Thursday 23rd October
We had a lovely nights sleep in the French Passion site in Hebecourt, not a sound until the chickens woke up and signalled the coming morn.
First stop was a town called Gisors (pronounced Geezers where I come from) which turned out to be a lovely medieval town famous for the 11th and 12th century castle fort built in 1097 at the request of William, the son of William the Conqueror and then reinforced by Henry 11 in the 12th century.
The fortress saw a lot of action during the hundred years war, nowadays the outer walls surround a lovely park, a very nice place for a stroll.
Down by the river we found the communal wash house and strolling through the town (which had far more shops than Abbeville) where there were some lovely half timbered buildings.
I did like these seats along the banks of the Epte which were spaced every 10 yards or so. We couldn’t linger, today is a fully packed out adventure day and we had to get a move on.
Next stop was Les Andelys, another medieval town but this time on the banks of the Seine. Richard the Lion Heart built this castle to dominate the Seine and prevent any attacks on Rouen by the King of France, Philip Augustus. The castle was built in one only year.
The view from the top was amazing said Lucy. The road up to the castle was a bit steep and we had to keep stopping for little legs to get her breath back and I had to keep reminding her that the the first thing she would say when she got to the top was “Oh, what a lovely view”, and she did. This view is East towards Paris and the source of any likely attack.
The shape of the inner keep is based upon a scallop, I’ve never seen an English castle shaped like this but it did look interesting.
Denzil, if you’re reading, this is a proper narrow boat. If you look closely you’ll see a car parked on the back.
Next stop was Giverny, home of Claude Monet, the painter bloke. The photo above is the view out of the front window of Frankie in the motor home parking area.
And here is a close up of the pinky, whitey flowery things, Mother knows the names of them, if you’re interested enough text her and ask!!
And as we say at Dagenham Camera Club, “This is the Monet shot” except he forgot to paint in all the Japanese tourists, one of them was wearing a fluorescent yellow top and managed to make her way into nearly every photo I took.
The path leading up to Monet’s house. Don’t tell anyone but I nicked one of the Nasturtiums and ate it before anyone could stop me, I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was but Lucy pulled me back before I could grab any more.
Not too far away from the gardens was another French Passion site run by another Camping Cariste couple so off we wandered in Frankie with Stella shouting out 3.5 tonnes warnings every 100 yards or so. Frankie is 4.2 tonnes so is really a bit too chubby to go down the little lanes but we breathed in and chanced it. We couldn’t find the place at all, we found the blue gates near the exit of the town of Bennecourt but there were no signs anywhere. In desperation we asked Stella where to go and she suggested a municipal site 16 miles away which is where things started to go tits up.
As soon as we moved off the distance went from 16 miles to 26 miles. Stella then got it into her head that we could drive down 5 foot wide alley ways, that would be a lot of breathing in. We went round in circles and ended up back outside Monets house. She then took us on a mystery tour which seemed to go all over the place. The light was fading and I was getting nervous, the beam benders that I bought back in England were still in the packet, I didn’t want to drive at night so hadn’t fitted them. Then the diesel light came on, no worry, there was a Carrefour on the way.
We pulled into Carrefour, up to the pump and I put my brand new Euro credit card in (with €1300 Euros on it) and tapped in my number, pin accepted but card rejected. Poo, need a different credit card, where are they? All in the safe hidden in the far depths of Frankies cellars under piles of stuff. Find my credit card, put it in, pin accepted but card rejected – aaargghh.
We tried Lucy’s credit card as a last resort, both my cards can be paid off online, Lucys card will have to be paid off by Emma at home. Luckily the card was accepted and it allowed us to put €70 of diesel in the tank.
Off we go again and more mystery tour, Stella is insisting we go through tight shopping streets where we can see we have to double back on ourselves and she is ignoring the shortcuts we could take. Eventually we get to the Municipal site and it doesn’t look good. Caravans parked up within inches of each other, some up on blocks, most of them look like they have been there donkey years and it was packed. Reception was closed so we drive in to look for somewhere and it soon becomes obvious that we aren’t staying here. In the end we have to reverse out.
We park up and look for an aire and the closest is 16 miles away. This time Stella stops mucking us about and she takes us straight there but by now it is pitch black and I have to use my headlights. We get to within 100 yards of the aire and Route Baree, the road is closed, typical of our luck. I decide to get out and have a wander up the road and nearly get run over by two cars whose drivers can’t read and I can see motorhomes in the distance so I hop back into Frankie, pretend that I can’t read either and make it in to the last space in this 6 space FREE aire. All the bays are marked out with hedges, it’s quiet enough and I’m not moving till tomorrow.