We took a look at the weather forecast and made a decision after Park Asterix to head south. Who in their right mind would go rainy caravanning when they could head for the sun? It was a no brainer. So here we are in the South of France. We like it here. A lot. We had planned to explore Brittany, but it is so close to England really, and it's not running away anywhere! We figured that we can go for a couple of weeks some other time.
So what have we been up to? As I mentioned before, we went to Park Asterix - It was absolutely brilliant, so much better than I could have imagined, partly because of all the rollercoasters and proper rides, but even moreso because they know and love the books and characters, Herbie in particular.
and after the busyness of a day there, we camped up in a beautiful wild spot in the forest about 45 minutes from there. It was lovely to walk and smell the mushroomy september smell of forest and wake in the night to absolute darkness, the kind you only get when you're totally off grid. Perfect.
We woke up to hard rain and decided to head south. Our next stop was Troyes. Troyes is a beautiful mediaeval timbered town....
and we stayed at a campsite nearby, with red squirrels darting here and there around us. So beautiful to see them. The most amazing thing in Troyes was also the most unexpected - for the first time in my whole life, I saw a hummingbird! In a pretty herb garden. It was the kids who named it - I was like, "wooooh that's awfully big for a moth.... and how come its wings are beating so fast?" It would never occur to me that it could be a hummingbird - they live in tropical places, right? And yet it was. I got to see up close, for a brief moment, tiny downy feathers, and the unmistakable way they sip at nectar with that long sucky thing (must look up proper word for this), I can't tell you how completely and utterly excited I was. I feel so privileged to have seen it! Such a delicate thing, such a tiny and perfect creature. Wow.
After this we made a stop at Lyon - to visit the building where the Lumiere brothers made the first ever film, although when we got there most of the building was closed for renovations - thankfully there was lots of visual stuff in the park all around it and in the street, so it wasn't a totally wasted journey...
We freecamped that night in a hillside village spot, and moved on early next day. Next stop: a lovely chilled out, remote lakeside campsite near Montelimar. - Montelimar is the 'Capital of Nougat' and the signs on the motorway say 'Nougat' with a huge arrow - what's not to love? And what a sweet place it was. Nougat factories lined the road going into Montelimar, and one place our trusty DK France for Families book recommended was the amazing Palais de BonBons - a nougat factory where you could see the production line up close behind a glass screen set within a fantastic multicoloured eye-popping museum and shrine to all things candied, chocolate or sugared.
It struck the right balance between being fun and educational, with an indoor working beehive, artworks made out of sweets, and the World's largest nougat plus Guinness World Record Certificate to prove it.
Whilst we stayed here all the boys went to a really fun outdoor go-karting track as an early birthday treat for Finn, who has wanted to go Go Karting for ages, and even Alf had a go, who drove on a petrol powered one with his helmet on, going about 20mph! He loved it. The other boys went on a bigger track with more powerful cars, lots of fun.
I've so much more to write, about ponies and amphitheatres and forest exploits and photos to attach, but am tired and the laptop's about to run out of juice, so au revoir for now!
Love and baguettes,
xX Le MF Xx