle walls. The little umbrella display in town reminded us about the city of Bath a they had the same thing a few years ago.

We moved on further south as the weather forecast wasn’t looking too good and a short while later we arrived in a nice little campsite in La Garette. However, all that driving didn’t save us from a massive storm with thunder, lightning and loads of rain that night. It was a most surreal experience, the day was perfect, hot and sunny until 9-10pm with no wind at all, until all of a sudden what started like a little breeze picked up and a few minutes later branches were falling all around us. We hurried to pack the awning and table away so we could move the truck and while I jumped up in the tent to close all the ‘doors’ Alex was locking the bikes to the Landy and ended up in the tent a few minutes later all drenched. We lay awake for quite some time listening to this massive storm. What a humbling experience.

After a nice lay-in we woke up to quite a messy campsite and cloudy skies. We decided to explore the area by bike as we saw a cycle path on the way here. I saw on the map already that there is a network of little waterways and as it turns out we were in the middle of the second largest wetland in France called Marais Poitevin. It is one of the richest natural habitats in France, with over 250 species of birds of which 130 nest in the marshes, 44 species of mammals, 23 species of amphibians and reptiles, 322 species of fish and over 700 species of wild flora have been recorded.

We cycled into a little beautiful town called Coulon and stocked up on beer. After heading back to the camp for lunch we decided to cycle the other side of the path and explored the surrounding villages. We even came across two Coypo’s, which is a large rodent and very cute looking. There were fruit trees and vegetable fields everywhere and we were cheeky and stopped by several fences and ate of bushes and trees. Nothing beats sunripened fruits!

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