The village of Buzancy in Ardenne!!

We arrived next at Campsite De La Chaume, a quaint nice little campsite that had a relaxed atmosphere and very friendly, helpful owners, the camp is placed beside a small stream amongst a small patch of woodland and nearby to the small town of Corcieux…..

 

 

We stayed here for 8 nights from the 30th June to the morning of the 8th July and to be fair we did very little exploring during this stay as the temperatures where a high 30°+ and our poor little Toffi was battling with the heat and pretty much unwilling to move far from the Endless breeze fan that seemed to be on constantly for her, with an added device of a wet dog cooling towel wrapped around her belly, although I have to admit I was pretty much enjoying sitting close to the fan with some cuddles thrown in too!!!…

It’s not wise to walk a dog in extreme heat and I certainly didn’t want her feeling unwell so chill time took over and we relaxed and allowed Toffi to determine when was and wasn’t a good time for walkies!!! We had purchased Toffi one of those gel filled cooling pads for her to lounge upon on sunny warm days but after her only using it a couple of times her claws had torn the outer material and the gel started seeping out from the inside… so I was glad that at the same time I had purchased the dog cooling towel which is much more hardy… I have no idea how these work but once wet down they remain cold to the touch and you either lay it across their belly or around their necks and I must admit it actually works a treat… she thoroughly loved it and happily laid with it over her belly keeping her nice and cool back at the motorhome!!!

 

We literally only managed to walk the short distance to the village on a couple of occasions during our stay, even then Toffi struggled on one of those trips… so we didn’t get many photo’s of the place as we were more concerned with keeping the dog cool in the streams along the way than we were with taking photos…

There were some other Brits on site who we chatted and made friends with, one chap called Richard who funny enough originated from Saltash, and is friends with the owners of a camp we shall be visiting in a few weeks time, hopefully we can get together at some point when back in the UK and chat about all of our adventures and equipment over a few glasses of wine…

As mentioned we left Camp Chaume on the morning of the 8th July 2018 at 9.30am we had for us anyway a long 200km journey to our next camp, we also had to get grocery shopping, so we made that our 1st stop… shopping done by 10.30am and us €190 lighter, then with diesel purchased and another €70 lighter off we set, food shop costs in France seem obscenely expensive and to be honest in some supermarkets the fresh food doesn’t seem to keep very long, unless you are fortunate enough to buy it from local farmers markets where the fruit and veg available are much fresher…  so we tend to do fortnightly big shops we fill the freezer and fridge with enough to keep us going for a couple of weeks!!! If we come across a local market that is always a bonus!!!

I hadn’t adjusted the satnav since Switzerland and it was still set to Toll roads etc we decided to keep it on for the tolls mainly because we were already expecting it to take us approx 6+ hours and so we didn’t mind if we hit the toll motorways in the hope that it may have sped up the travelling time, but to be fair although we hit the motorways we didn’t hit any toll motorways and as expected we managed to roll into the next camp at 4.30pm after… yep 6 hours driving…

We stopped for a couple of short 10 minute breaks along our way for Toffi to relieve herself, stretch her legs and for us to snatch a quick sip of coffee from a flask and a snack for ourselves, luckily in France no Lorries are allowed to drive on the roads over the weekends unless carrying essential perishable food based products, being used for essential food based production or if they are carrying livestock… this means the roads are much lighter on heavy goods vehicle traffic but the laybys and truck stops are full with lorries waiting for Monday so they may start to move on, this meant that on a couple of our attempted rest stops we were unable to park and were forced to move onto find the next chance of stopping…

 

 

France is such a slow country to drive through, but to be honest it’s also a great country to drive through its so scenic and tranquil but no matter how hard I try the speed and mileage just don’t seem to add up for me… for example it seems to take us on average 1 whole hour to drive just 30 kms/18.5 miles according to the satnav, no matter what type roads we take, partly this is due to us being in a large vehicle with dimensions of 3.2m in height 7.2m in length and on top of that towing a trailer, so we are further restricted by laws here to HGV speed of just 55 mph on motorways/dual carriageways, sometimes up to 50 mph on single carriageways, 30 mph down to 18 or less mph through some towns or built up areas…  so yep its slow and steady all the way through France… should be fun on our next journey as its approx 280 kms distance from here so should be a good 8+ hrs driving… we will see!!!

We had pre-booked and paid for a comfort part grass and part hardstanding pitch for a whopping 30 nights at our next stop La Samaritaine, we figured the school holidays are starting and the sites are starting to get busy so the same as we handled the Christmas period we thought it was better to find somewhere settle in and sit the family holiday season out…  the site knew our dimensions and needs before we arrived so we also knew we would get pitched up without trouble…

True to their word once we did finally arrive tired and beaten from the long journey we were given a choice of 4 different suitable pitches, there was one pitch that Pete really liked the look of it was really long but I decided it would be awkward to keep the dog under control leash wise and to play fair so that if a longer rig turns up they might well need that space, so we chose pitch 83 instead it’s still plenty big enough for us, we eagerly got ourselves set up even getting the bikes out of the trailer straight away so that we would make sure we made use of them during our stay here!!!

The site is nice with large pitches we have a fully serviced pitch which means we have our own water/drain/electric on pitch this saves us from the worry of having to fill the water tank manually over that time period or even moving the motorhome to a water point to fill it when needed once set up which is always nice…

We have been here for 11 nights already… and much to my shame I haven’t even updated this blog in weeks… The site we are on is called La Samaritaine and run by a Dutch family it’s part of a group called Flower camping, it is clean tidy and very well maintained with a great, friendly, helpful reception team who all seem multilingual, I spoke with a lovely young lad briefly who must have been in his teens helping with the family business behind reception he stepped in when others were busy and spoke perfect English with me, was so gentlemanly and well mannered his parents have a lot to be proud of, there is a great takeaway cafe bar on site which also do good honest food and their chips are amazing… we’ve used it a few times already and we were very grateful it was there the evening we arrived being just too tired to cook something ourselves, you can even order a whole cooked chicken on a Sunday for €7 which was also lovely, if possible we plan to do this again on Sunday and make ourselves a lazy roast dinner with some roast potatoes, veg and gravy!!!

There is a large bone shaped pond on the outskirts of the camp where people can swim, although I admit I haven’t been brave enough to swim in yet as swimming in ponds isn’t really my thing… but there is a also a seperate beach part to it which is great for families and they are all having a great time there!!! The pond is also great for a relaxing picnic and walking the dog around in the cool hours of the day there are so many interesting types of insects here and the wildlife is abundant, so the pond has a great impact and seems to be an important part of the biodiversity here… we also had a small frog visit our camp pitch I very almost stood on the poor mite but I can assure you I made sure he was safe and well…

 

 

 

Just past the large pond is a small walk into the town, where horses graze in the fields on one side and cows in fields on the other side there are 2 interesting semi circular buildings along this route, one which is sadly almost derelict belonging to the bovine area part of the structure the other renovated into stables and clearly for the Equine half of the structure but both great magnificent buildings now and in their past nonetheless…

 

 

It was the important French day of Bastille on the 14th July here and the French get to celebrate the French revolution and from what I can gather the storming of Bastille prison to release the political prisoners… obviously we couldn’t let it pass without buying a few bottles of wine for reception to share out between their diners on site so they could raise a glass between themselves for their special day of celebrations!!!

We strolled into the nearby town where we found the ATM upstairs in a locked building a local man allowed me to follow him in to gain access to the cash machine and I promptly broke the bank door on the way out much to an older couples horror… it was one of those situations where you wish the ground to open up and swallow you whole… I apologised and quickly made for my escape!!!

The rest of the walk in the town was pleasant enough we took photos, relaxed on a local bench surrounded by pretty flower beds and took interest into the history of the buildings and statues in the town…

 

The weather has been so very hot 30°+ with mostly full on sunshine and blue skies since we have been here with just a couple of cooler days, on those days we had managed to venture out, the rest of the time Toffi and I can be found sheltering and trying our hardest to keep cool inside, shaded away from the hot sun… whilst Pete can be found sat outside on a lounger enjoying the sun and heat, topping up his tan!!!

Well hopefully we shall have more to tell you regarding the lovely area before our time here is up until then take care…

Donna x

Campsite De La Chaume 8 nights total cost €105/€13.1pn also collected 1 stamp for our sites & paysages free stay and another stamp into the next claim booklet (as they are only allowed one stamp per booklet to gain us 5 nights free stay per completed booklet)            GPS N48°10’5″ E6°53’23”

Campground La Samaritaine €657 for 30 nights which works out to still be a reasonable €21.90 per night at peak holiday season for a fully serviced hard standing and grass pitch                 GPS N49°25’34” E4°56’24”