The Casino on the Lake
German casemates with 150mm guns, which were designed to hit targets some 20km away
The impressive nuclear-powered ballistic submarine "Le Redoutable" (128 m long)
Elizabeth castle in St. Hélier
A working Cotentin wind mill with expendable blades. Unfortunately it was closed today Sunday.
Wednesday 09/08/2017: Nantes Airport - Abbaretz: 70 km, 20ºC rainy
Julia arrived at 11:50 in Nantes. Drive to a Shopping Centre where we did some grocery shopping. Drive to the CL France Passion La Bautrais, an idyllic place near a forest. First BBQ (eating inside) and siesta. N47º34'11" W1º30'48".
Thursday 10/08/2017: Abbaretz - Ducey - Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët: 173 km, 18ºC rainy
Drive to the nice Norman town of Ducey where we did a little sightseeing. Parking at the Route de Saint Quention (N48º37'30" W1º17'40"). On our way to Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët we had our rear inner tyre repaired (the valve was damaged) by EURL Ducey Automobiles (02.33.48.50.74, firstname.lastname@example.org, 5 route de Saint-Hilaire, 50220 Ducey). They were fast and efficient! Drive to Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët where we settled at the Plan d'Eau du Prieuré. Walk through the town and we bought a bottle of cidre du Cotantin with 2 other bottles of red wine. N48º34'2"2 W01º5'17"
Friday 11/08/2017: St-Hilaire-du-Harcouët - Mortain - St-Germain-de-Tallevende-la-Vende-Laumont/La Petite Fosse/Vire: 36 km, 20ºC sunny/cloudy
Before driving to Mortain, we did some grocery shopping at a nice Carrefour Market. In Mortain, we parked at the Place du Château (N48º38'56" W 0º56'42"). Walk to the Petite and Grande Cascade and Abbaye Blanche (3 km, 2 hours). Drive to a certificated location (CL) from our France Passion book at Ferme Auberge La petite Fosse because the aire in Sourdeval was in construction. With our bicycles we rode to Vire and went up the clock tower (free of charge!) which was part of the town wall. Before long we realised one tyre of Volker's bicycle was flat although we had put air on all the tyres before leaving. At the tourist centre they had a "first kit" set, so Volker tried to find the whole but with no succes. So he inflated the tyre and we went to the Cycles Bocage shop about 2 km away and he had the tube exchanged (12€). Back to our camper with lots of ups and downs! At 19:00 we went for dinner at our Auberge (Apéro kir cidre 40€). The lady owner is pregnant up to her throat (actually tomorrow would be the birth date). N48º48'47" W0º52'56"
Saturday 12/08/2017: La Petite Fosse/Vire - Clécy (Norman Swiss) 54 km - 21ºC, cloudy, rain, sun, windy
Drive to Val Mérienne where Volker did the hike Vallon du Cresme (Rother 28, 1:20h, 7 km, 130 m ascent). Drive to Clécy, settled at aire of Clécy (free of charge). After the siesta we walked 100 m into town and had a coffee at the Patisserie on the main square. We took water (2€ jetons for 10 min. waters). Overnight next to the tennis courts and retirement home N48º55'8" W0º28'51"
Sunday 13/08/2017: Clécy - Hiking: 22ºC cloudy/sunny
Hike up to the Pain de Sucre, Rochers de la Houle and Rochers des Parcs (2,5 hours, 13,5 km, 330 m ascent - Julia did a short-cut at the end). Drink (cidre) at the nice looking and supposedly very good "La Gavotine" in Saint-Omer. BBQ "at home" and we called it a day.
Monday 14/08/2017: Clécy - Falaise - Pont d'Ouilly - Roche d'Oëtre: 63 km, 27ºC sunny
Visit of the Château Guillaume le Conquérant (8€ pax with iPad showing the places how they were). Interesting and well done. Then we walked to the Avenue Automates with an exhibition of old animated figures, like those that were on display at Galeries Lafayette at Christmas time. Drive to Pont d'Ouilly where we booked a canoe tour for tomorrow at 9am. Drive to Roche d'Oëtre, visit of the various rock formations. A Leffe brune at the café then back to our camper. We stayed overnight on the parking lot N48º49'48" W0º22'55"
Tuesday 15/08/2017: Roche d'Oëtre - Pont d'Ouilly - Lac de Rabodanges - Ménil-Gondouin - Ballou-en-Houlme (alt 240 m): 61 km, 25ºC sunny/cloudy
Today is Assumption Day. That's when some people in France drive back home from their summer holidays. We drove to Pont d'Ouilly to start our canoe tour (5 km down the Orne River, 28 €). We were the first and only ones at 9 am so it was really great, calm and smooth, not like yesterday afternoon. Drive to Lac de Rabodanges where we did the hike #31 "Gorges de St-Aubert" from the Normandie Rother Wanderfuehrer book (9,7 km, 240 m ascent, 4 hours with picnic break). A jar of cider at the end at Palm Beach (4,50 € for 1/2 liter) and afterwards drive to the Ménil-Gondouin church. Then drive to a CL FP (Certificated Location France Passion) at the "La Foulerie" (not so interesting, especially as the owners are on holidays and a son attended us). They have a small aire next to millions of blackberries. N48º40'11" W0º27'39"
Wednesday 16/08/2017: Ballou-en-Houlme - Bagnoles-de-l'Orne - Forêt des Andaines (alt 284 m): 39 km, 23ºC sunny/cloudy
Drive to Bagnoles-de-l'Orne where we did the very nice circular sightseeing tour of the town (6 km, 2 hours). Then we walked through the forest behind our aire (N48º33'31" W0º24'48"). The thermal centre of Bagnoles-de-l'Orne has a rich architecture of Belle Epoque houses and palaces. And a lot of nice forests. Drive to Etoile d'Andaines in the Forêt des Andaines. Found a nice parking area with picnic tables at the Aire Touristique de l'Etoile d'Andaines. First thing was a Gin Tonic, then Volker did a bicycle tour through the forest (13 km, 0h45). N48º35'21" W0º29'33"
Thursday 17/08/2017: Forêt des Andaines - Saint-Céneri-le Gérei (alt 120 m): 47 km, 25ºC rainy with sometimes a bit of sun
Drive to the Supermarket Casino in Bagnoles-de-l'Orne where we managed to do the laundry at the outdoor machines and buy some groceries in the supermarket. We took water in Couterne at the parking from the Mairie/Post Office. Drive to Saint-Cénerie-le-Gérei and walk up to Les Jardins de la Mansonière (6€ pax). Back in town we had an ice-cream (4,50€ at the Echoppe Gourmande and bought a "Poiré", which we will drink tonight (5,90 €). A stroll through town and along the River Sarthe. N48º22'47" W0º3'17"
Friday 18/08/2017: Saint-Céneri-le Gérei - Honfleur: 158 km, 20ºC rainy then sunny
Drive to Honfleur. Settled at Aire de Camping-Car at the harbour (11€ per 24 hours). We arrived at 11am and there were already many campers entering the site. We set off at 12:00 and after 10 minutes we were ordering oysters at l'Hippocampe - Marché aux Poissons (10€ for 6 oysters and a glass wine). After getting a map at the tourist office we walked through the charming town. Lunch at Auberge du Vieux Clocher (9 rue de l'Homme de Bois, 70€ very good). During our lunch there was a lot of rain but after that weather kept stable with the sun coming out. We walked 12 km through, up and down Honfleur. We visited the Jardin des Personnalités, which features figures from Honfleur history. A coffee at l'Albatros (11,60€!) on the Vieux Bassin. In the evening we went to a Korean concert, part of the programme of the Korean Culture Festival in Honfleur. When we came back we had galette with chestnut spread and pommeau. N49º25'08" E0º14'27"
Saturday 19/08/2017: Honfleur: 0 km, 19ºC, rainy in the morning, then sunny
Today is Julia's BIRHTDAY - so I (Volker) am doing all the work (at least the web page). After celebrating in the morning, we had a great lunch at "Fleur de Sel" in Honfleur (160 Euro for us both). In the afternoon visit of Les Maisons Satie -this complex captures the whimsical spirit of the eccentric avant-garde composer Erik Satie (1866-1925) (6€ pax) then a ride up the Ferris wheel, a relaxing walk around and in Honfleur and a cider drink in the evening. Before going back to our RV, a visit at the Korean Culture Festival Concert. We celebrated from midnight to midnight.
Sunday 20/08/2017: Honfleur - Arromanches-Les-Bains: 107 km, 18ºC cloudy
Drive to the "Le Mémorial - Un Musée pour la Paix", an excellent museum devoted to the Battle of Normandy in Caen (30€ pax for 3 museums: Cinema Circulaire 360º in Arromanches and La Mer in Cherbourg). We spent 5 hours wandering through this really well done museum. At 16:00 we drove to Arromanches-Les-Bains where we settled at the parking on the cliffs with perfect sea view (6€/night), which in this place shows impressive remains of 3 dozen caissons belong to the Mulberry B/Port Winston, artificial port constructed by the British in 1944 in order to unload the vast quantities of cargo needed by the invasion forces. A total of 146 massive cement caissons were towed over from England and sunk to form two semicircular breakwaters in which floating bridge spans were moored. In the 3 months after D-Day, the Mulberries facilitated the unloading of 2.5 million men, 4 million tonnes of equipment and 500.000 vehicles. A short walk into town down the hill, a good ice-cream and back home. N49º20'21" W0º36'48"
Monday 21/08/2017: Arromanches-Les-Bains - Hike to Longues-sur-Mer - Englesqueville-la-Percée: 33 km, 24ºC sunny
First thing this morning -of course after breakfast- was to go to the Cinema Circular 360º which we didn't really like because it was all about sound effects (bombing etc.). Drive down into town where we parked at the official camper area (free of charge but cramped). Walk to Cap Manvieux and Longues-sur-Mer (13 km, 3h45 with break). We visited all the casemates that still hold the huge artillery pieces (155mm German guns) in their colossal concrete emplacements. Drive to the Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial (free of charge). White marble crosses and Stars of David stretch off in seemingly endless rows. It contains the graves of 9387 American soldiers; but only about 40% of American war dead from the fighting in Normandy are interred in this cemetery -the rest were repatriated at the request of their families. Overnight at the Ferme de la Rouge Fosse, which was supposed to cost around 8€ but we didn't find anybody or any information how to pay -maybe because the availabe 8 spaces were already talen and we were sharing one with another camper. N49º23'12" W0º56'54"
Tuesday 22/08/2017: Englesqueville-la-Percée - Pointe du Hoc - Cap Lévi - Cherbourg: 109 km, 24ºC sunny/cloudy
Visit of the Pointe du Hoc site (free of charge). Drive to Cap Lévi where we had a hearty lunch before walking to Fort Lévi and to the other side to the Beach of Mondrée (5 km, 1,5 hours). Drive to Cherbourg. We parked in front ot "Cité de la Mer" and went for a walk into town. Dinner at "Le Plouc 2" (very good 60 €). N49º38'41" W1º37'35"
Wednesday 23/08/2017: Cherbourg - Gréville-Hague (alt 138 m) : 18 km, 21ºC cloudy
At 9h30 we entered the "Cité de la Mer" exhibition (18€ pax, but we had a package for 3 museums). The highlight is the nuclear-powered ballistic submarine "Le Redoutable" that can be seen from inside with good explanations (audio guides free of charge), but all other parts, like the Titanic, the Aquarium and explanations about diving missions are well done and interesting. Drive along the Route des Caps to Greville-Hague where we settled at the aire de camping-cars (free of charge). There is a bakery of Sophie and Sébastien Defay just 30m from our camper and we are surprised how much success it has: lots of people coming from elsewhere buy here. And they have delicious pastry "grévillais" with different fruit fillings! I think Volker went 3 times this afternoon to get something there. After dinner we went for a short walk in town. N49º40'31" W1º48'5".
Thursday 24/08/2017: Gréville-Hague - Cap de la Hague: 12 km?, 24ºC sunny
Drive to the aire for camping-cars between Auderville and Cap de la Hague (free of charge). Bicycle ride up the hill then fish & chips & cider in Goury before going home. Walk along the Sentier du Littoral from Port Racine to Goury (12 km, 100 m ascent, 3 hours, Rother Wanderbuch Normandie #17). At home we had cheese, baguette and red wine.
Friday 25/08/2017: Cap de la Hague - Nez de Jobourg - Caterets : 58 km, sunny 25ºC
Drive to the parking lot of Nez de Jobourg (which is also a very plaisant aire at N49º40'41" W1º56'19" free of charge). Hike around the Nez de Jobourg starting from the Auberge des Grottes (13 km, 3h30, 350 m ascent). For the first time we were able to enjoy a lunch stop at the Crêperie La Gavelette in Dannery (42€ very good). Drive to Caterets and parking next to the harbour "Gare Maritime". We made the reservations to board the boat to Jersey tomorrow (63€ pax + bus day pass 13€ pax - not worthwhile buying in advance, many better options on the island). Let's see. Promenade through town before having dinner with wine and cheese. N49º22'18" W1º47'25".
Saturday 26/08/2017: Caterets - Jersey - Carteret-Barneville: 18ºC sunny in Jersey
At 9:00 we were at the ticket booth for the ferry at 10:00 because we had to exchange our reservation for the actual tickets. The ferry left at 10:00 and we arrived at 10:10 (local time). Interesting to notice that all the island is really British except for the names that are often in French. First thing we did was to eat Cornish pasties at the Liberty Wharf Shopping Center. Wander through the capital St. Hélier, then we took a bus that drove to Gorey beach on the east side of the island. Then we went to the Jersey zoo, which holds many rare creatures on 32 acres parkland (18£ pax) and is really pleasant to wander trough. Back in St. Hélier we had lunch/dinner at Hectors Fish & Chips restaurant (very good 42£). Then we walked to People's park where there was a Portuguese Food Festival but we didn't enter the fair's grounds when we saw that there were mostly carousels and furthermore they required an entrance fee. We then continued our walk along St. Aubin's Bay and eventually caught a bus at First Tower who took us up to St. Aubin's Harbour. After a few minutes (!) we took a bus back to Liberation Station in time to go to the ferry station where they require passengers to be 1 hour before departure (but in fact 1/2 hour would be more than enough). So we left at 19:35 and were back in Carteret at 21:45.
Sunday 27/08/2017: Carteret-Barneville - Lessay: 45 km, 27ºC sunny
Volker did the hike to the dunes in Hatainville (10 km, 2 hours, 150 m ascent) while Julia stayed "at home". Drive to Fierville-Les-Mines to see the working wind mill but today it was closed. Drive to Lessay where we found a nice aire Place du Cloud (with water, sewage free of charge). We enjoyed the nice place with a BBQ lunch, then we did a short bicycle tour around town. N49º13'5" W1º32'10"
Monday 28/08/2017: Lessay - Coutances - Cap de Grouin du Sud - Ducey: 127 km, very hot and damp 32ºC
Laundry this morning in the little town of Lessay. We had programmed a bicycle ride along the Via Verde to Perier, but unfortunately the front wheel of Volker's old bicycle was flat and he didn't manage to repair it. So we drove to a Decathlon in Coutances but they didn't have the right size for the bike, but Julia found some good things (like a ballet dress for Mara). We drove to Cap de Grouin du Sud where you get a good sight of Mont St. Michel. We walked around the cape (7 km, 1,5 hours) and when we were back we noticed that our camper is losing a bit of oil. We then drove to Iveco Martenat (it was already 18:35) and a mechanic told us to come tomorrow morning. Overnight at the aire in Ducey (loud) N48º43'28" W1º17'37"
Nice town of Coulon in Vendée
Château des Montgommery
Aire at the Plan d'Eau du Prieuré
Aire next to the mini campground
We were heartly welcomed at the nice aire Ferme Auberge La Petite Fosse (France Passion) near Saint-Germain-de-Tallevende
Drinking cider at the Palm Beach
Our aire at the FP CL "La Foulerie"
Treasures of the Belle Epoque district
Town hall, a former private owned palace, seen from the front and side
The flat stones show marks of Ligula reevii (shellfish attached by one foot) and tracks left by archaic arthropods (trilobites)
Walk through the forest in Bagnoles-d'Ornes
The beach of Honfleur
Celebrating Julia's birthday
Trying to get up the roll
A bunker with a ramp for the search light
Aire de Camping-Cars in Cap de la Hague
View to the Cap de la Hague from our parking site
Walk to the Dunes d'Hattainville
Mont Orgueil Castle, Gorey Beach
Laundry in Lessay
Mont Saint Michel
A nice giant bouquet
Clock tower in Vire and view from above
William the Conqueror's castle
Château Guillaume le Conquérant
The guards spent their free time playing games and graving on the wall stones
The former "Grand Hotel"
The villages in the Normandie take particular pride in keeping lots of beautiful flowers decorating the streets and squares
Les Jardins de la Mansonière. An English garden with various themes
Korean concert at Le Grenier du Sel
Impressive remains from the pontoons
Cidre en moque in Dannery
Fish & Chips at Hectors
On our way from Nantes to Normandy, we stayed overnight at the beautiful aire from France Passion in Abbaretz
Our appetizer and dessert for today
The not so "grande cascade"
Nice aire with spectacular view on Rochers de la Houle and Rochers des Parcs, a canyon of the Orne river
Apéritif with Pommeau which my sister recommended to us
There are two paragliding start points. We can watch them from our aire
Break at the La Gaviotine in Saint-Omer
The Church in Ménil-Gondouin decorated by the priest Victor Paysant in 1873!
Art Deco Sacré-Cœur church built in 1937
Walking on a high string at the forest adventure park in Bagnoles-D'Orne
During WW2 the Germans used the forest as a good hidden storage for amunition, food and much more
Etoile d'Andaines, north-west of Bagnoles-de-l'Orne
Aire in Saint-Cénéri-le-Gérei
Having oysters at l'Hippocampe
RV Aire in Honfleur, from the Ferris wheel
Remains of the floating pontoons on the beach part of the Mulberry B. A total of 146 massive cement caissons were towed over from England and sunk to form two semicircular breakwaters in which floating bridge spans were moored. In the 3 months after DDay, the Mulberries facilitated the unloading of 2.5 millions men, 4 million tonnes of equipment and 500.000 vehicles
Our aire view sea and artificial port view
Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial: White marble crosses and Stars of David stretch off in seemingly endless rows. It contains the graves of 9387 American soldiers.
I found this enigmatic stone. It says:
"In memory of GENERAL DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER and the forces under his command: this sealed capsule containing
<_ news reports of the JUNE 6, 1944 _>
NORMANDY LANDINGS is placed here by the newsmen who were there
June 6, 1969
TO BE OPENED JUNE 6, 2044
Aire at Englesqueville-la-Percée at the Ferme de la Rouge Fosse
On 6 June 29144, 225 US Army Rangers scaled the steep high cliffs of Pointe du Hoc. By repellingfierce German counterattacks for two days, 81 of the rangers had been killed and 58 more had been wounded!
Today the site, which France turned over to the US government in 1979, looks much as it did right after the battle, with the earth still pitted with huge bomb craters.
German war cemetery
Plage de la Mondrée
Parking and overnight site in front of "Cité de la Mer"
A sweet sea horse
Exhibition about the "Titanic"
Having fish & chips at this kiosk in Goury
... with delicious galettes and crêpes
Poor guy, maybe he had too much cider?
The Jersey ferry arriving in Carteret
Our parking and overnight site next to the ferry terminal
Beach of Carteret with a very busy restaurant
By ferry from Carteret to St. Hélier
... and local beer "Liberation Ale"
Asian small clawed otters
Jersey ice cream, very good!
St. Aubin's Harbour
This flower looks like a cloverleaf!
Walk around the Cape Grouin du Sud in 32ºC
The very helpful tourist office had all the equipment to inflate the rear tube of Volker's bike. Then we were able to drive to a bicycle shop to have it repaired