Our half-term break had a promising start on Friday afternoon, 19th October, leaving as we did one hour earlier than expected on the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais, which is always a nice surprise. From Calais, it was only a short drive south to Boulogne-sur-Mer, where we spent the first night outside Auchan for an early shop on Saturday morning and then drove straight to Broglie, still one of our favourite motorhome aires and which now costs 6 euros a night. They have also changed the electricity and water borne, but Adonis wasn’t very impressed with the new chemical toilet disposal, which apparently runs horizontally and is clearly not fit for purpose. Nevertheless, we had a very warm afternoon there and enjoyed a couple of drinks outside, as well as our usual beautiful walk along the Charentonne river to the iconic and picturesque water mill.
From Broglie, we went directly to Lac des Varennes Camping, Sarthe, for a spot of carp fishing, as usual. We arrived just after 12 noon only to find that the reception was shut, so we waited at the leisure park on the other side of the lake, very pretty and quiet this time of year, even on a Sunday. It was very warm again and we had a beer by the beach before lunch and by the time we finished, just after 2 p.m., the campsite was open and we were able to choose a pitch right by the lake, as we normally do. The pitch was very large and close to the toilet/washing facilities block and, as it was fairly quiet, it was wonderful to be able to let Beano off the lead to have a run around chasing his ball.
However, we were disappointed with the new rubbish disposal arrangements, placed now at the far end of the campsite by rear gate to the bridge; not only that, but the two large containers had obviously not been emptied in a long while by the looks of it and the rubbish was spilling out of them and piling up on the ground, which made it not only unsightly, but unhygienic too. To make matters worse, there were no recycling facilities whatsoever and I ended up collecting all our recyclable waste and cycling to the leisure centre on the other side of the lake, where there were plenty of bins for that purpose.
Another aspect of our stay that spoiled our enjoyment was the lack of a bakery, as the one in the village of Marçon down the road was shut for their annual holidays and, although in the past I have been able to buy a baguette at the Tabac next door, when I asked this time round they said they didn’t have any, even though they had a big bag full of them on the bar at the far end of the premises. I know I hadn’t ordered any, but a bit of kindness would have been very welcome, for there is nowhere else around for about 5-6 kms. Luckily or us, I had 2 half-baked baguettes in the freezer, which I keep for emergencies, and that saw us through.
The last straw that made us decide to leave earlier than anticipated was the fact that the lake turned green with algae once again, which makes fishing hard and not quite so pleasant, and I am afraid that was the decider. We had planned to stay for a week, but left after 3 days only with not a single bite from a carp. What a shame, as we have such lovely memories of the place since our first year motorhoming in 2010, but I don’t think we will be back any time soon.
But before we left, we were witnesses to some fantastic sunsets!
Fortunately, things were going to improve very soon, but I am leaving that for next time…