Roadtrip France: first time travelling with a mobil-home camper
This year is slowly but steadily becoming a year of firsts in the holiday department. March 2019 marked my first ever ski holiday on the slopes and May 2019 will now be forever known as the time we went road tripping with the camper.
Last year I got the opportunity of renting a mobilhome to go on an adventure with, but unfortunately schedules were jam packed by that time and we just couldn’t find any way of squeezing in another holiday. This time around though, we jumped at the chance of going on a bonafide camper adventure and started making plans early on. Our initial trip was headed towards Scandinavia, Norway to be exact. We would’ve loved to drive over there and go on a few very beautiful hikes (Trolltunga, Preikestolen, …) Unfortunately our planning was wày too tight to ever work – there’s just no way one can drive back and forth to Norway and squeeze in two 12-hour hikes in 6 days. Yep, a little under a week was all the time the two of us had to take off from work and put towards this adventure, so we rerouted our plans and chose for a safer option instead. Let’s start this camper adventure, destination: La douce France!
On Friday afternoon, Mick and I drove to Hoogstraten, to the offices of Vanomobil, to pick up our brand new baby. Neither of us had ever been inside of a camper before, so we were super surprised to see how well-equipped and luxurious the cars were. Our baby stood shining in the middle of the building and quickly became the center of our attention. We got a thorough lesson on how everything worked, both inside and outside of the camper – there are so many things I’d never heard or thought of, but was eager to find out. After a complete lowdown of the car, we were ready to drive into the wide world. A little stop at home to put our luggage and camping essentials inside and to show off our brand new vehicle to the neighbours, and off we went! Since it was already late by that time and because we had some bad traffic jams (hi Friday evenings on the highway around Antwerp) we decided to drive a little over 2 hours and set up camp at a cute camping place near Roubaix. Our first night in the mobilhome was super cosy and I actually slept really well. The model of mobilhome, the Chausson 718XLB, has a large bed in the middle of the back of the car, so comfort levels are actually quite high. There’s another two-person bed that can be folded down electrically, so there’s room for up to 4 people!
On Saturday we ventured out into the real world and headed West towards the coastline of Normandy. First stop on the list: Deauville. This picturesque and mondain village can best be described as the Knokke of France. From enchanting villages over luxury boutiques to beach bars and restaurants: Deauville has everything for those looking for a good time. We drove 4 hours and parked at Camping de la Plage, from where we took our bikes and rode into the city center – but not before a little snooze on the beach. We had drinks at Hotel Normandy and dinner at a local restaurant before cycling back to our camper and diving into our bed. Off to a great start!
2. Cap Ferret
It’s Sunday, and we’re eager to get to our “destination”, if you can call it that. We heard so many good things about a little fishermen’s village called Cap Ferret, so we decided to tackle the 8 hour drive down South and thus spent most of our Sunday in the car. Lots of snacks, funny jokes and sing-a-longs got us through the day, and we set up camp at Camping Les Pastourelles in Claouey, a village in Cap-Le-Ferret. We made dinner reservations at Chez Hortense, to where we hitch-hiked due to lack of other available transportation (one bus an hour, zero Uber drivers and no taxis on a Sunday night) – an adventure! We had the best oysters and fish, bookmark this spot for when you’re around.
Monday! Our taxi driver from the other night told us about his must-visit spots in Cap Ferret, so we listened to him and went for lunch at Chai Bertrand (fresher-than-fresh oysters and seafood for a really good price). After a quick visit to Le Phare we set sail towards Pyla for Europe’s tallest dune – le Dune de Pila – and to indulge in some luxurious dining at La Coorniche, a gorgeous hotel and restaurant right near the dune and the ocean. The place is designed by Philippe Starck and is breathtakingly beautiful. Great place for sunsets too! After dinner we found the perfect parking spot overlooking the ocean and actually spend the night parked on the street – a little noisy, but amazing to wake up right next to the beach.
4. Bordeaux – Martillac
A while ago I read about Les Sources de Caudalie, a beautiful hotel near Bordeaux, in the midst of the vineyards, a place that breathes everything Caudalie stands for. Being one of my favorite skincare brands, I jumped at the chance to visit the hotel, their spa, restaurant and neighboring Chateau. It turned out to be a wonderful day, with the weather a little on the schizophrenic side, but oh well. We enjoyed some much-needed relaxing i the spa, had a lovely lunch, a tour around the vineyard and learned about the process of making wine in the Chateau. I’ve already posted about our wonderful stay on the blog before, so read here for an elaborate report of that day.
After a few days on the road it was already time to head back to Belgium. We stopped at a cosy camping in Tours to enjoy a full day of true camping life: biking to the grocery store, bbq’ing, chilling in the sun, going out for a run and just generally having a good time! It was the perfect end to a wonderful week on the road.
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