photographs taken by John James of jj99 for the website  "" photographs are in albums grouped under "French Touring Holidays""European Touring Holidays""Self drive tour of California""Short breaks with Tonbridge and Malling Ramblers Association""HRH Prince Charles""Chelsea Flower Shows""Alternative Fashion Show,London""KATS walking group trwinning with Actif Hainalt Marche, Valenciennes"


French Caravan Tour 2014

A six week tour towing our caravan starting on Sunday 17th August and ending on Sunday 28th September using ACSI card or Camping Cheques where possible. ( both offer off peak site discounts)

Total Mileage 1655-- (plus 567 miles touring from campsites= 2222 miles grand total)

This year we started by driving direct from Calais to Chartres. Our planned route was Chartres -Neris les Bains- Ruynes en Margaride,, Meze - Villes sur Auzon - Palau del Vidre and returning via Issoire - Nevers & Chartres before heading for Calais and home.

The only site we reserved this year was At Palau del Vidre to ensure that we got our preferred pitch

we stayed longer than planned at Meze and did not got to the planned stop at Villes sur Auzon

To see my Picasa Photo Albums for some of this tour click on the direct link:-

A summary chart giving details of mileages travelled and campsites follows the photographs

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Home to Chartres 268 miles

Coffee stop on D90 en route to Chartres via Rouen

- a damp start but it did get better

Before we left home we picked a plentiful supply of tomatoes which lasted for several weeks


St Adrien at Belbeuf just south of Rouen where a chapelle is built into the face of the chalk cliff - we had lunch here - the car park is large and there is usually plenty of space


Chartres to Nevers 179 miles

- Lunch at Aire des Gite de Loups and tea at Aire du Grande Meaulnes


Steel statue of heron


Coffee at Aire du Heron on A10 with far reaching views to the east (?)

Livres comme L'Aire

--books and beanbags provided foc

The campsite reception office

Emplacement 49 at Neris Les Bains was on a hard standing and very close to the facilities

The lower section of the campsite was near the lake and was very shaded - there were also wooden chalets on the hillside overlooking the lake

Neris les Bains - colourfully decorated roundabout


Neris les Bains- the municipal bathing station
Neris les Bains - the Theatre

Le Pavillion du Lac next to campsite

Neris les Bains - Town Hall


Campsite lighting

Church window depictin George& the Dragon

Neris les Bains - St Georges church

Neris les Bains - St Georges church

Neris les Bains - Glass pyramids protecting the Necropolis by St Georges Church


View down to the Necropolis






Nevers to Ruynes en Margaride 128 miles


coffee stop at Gorges la Sioule

Ruynes de Margaride to Meze -149 miles -mainly on A75

Coffee stop at Aire de Garnigue just before the Millau Viaduct




Paella for sale in Meze Saturday Market


Entrance to Beau Rivage Campsite, Meze

Old Mill Building on site at Beau Rivage

Beau Rivage Campsite, Meze

Meze memorial statue -  "To the memory of the fallen of the Etang de Thau." ? 2010 


The harbour, Meze

Nets drying - Meze

a colourful 2CV - quite rare nowadays

The marine shrubland between Meze & Bouzigues

Le Grand Bleau, Bouzigues - we enjoyed lunch on the 2nd floor with views across the inland lake towards Sete



a view across the lake from Bouzigues towards Sete

Meze to Palau del Vidre - 101 miles - easy route along Autoroute

Took the Autoroute and stopped on the Aire des Gasparet for coffee

Sunday is Market Day in Collioure

The pool and new reception building at Le Haras, Palau del Vidre

New Decorative Steel / Glass artwork on site at Le Haras, Palau del Vidre


Le Haras, Palau del Vidre

Mobile wine press -on site at Le Haras


More Decorative Steel / Glass artwork on site at Le Haras, Palau del Vidre

Old horse drawn plough -on site at Le Haras


Palau del Vidre following major prunning to the trees in the square

Palau del Vidre


Shrine to Sant Galdric


The road back to Le Haras from Palau del Vidre


Facade retained but shop closed years ago

Port Argeles

ND Consolation at Port Argeles

Port Argeles


The Promenade at Argeles sur Mer


Palau del Vidre to Issoire - 265 miles

Heading north up the A75 tea stop at the Aire de Garabit overlooking the Viaduct

The Garabit Viaduct (Viaduc de Garabit in French) is a railway arch bridge spanning the River Truyère near Ruynes-en-Margeride


Issoire just off the A75 -cross this roudabout to get to the Municipal Campsite

Issoire to Nevers - 127 miles

Hotel de Ville, Dampierre

Dampierre sur Loire

Just after Gien, Dampierre was a convenient and pretty place to stop for coffee

The entrance to the campsite at Nevers

The campsite is situated on the River Loire next to the old stone bridge leading to the town

Nevers - Echaugette tower with the tower of Cathedral Saint-Cyr et Saint-Julitte behind there is a blue tourist route marked on the pavement guiding you around the historic town

Nevers - this tower in next to the Faience Earthenware Museun

The ancient 12th century church of Saint Genest has been restored during the past couple of years


Pont canal du Guetin takes the Canal Lateral across the River Loire 15km from Nevers


at the Bec d'allier' -the confluence of the Loire and Allier

Apremont sur allier -a 'Plus Beau' Village a short drive from Nevers - the gardens here are well worth a visit

The path to the green route is well marked

Walking back from the 'green' path

the green route - a path alongside the river

Nevers to Chartres - 153 miles

Chartres cathedral from the big wheel

Notre Dame de la Belle Verrière ... It is a blue Virgin against a red background and is described as “the most beautiful stained-glass window in existence.


Chartes - just friends

Enjoying a Grimbergen by Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Vegetable Market

Chartres to Home -285 miles


and a shady spot back at home

Summary of route and campsites




Home to Chartres


Camping des bords de L'Eure Municipal
9 rue de Launay
Within walking distance along the river to Chartres
Nearby supermarket

Chartres to Neris les Bains


Camping du Lac - Municipal  Avenue Marx Dormay
Spa town near Montlucon ( worth a visit)
On 2 levels the lower level by the lake is very shady
A mixture of grass and hard pitches

Neris les Bains to Ruynes en Margaride


Le PetitBois  15320  Chq 290 all season
Near A75 and Viaduc de Garabit

Ruynes en Margaride to Meze


Beau Rivage CChq 173 from 23/8
Across the saltwater lake from Sete
Leave Meze towards Sete - on right just past Renault garage roundabout

Meze to Palau del Vidre


Le Haras Camping CCheque
1 Ter Avenue Joliot Curie, Domaine Sant Galdric
Free WiFi within range of most pitches
Swimming Pool
15 min drive to Collioure - Argeles is even closer

Palau del Vidre to Issoire


Camping Municipal du Mas  5% ACSI Discount €15
63500  Rue du docteur Beinfait
Close to A75 - supermarket nearby
Mobile baker visits in the morning
Free Wi Fi

Issoire to Nevers


Camping de Nevers,Cheque or Card
58000 Rue de la Jonction
Free internet connection in reception

Nevers to Chartres


Camping des bords de L'Eure Municipal



9 rue de Launay
ACIS out of season

Chartres to home


17 miles lost!!

Total Mileage excluding 'in & about'




At Palau del Vidre Locally sourced fresh figs