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 2016.

A six week tour towing our caravan starting on Sunday 14th August and ending on Sunday 25th September using ACSI card or Camping Cheques

where possible. ( both offer off peak site discounts)

Total Mileage 1655-- (plus 567 miles touring from campsites= 2243 miles grand total)

This year we started by driving direct from Calais to Chartres. Our planned route was Chartres -Chateauroux- Beaulieu sur Dordogne, Cahors - Cordes sur Ciel- Palau del Vidre and returning via Issoire - Nevers & Chartres before heading for Calais and home.

We reserved sites at Beaulieu sur Dordogne and Palau del Vidre to ensure that we got our preferred pitches

To see my Google 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 276 miles


The garden before we left home


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


Le Classique Francais was the most exciting new Sportive in 2016, without fail. It was a day trip to France and a Sportive in one.Registration and the safety briefing will took place whilst on the crossing. The ride started on arrival in Calais. There were two courses to choose from, Epic 83 miles or Standard 59 miles, but both routes explore the amazing North East Coast of France. The cars could not disembark until the bikes had left


Chartres to Chateauroux 131 miles



Beautiful Demoiselle Male Damselfly


Coffee at Lamotte Beuvron

Close up of Demoiselle Male Damselfly


On site at Chateaurox

A different type of bicycle made for two. I even had a ride on it



View from the belltower of the abbey Notre-Dame de Bourg-Dieu abbey

Deols is a pretty small village next to the campsite at Chateauroux, Thehe abbey Notre-Dame de Déols or Notre-Dame de Bourg-Dieu abbey is a former Benedictine abbey , now largely in ruins is a former Benedictine abbey , now largely in ruins

The belltower of the abbey Notre-Dame de Bourg-Dieu abbey viewed from the adjacent park





Chateauroux to Beaulieu sur Dordogne 131 miles

Our riverside pitch at Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne

Chapelle des Pénitents, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne


New at Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne

The carving above the entrance to the Abbey of Saint-Pierre, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne

The 'chute' is supposed to be an easy way downstream avoiding the weir

Local produce market nest to the Chapelle des Pénitents

Chapelle des Pénitents

BBQ , drinks and dancing takes place in the evening after the Regional market has finished


Beaulieu sur Dordogne to Cordes su Ciel 84 miles

Campsite is a few miles away at Domaine du Garissou 81170 Les Cabannes




An interesting lunch stop opposite the closed Hotel de la Vallee at Cornusson close to Verfiel.

The church at Cornusson next to the place we stopped for lunch

Our lunch stop at Cornusson below the Chateau towering above

La Seye et Vous - Cafe / Restaurant in thecentre of Verfiel

Our friend Chris's house in Verfiel

Our friend Chris's house in Verfiel

Here we were only a couple of hundred yards away from our friend Chris's house in Verfiel - unfortunately she wasn't staying there at the time

Cordes sur Ciel

Agood view of Cordes sur Ciel from the site

There was a good free Wi Fi link outside the office - the swimmig pool was next door to it. This was great to cool down in as the temperature was in the upper 30s

A small site but with good facilities

Cordes sur Ciel

Cordes sur Ciel

Atelier Ma Thera - Le Pastel

Pastel is derived from a plant called woad and is the source of indigo, used to create a strong natural blue dye. This shop specializes in the dye and its products

Cordes sur Ciel



Cordes sur Ciel to Palau del Vidre - 163 miles



Catalan sailing boat 'N.D de CONSOLATION' is usually moored at Port Argeles

specialite catalane fougasse - cut into 4 slices


Our chucked oysters with glass of rose on plastic crate table

Our favourite Sunday lunch in Collioure market

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 ) is a railway arch bridge spanning the River Truyre near Ruynes-en-Margeride

Issoire just off the A75 -cross this roundabout to get to the Municipal Campsite-a good staging point but town is within walking disatance and worth a visit and there are some plus beaux villages de France ashort drive away
Issoire to Nevers - 127 miles
2 miles past Pourcain sur Loire ( 69miles fro Issoire) a convenient of road stop for coffee

Hotel de Ville, Dampierre

Dampierre sur Loire

Just after Gien, Dampierre was a convenient and pretty place to stop for coffee with a good artisan shop a short walk away

Lunch stop at Aire Faiencienes just 4 miles from campsite at Nevers on free Autoroute A77

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

Le Goemon - creperie our favourite place for lunch in Nevers - we have never been disappointed




Nevers to Chartres - 162 miles

Chartres cathedral from the big wheel

Notre Dame de la Belle Verre.. 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 Chateauroux


Camping du Rochat Belle Isles
17, ave Daniel Bernadet FR 36000

Chateauroux to Beaulieu sur Dordogne


Les Isles

Boulevard Rodolphe de Turenne 19120

Beaulieu sur Dordogne to Cordes sur Ciel


Domaine le Garissou, Les Cabannes

C Chq from 22/8

Cordes sur Ciel 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 €18.55
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