On Tuesday we FINALLY left Haggerston and headed for Folkestone!
Remember how I said everything takes longer in a motorhome? Well, a six and a half hour journey took almost eleven hours. Eleven stress filled hours of weans moaning, bickering, whining, napping and biting. Yes, they bite each other, don’t even get me started.
Then there’s the dogs. The fear of them pishing and/or shitting as we are travelling is real, which meant we had to include plenty pee stops for them along the way.
This coupled with the fact that Winnie prefers to chug along at a modest 50mph, almost doubled the Sat Nav’s predicted journey time.
But we made it, and also done our first night of ‘wild’ camping! Basically, you just park up in a free car parking area, pull the blinds down and go to sleep. Easy peasy.
(The second time we wild camped was in the smallest, cutest little French village called Ponchardon, in Lower Normandy. Literally a dozen of the cutest houses, all red brick and exposed beams on the outside, beautiful wooden shutters and the streets lined with colourful flower boxes. There was a town hall with a beautiful fountain at the front, on this one street village and surprisingly, a large, remote free car park which backed on to a beautiful wooded area. We slept the night there and apart from 2 workmen who were out fixing the road at 7pm at night, we didn’t see another living soul. So peaceful. See pictures below.)
Wednesday we headed the short drive to the Euro Tunnel. If you’ve never used it, it’s basically a double width, double height train that you drive onto, park in a single file and let it shuttle you across the Channel Tunnel while you wait in your car. Or in our case, made lunch while we sat in our ‘dining area’. Thirty-five minutes later we were in France!
We have had the best week ever! Paris is AMAZING!!
I’ve been once before, years ago! Me and my gay best friend came for a couple of nights to see Justin Timberlake in concert – brilliant weekend! But we did zero sight-seeing, unless you count Chanel, Louis Vuitton & Gucci……
We then missed our flight home, spent an extra night in a cheap motel by the airport and got drunk off the mini bar. As you do.
I’m pleased to say, this time round it’s been a whole different experience, although like last time, not totally without some calamities. I somehow managed to bin Jason’s brand new trainers that he had only wore for 2 hours, dropped the brand new camera in a pot full of soup and ruined it (it won’t even turn on now) & Jason almost lost an arm and 2 weans on our first experience of Paris’ metro system.
Important tip : DO NOT try to board the train when the alarm is sounding, you DO NOT have time, it WILL NOT wait for you and the doors do not have a sensor so will NOT politely reopen if you stick an arm in.
We soon got into the swing of it though and have honestly had the best time ever. The campsite we stayed at was beautiful (Camping Indigo Paris), and if you are ever coming to Paris you should seriously consider it as an option of somewhere to stay. You can park up like us, pitch a tent, hire an old style gypsy caravan, a wooden cabin or a canvas cabin. The site backs directly onto the River Seine, the facilities are spotless, there’s a handy little market shop, a restaurant, play park, bikes to hire and a brilliant shuttle bus service which runs directly from the campsite every half hour, ten minutes straight into Paris.
We used the shuttle bus every day and have spent the week at the Catherdral Notre-Dame de Paris, The Louvre, walking along the Seine at night watching the boats sail by, had a ride through Paris at night on a tuk-tuk, went to the Musee de Picasso and walked along the narrow cobbled streets of Paris watching violinist and cellist buskers, admiring street art and eating the most delicious foods (none of which we could pronounce). We’ve walked the length of the Avenue des Champs-Elysees and stood beneath the Arc de Triomphe (somehow someone was able to design and build something so spectacular, yet I was unable to accomplish a simple picture of my 3 weans posed beneath it, all smiling, all looking at the camera. FML). We’ve stood on the Eiffel Tower and seen the whole of Paris from above and visited the amazing Chateau de Versailles with its stunning golden gates, painted ceilings and gilded walls and out of this world gardens.
We have walked an insane amount. I don’t think I’ve walked as far in one day since well before I had the kids. But, there’s no danger of any weight loss, thanks to the ridiculous amounts of croissants, pain au chocolat, baguettes, macarons, coffee & wine I have consumed. By far my favourite thing about France is the tradition of eating pastries for breakfast and having bread and wine with every meal. Merci beaucoup!
Also, I’ve come to realise that arsing about in French class was not smart and without a doubt I should have paid more attention. All
I’ve got under my French belt is bonjour, merci and a few random numbers. Oh, and I can give you a full rendition of Quelle est la date de ton anniversaire. Really handy when you need to ask for directions, order food or enquire what time the next bus comes….FFS.
So while we are in the area we’ve decided to treat the weans to a couple of days at Euro Disney.
I say treat the weans, but I’m actually so excited that I could cry. I cannot wait to see their faces. It’s so magical!
Will keep you all posted on how we get on.
Oh, ps – this week we (Jason) hooked up the new leisure batteries and finally connected the solar panels! So we are now solar/electric efficient. Still no idea how to work the water, but that’s a problem for after Disney. C’est La vie!