Oyster Festival

The Brittany port of Saint-Cast-le-Guildo (22 Cotes d’Armor, Bretagne) plays host to a summer Oyster Festival (Fete de l’Huitre) on 22 June 2019 starting at 18h00.

Every year at the beginning of Summer the traditional Oyster Festival at Saint-Cast le Guildo. You can taste the local oysters and mussels (moules-frites); have a go at an oyster -shelling competition (écailler), hear the mariners’ sea shanties, watch the procession of oyster barges, dance to local folk music and see the fireworks!

Saint-Cast le Guildo is the scene of a French victory over the English fleet in the 18th Century. It lies on the English Channel coast about 30km west of St Malo

For more info on the Oyster Festival see www.saintcastleguildo.fr

Saint Cast-le-Guildo

This is rural Brittany, so there is not a wealth of hotels available, but there is a very traditional hotel in the middle of Saint-Cast le GuildoHôtel de l’Espérance and plenty of opportunities for camping


For more info and to check availabilty at this Brittany hotel see Hôtel de l’Espérance

tgv trainBy train/TGV in France with Rail Europe

car Hire a car in France with Rentalcars. com

Amiens, Chocolate and Australians

Amiens Cathedral
Amiens Cathedral

I have in the past been somewhat dismissive of the city of Amiens (80 Somme, Hauts de France) largely because an enforced winter stay in the city when my car broke down, and also because I have a loathing of the concrete monstrosity that is the Tour Perret – because it is ugly and also because it overshadows the City’s main gem which is the imposing gothic cathedral of Notre Dame a UNESCO World Heritage site- both visible from the A16 autoroute which skirts the city between Paris and the Channel ports of Dover and Boulogne.

Trogneux Chocolate
Trogneux Chocolate

However a recent visit (in summer) there were 2 other discoveries – firstly a superb Chocolatier at Jean Trogneux where delicious chocolate and biscuit creations are made, including the famous Macaroons of Amiens and wafer-thin biscuits called “Tuiles”.

Amiens Tourist Office Website

The Somme is of course closely associated with the First World War and is littered with many war cemeteries and memorials. On this ocassion we headed for the Australianand New Zealand War Memorial at Villers-Brettoneux a few kilometres due east of Amiens. Visiting war cemeteries is inevitably a little sombre, but this one was striking. Although the memorial looked a but stumpy and monolithic from a distance, closer to, and within the context of the rest of the cemetery it was much more graceful. The place had a sense of peace and tranquility about it – and as an added bonus a climb to the top of the tower offers some stunning views over the landscape – and that too looks beautiful.

Strangely enough, more Australians and New Zealanders (ANZACs) were killed in France in WWI, but Gallipolli is more keenly remembered and commemorated with Anzac Day.

11,000 Australians and New Zealanders with no known grave are commemorated at Villers-Bretonneux – and the village is proud of its connection with Australia. See more on Villers-Bretonneux

There is another memorial to British and Australian victims of WWI at Fromelles (59 Nord, Nord-Pas de Calais) just west of Lille.

There will be a commemoration of the centenary of the battle of Fromelles on 19 July 2016 – see http://www.anzaccentenary.gov.au

B&Bs, self-catering and hotels in Amiens including the 4-star Hotel Mercure Amiens Cathédrale which sits just opposite France’s biggest medieval cathedral


Fly/Drive to France with a Motorhome

Eurocamp Motorhome fly/driveEurocamp has introduced a different option for your holiday in France Fly-Hire – a flight and motorhome hire in one package! We are used to seeing this for trips to the USA and Australia, but there is no reason why it should not work as well in France

The popularity of motorhomes has risen dramatically in recent years, as has the standard of the motorhomes themselves. All the models we offer are either brand new or at the most one year old. Add to this our selection of some of the best campsites in Europe, featuring all you need from pools and play areas to bars and restaurants and you have all the
ingredients for a truly memorable holiday.

France is well-organised for Motorhomes with modern and well-equipped campsites, even in the rural regions away from the popular tourist areas. And of course, Eurocamp has its own systems for selecting and monitoring sites. You need only watch the TV coverage of the Tour de France to see how many motorhomes (camping cars) embark on French roads in the summer. Fortunately it is a big place which absorbs so many tourists, except for the most popular coastal resorts.

Anthony Peregrine in the Times tried the deal out with a trip from Lyon.
For more info see the Eurocamp website and select Eurocamp Independent/

Caravan and Campsite Holidays in France with Siblu Holidays

Camping on a Vineyard in Cabardes

Marquis de Pennautier Chardonnay by Andrew at www.spittoon.bizWe keep coming across gites and Bed & Breakfast (Chambres d’Hote) on vineyards in France, but there are obviously some domaines that also offer camping, whether canvas or motorhome.

One such is Chateau de Pennautier in the Cabardes appellation (11 Aude, Languedoc-Roussillon) north west of Carcassonne. We have mentioned this chateau before, partly because its wines are a crossover between the Mediterranean and Languedoc to the east and the Atlantic and South West to the west and also because unusually for a domaine in one of the lesser known appellations, it has really worked on making a visit to the vineyard an all-round experience – rather more than a dank cellar with old vineyard tools and some stainless steel tanks.

They offer a wine bar/restaurant/shop as well as a cellar (not dank!) and now offer a campsite and mobile homes to let as well.

The wines are pretty good too – Majestic Wine (amongst others) stocks the red Château de Pennautier 2006 Cabardès AC, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah and Grenache – a true south/southwest blend.

Aromas of fresh raspberries and mulberries follow through to a firm, tannic palate, showing the Cabardès appellation at its best.”


Exploring the South West of France

An Evolution Motor HomeThe problem (and delight) of South West France is that there are so many areas to explore, and often renting a gite can be so delightful that getting out and exploring might be limited to the nearest town and trips for French Bread, a bar and an ocassional restaurant.
However, an English couple (Jason and Michelle) have established a Motorhome (or motor caravan as I used to call them) Hire centre at St Avit (47 Lot-et-Garonne, Midi-Pyrenees) south of Duras

(see map)

Evolution will plan your itinerary for you or advise you on your existing route. If you’re a lover of fishing, walking, wine tasting etc.a personalised route planner to suit your needs can be arranged for the duration of your vacation. We will provide details of recommended camp sites.

You’ll never get lost…
We provide an on-board ready-to-use GPS navigation system. We’re on-call with a 24/7 helpline with English spoken… We can provide liaison with reputable local property agents for those seeking to purchase property in the area. Cycle and leisure equipment hire is also available. Evolution caters for all-year round rental, with winter skiing resorts only a leisurely 3 hour drive south, a little further will take you to the winter warmth of Spain.

Evolution MotorhomesSo you can avoid the long road trip through France, fly into Bergerac or Bordeaux or take the train – they will meet you at the airport or station and you’re off free to explore this rich and varied area. And with French number plates you might even get a bit more respect on the road!

For more info see www.evolutionmotorhomes.com