We fire Vin up and continue with our journey east. Its not long and we are in the countryside, it is beautiful. Rolling hills, quaint villages, farm shops, trickling rivers just about everything you associate with France. We then notice a sign “Somme Valley” and immediately think of the slaughter and horror of trench warfare during World War I. The view out the window of the Somme valley of pretty countryside is a far cry from the thoughts in our head.
We drive for a few hours until we reach our stop for today, Beauvais. We stop on the free city aire, which is located on a hill. The elevated position provides a good view of the city and its unusual shaped cathedral.
As we park up next to a French motorhome we are made…unwelcome. On the whole we find the French to be really friendly but when you get the odd bod, they are well and truly odd. Our greeting went one further when they extended their outdoor mat 2 inches before kicking off their shoes, tutting loudly and slamming their door. Oooo la la. We could take huff but instead we decided to take a walk and say hello to the friendly French.
We were the only English on the site until a GB plate turned up. They take the last parking spot. A lovely couple from Birmingham who now reside in Spain. A few hours of swapping stories and having a laugh helped us forget our grumpy neighbours.
Our Bumble sleepy spot: N049.424427 E002.080454
Heavily bombed in World War II, Beauvais is now a modern town built around the Cathedral St Pierre. It is one rather large and stunning Gothic cathedral but the twist is it never got finished. A quick toot from afar before we set off for Paris via Lidl. It’s our first shop since leaving home and Craig is in his element. Dashing up and down each aisle like a kid in a sweet shop. Chucking goody after goody in to the trolley. It was only when we hit the last aisle he realised how much stuff we had in the trolley. Oh dear, looks like we’ve shopped for a house and not a motorhome. A slight oversight. Where will we put it all? We crossed our fingers and joined the long Lidl queue (somethings never change) before stuffing Vin to bursting point.
We continued our journey to Paris. Once again, the countryside was beautiful…why had never discovered this part of France before? Like most people, we roar past it on the route to ‘somewhere’ from Calais. But we fell under its charm in seconds. Old abbeys, ruined watermills, sun-dappled forests, tranquil streams gliding at their own sweet will, and cows so fat and sleek and contented we wanted to hug them.
About half way along our route, we turned off the main highway on to a smaller A road. As Craig looked in his rear view mirror he spotted flashing lights of a police car. Next minute the sirens went on. Craig slowed down to let the police car pass. To our surprise they stayed on our tail. Once more the siren sounded. “What are they doing?” We both peered out the wing mirrors in wonder. The sirens sounded again, the lights swirled, the headlights flashed…”oh ek, I think they want us to pull over“.
Two policemen walked over, a young chap (not so nice) and an older chap (much nicer). They informed us that we did not wait long enough at the ‘stop’ sign. The rule in France is you must wait 3 seconds at all stop signs before you pull out otherwise it is a fixed €90 fine. Craig quickly replied with “Pardon Monsieur“. The young one wanted to issue the fine, whilst the older guy was more relaxed. After much debate between the two, the older guy accepted our apology and politely waved on our way.
Our drive to Paris took a wee while longer with all the 3 second stops! Lol
We arrived at Indigo Camping just after lunch. Thankfully it is just outside the clean air zone, so we didn’t need to purchase ‘certificat qualité de l’air. Many cities in Europe use low emission zones, urban road tolls, traffic limited zones and traffic restrictions to improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion and make historic city centres attractive to tourists. We use this website to check out certificate requirements
The reception at Indigo Camping was very busy. A French public holiday + heatwave = chocablock. Despite the queues the reception staff dealt with each visitor in a polite and swift manner. We reserved a plot for 4 nights and 5 days at the reduced ASCI price of €19 from €42 per night. Not bad for a campsite just 5km from Paris centre, located smack bang on the Siene with golf course and gardens just minutes away. Within half an our we were parked up and settling in…Paris here we come!