A few days ago we booked the ferry from Dover to Calais and since then we’ve spent the last couple of days moving all our stuff back into the motorhome before setting off on Monday 15th May.
Half way across England and we are greeted with a message from P&O ferries saying that our booked sailing was cancelled due to technical difficulties. Fortunately when we finally got to the port we only had to wait an extra hour before we were transferred to the 10pm ferry. However, the 10pm sailing left 1 1/2 hours late, so we landed in good old France in the middle of the morning.
Our usual stopping point is the aire at Calais. It is next to the port, near the town centre side and right on the beach. It is so handy but, sadly it is now closed and the other options in Calais are not as good. Once off the ferry, we headed for the main supermarket shopping area a few miles out of Calais.
I selected a permitted overnight supermarket carpark at Carrefour as it has a free dedicated motorhome parking, which will do nicely for a few hours kip. We arrived rather shattered, so engine off, a quick brew and just ten minutes later the long day caught up with us and we were fast a sleep. Pushing many zzz’s and snoring for good old England.
Our Bumble Free Overnight Parking Coquelles GPS position: N050.931621, E001.811737
The morning came around and we only woke up at about 11am. After a bit of breakfast we made our way to the Carrefour petrol station with an impeccably clean service point and cheap fuel.
Service GPS position: N050.935599, E001.805650. After emptying the grey waste water and the black toilet contents we filled Vin (the name of our motorhome) back up with diesel as it cheaper in France than in the UK. Not long and we set off following the coastline.
The Cote d’Opale basically translates to the Opal Coast because of the water colour is the stretch of French Channel coast between Calais and the mouth of the River Somme. We planned on visiting it for the next few days at a relaxed pace and make the most of the supposedly good weather forecast we had.
This area is very pretty with lots of farm land covering the rolling hills in all directions, all along the coastal section are loads of old bunkers from the world wars. They still look like they are standing guard along Frances white cliffs before the land falls away into the opal blue sea. The beaches here are wide and super clean. It wasn’t long and and we spotted a nice little car park that was just a couple of hundred metres from the beach. There were half a dozen French vans parked up so after a few “bonjour’s” we took Mac n Tosh for a play in the sand. The sun was out and apart from a breeze it could have been a mid July with the wonderful temperature.
After tiring the dogs out we headed back for a spot of lunch. The car park was deserted apart from Vin and one other motorhome. We stepped inside and made a brew. Ten minutes later there was a knock at the door. It was the guy from the other motorhome. Sadly he spoke no English and our French is no better but we managed to work out that one of the cars that was parked up had been broken into. The pleasant French chap said that this place “here no good” so with that our days plans changed. We finished our lunch before making the not so long drive westwards again. About 2km further along the coast to an aire that is just outside the small town of Wissant.
Our Bumble Paid Aire Le fond de Sombre GPS position: N050.893667, E001.689609
There are no services on the site, well I say site, it’s just a farmers field to be honest but with beautiful views. The nicely trimmed grass and quiet location will do for a couple of days as we unwind a little. Le fond de Sombre aire is one of three in the immediate area presumably owned by the same farmer. However, only one of the farms offers any services. All the aires are all the same price of €6 for 24 hours and the services are €4 extra.
The plan for this trip is the opposite to our normal travelling agenda…we aim to do nothing and relax a while. So with new plans in place, the chairs were out, our Cadac BBQ got fired up and we opened a bottle plonk. Not French plonk though, a bottle of Australian Shiraz from home… slurp, slurp, chomp, chomp, slurp some more and it was soon time for bed again.
The following day, we opened our eyes in the morning to more sunshine, a perfect start to the day, after a bit of breakfast. I thought I would have a quick nip around the area on our little motorbike Eor whilst Joanne had a mad half hour jogging with the dogs. I zipped off into those green rolling hills to check out the other aires I mentioned. The area really is very pretty with every shade of green covering the landscape and poppies growing beside the narrow lanes.
After checking out our options for the next few days I returned back to Joanne letting her know it was market day in Wissant. Unfortunately by the time we leisurely set off and had walked it in the 29 degree heat it had all closed for the day. Ah well not to worry, so we just strolled around the pleasant little town. At the heart of Wissant, Hotel Duval, infamous with artists who came here to paint the landscape. Up and down the lanes before we sat at the beach for a while watching the world go by. Before strolling back to our little field and another BBQ (click on the small pictures to enlarge).
In the morning, we woke to heavy rain. We checked out the weather forecasts and it said rain all day so moved to the free aire on the edge of Wissant town. Not because it was free but we didn’t fancy getting bogged down in the field.
In between the rain showers we managed to say hi to a few campers and let the dogs sniff a few bushes. Other than that we did very little all day except sit in our tin box and be pelted with rain.
Our Bumble Free Aire Wissant GPS position. N050.887032, E001.670087
In the morning, we awoke to find the rain had finally stopped so we decided to have a drive to the Cap Gris Nez. At the small car park GPS position: 50.923116, 1.608852 you can park overnight there with no charge but the parking bays do slope quite a lot in places. The beach is quite rocky and not as nice as further down the coast but is a popular spot for local fishermen.
We spent an hour or so letting Mac’n’Tosh run around like idiots, which they thoroughly enjoyed. During our beach combing expedition, I found a camera filter tucked in the sand with not even a scratch on the coatings (now stashed for later use). The wind was bitter and after an hour we started to get cold. Nothing for it, we headed back to the motorhome for a bowl of warming soup.
That afternoon, we chilled…and the following day…and the following day…hence the long delay in writing our first post…but we promise to get back in to the swing of it soon!
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