Spain & France

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The journey across France was still cold and dull. Our first nights stop was at Montreuil in Normandy. A rather deserted campsite with just a few itinerant workers in caravans. The owner welcomed us from his upstairs window but did not bother to come down. A pretty village.

The next night was beside the river Loire at Nouan-sur-Loire.  Another quiet campsite but a welcoming manager. Very spacious pitches and an excellent site from which to visit the Loire chateaux.  The following morning we passed through the Chambord estate and saw the Chambord chateau.  Most impressive from outside and we have made a note to go inside next time. It was open to visitors but we had to press on.

The weather was cold, damp and wet in UK and it was time to get on the road again and head off to sunnier places. First of all, off to Spain and then return via the Mediterranean coast into France and later into the Alps for some skiing. Unlike last year ,when we had planned every detail, we set off this time with a very flexible itinerary.

Chateau de Chambord as viewed through the windscreen.

It was constructed in the first half of 16th century as a hunting lodge but is one of the largest chateaux on the Loire.

There were several cars in the visitors car park. We must visit next time.

Our third night stop was at Mende on the river Lot.  Again the campsite was deserted and the town itself was rather dismal.  The following morning were on our way promptly.  Shortly after leaving we were crossing the famous Millau bridge across the Tarn valley.  The autoroute here is free but there is a €21 toll for crossing the Millau viaduct, which we thought was a bit expensive!  It is less for a car.

Across this central part of France there was quite a lot of snow  but as we dropped down towards the Mediterranean the snow was gone and it started to feel a bit warmer.  Our fourth night was at Salses-le-Chateau, just north of the Spanish border. This was a bad choice of site. It is located between the main N9 road between Spain and France on one side and the autoroute and railway on the other side.  Not a very quiet night!


The following day was bright and sunny as we headed into Spain. We followed the eastern coastline down to the town of Peniscola.

The campsite, Camping Eden, that we had planned to stop at was absolutely choc-a-block with motorhomes and so crowded we really didn’t like it.  The pitch we were allocated to was too small for us to fit into.  This caused much amusement for those already set up. We had about 20 Germans & Dutch trying to advise us as to how to wriggle in. In the end we gave up, mainly because we did not like the site anyway. We headed off along the coast road and found a parking area just behind the Peniscola Plaza Hotel.  A fantastic spot, 100m from the sea and only €8 per night including electricity. However, you had to be early to get the electric hook up as there were not enough for everyone.  We decided to stay 3 nights here and explore the area.

Peniscola is a large town but has an interesting ‘old town’ perched upon a rocky promontory.  We cycled along the promenade cycleway (2km) into the old town to have a look around.  On the way we passed by a rather lovely mosaic dragon on the promenade.

Our next stop was Moraira where we were in March last year. We stayed here for a week spending time with friends old and new. We met up with Bob & Caroline from Worthing who were staying in their apartment in Teulada. Ray & Melissa who now live in nearby, Alcalali. We also caught up with Dick & Pat who live in Moraira and met Jackie & Phil who live in Worthing. We like Moraira. There are not any high rise apartment blocks and it is a lively town, even in winter. Plenty to see and do and restaurants to try out.  Sunny skies and warm enough to just sit out and people watch!  More photos in our 2008 visit.

View to the south towards Calpe

View to the north towards Javea from our favourite beach side, Bar Algas

A desirable residence on the coast road towards Calpe. Spectacular coast views—spectacular price!

An orange tree in Moraira town

During our time based at Moraira we took a couple of outings. The first was to Denia by train. A narrow gauge line runs between Denia and Benidorm. Clean and efficient new diesel units and very cheap.  It was only €2 return each person from Moraira to Denia and back!

The second outing was to Guadalest. This is a village up in the mountains that is established inside an isolated outcrop of volcanic rock.  The only way in is via a passageway carved out of the side of the rock.

The castle grounds at Denia. The castle was closed for lunch 13:00—15:00 so we could not take the tour.

Guadalest. The old town is built inside this huge rock. You can see the walls at the top.

The entrance pathway to the old town is through the rock wall (painted white)

Time to leave Spain and head back into France.  We stopped again in Peniscola on the return journey but only for 1 night. We did buy some oranges and lemons from the local store.  They tasted fabulous, full of flavour and sweet. Like fruit used to taste when we were kids!


We were recommended to try out the camping-car aires in the towns and villages of France rather than stop on campsites.  Our first stop in France was on an aire at Colliure, just over the French Spanish border. What a lovely spot and a delightful town. We decided to stop for 2 nights and explore the picturesque port.  Below are some snaps of the port with its castle which was open and we took a very informative tour.

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Click on the arrow to see our 2008 photos of Moraira

Guadalest—a view from the entrance pathway looking south george and desnee