We last visited this lovely site back in March 2018 and once again we were the only ones there.
We filled up on arrival as usual and I took advantage of the big service area to give the van a quick wash before parking up. The river was quite high so some of the site was cordoned off for safety reasons.
We knew the area from our last visit so after parking up and a quick snack we decided to have a wander over the bridge into town. Mainly to visit the lovely bakery/cake shop.
After a quick stroll around we we got our essentials then headed back to the van for a relaxing evening.
Our last day in La Rochelle so we decided to get our washing done. We spotted this laundrette two minutes walk from the campsite.
I left Angela doing the washing as I went off to find a shop for some provisions. I found a great big stadium called the Stade Rochelais. Home to La Rochelle rugby team. Next to it was a row of shops as well as a superstore over the road.
After getting what we needed I dropped it off at the van before returning to the laundrette to meet Angela.
We returned to the van and had a relaxing evening before tomorrows drive.
We had our van completely re-upholstered in September last year so when we woke up this morning to the sound of dripping in the van mass panic set in!
Our van (in my opinion) has a design fault with the roof. The exterior area above the main roof light sags in the middle. What this means is that during and after rain instead of the water running off it just sits there. We have found out that the sealant around the window is a weak point and we manage this by parking up with the rear of the van slightly higher thus allowing any water to run off. I have read on a few motorhome forums that this is an issue with this model of van and some others.
The annoying thing is that I have a spirit level on the dashboard and knew when we parked up yesterday that we were not leaning forward enough. Lesson learned.
After my little tantrum (I am prone to the odd one or two!) we had breakfast, put on our waterproofs as the weather wasn’t looking too good and set off. The town centre is approximately three kilometres away and took us half an hour to walk in.
Due to the time of year and not being a weekend it was very quiet on the tourist front. Not all of the shops were open either but his didn’t bother us because we were only interested in window shopping, exploring the harbour, old passageways and the odd coffee shop which we found. We also noticed that like in Royan there was a central market. Unfortunately they were almost finished for the day and packing up so we didn’t get to go in.
While we were enjoying our coffee we noticed this lovely little Scotty dog enter with it’s owner. Our reactions made it clear that we loved dogs and in particular this breed of dog. He reminded us of Hamish, our lovely friends Al & Isabel’s dog. The owner spoke good English and told us that it was only a year old.
After our coffee we decided that the weather was looking at bit iffy so we headed back to the van happy with our days exploring.
Destination:- Aire de camping car Port Neuf, La Rochelle.
1 hour 20 minutes drive, 50 miles and toll free 🙂
We last visited La Rochelle in July 2009. The city is in southwest France, has a large seaport and is on the Bay of Biscay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. The locals have been trading fish since the 12th century.
We were looking forward to exploring the old town with it’s half timbered medieval houses and renaissance architecture as well as meandering through the passageways covered by 17th century arches.
On arrival our normal routine is that I fill up with fresh water and empty (if needed). Angela sets off to see which pitches are available and would suit us. One of the things to consider is wind direction. It was windy on the drive today and the forecast is for more wind and rain. The last thing we want if we can help it is to be parked side on to the wind. This is Angela coming back with her choice made.
Once we had parked up and got sorted we had a walk around the site to stretch our legs. It is quite a large site (172 pitches) but at this time of year there were only a handful of vans. I should imagine that in the height of summer you may struggle to get a place! There are some advantages of travelling through the winter.
Tomorrow we plan to walk the 3km into town for a good look around.
We spotted this church while walking around the harbour the other day and thought it would be worth visiting.
Like most of Royan it was heavily bombed during the 2nd world war and had to be rebuilt. The church was blessed on the 10th July 1958 and iIt has become the symbol of this seaside town. Unfortunately it suffers from waterproofing issues which have been accelerated by the marine environment all around it.
In my opinion it is not the most impressive of churches but once we were inside the first thing that we noticed was how calm and peaceful the atmosphere was. The size of the nave that is free from any supports gives it a very spacious feeling.
After walking around it we sat for a while enjoying the peace and tranquillity before heading back out to explore the local shops.
Once outside we stumbled upon the Central Market (Marché central).
It was built in 1955 by architects Louis Simon, and Andre Morisseau and engineer René Sarger, it is a round concrete shell with walls 8 centimetres (3 in) thick. It rests on thirteen peripheral support-points, and has no internal pillars. The displays of fruit, veg, cheese, meat and fish to name but a few were amazing. Outside we spotted a stall dedicated to chillies. It really is a foodies delight!
After walking around what must have been two or three times and taking many photographs we were in need 0f a drink. How handy then to find a little bar outside where we enjoyed a beer whilst listening to the various conversations of what we think were a mix of stallholders and locals. It was a lovely atmosphere and everyone seemed so happy and friendly.
Tired and hungry we decided to head back to the van for a something to eat and an early night as we were leaving in the morning for our next destination.