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Camping Val D'or Luxembourg

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It was the middle of February when we stayed at Camping Val D'or in northern Luxembourg and for three of our four nights we were the only campers. The site is open all year and so I suppose one has to expect building works to be done in the quieter season. We arrived to find the reception area gutted and covered in sawdust. A workman fetched one of the owners who greeted us warmly in English and checked us in quickly and efficiently. We'd paid in full online through Pitch Up and just had the local tourist tax to pay. We were given an electronic tag with credit for five minutes of showers each per day and, when we mentioned our intention to spend our time hiking, shown a useful map with several circular walks around and about in the hills and forests. We were advised to choose one of four hard-standing pitches as there had recently been rain. Initially we'd been dismayed to find the hard-standing pitches next to the children's play area, but as we were the only campers…

Luxembourg

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February is a difficult holiday for sun-worshipping Brits who travel by campervan. We only have a week and so there's not enough time to drive to the warmer weather in Spain. 

We decided instead that we'd have a lakes or mountains break with hiking and biking whatever the weather. Our morning homeward-bound departure shaped our plans for the end of the holiday - we're going to spend the last couple of nights in Bruges. It kind of made sense to base our first five nights in the same kind of direction, hence our first camping trip to Luxemburg.
Until now Luxemburg has been that country you go through to get to Germany and we've only seen it from the motorway. But PitchUp uncovered several promising campsites and we've picked one in the northern tip of the country next to a canal and forest.
I booked the campsite as we sat in line at the Folkestone Eurotunnel terminal having decided to stick to this plan. We've booked for three nights so we can stay on another cou…

Périgueux Camping le Bois du Coderc

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For the second time this year we let the weather determine our holiday destination for our October getaway. While Bavaria had been our initial plan, nearer to departure the long-range forecast had us rethink and focus on southern France.
It was also the second time this year we mixed up our Eurotunnel booking. Two weeks prior to our holiday I went to check the time of our crossing, discovering in horror that we were departing from Calais instead of Folkestone. Again! You'd have thought the last time it happened we'd have checked the remaining bookings. 
Fortunately Tony was able to get it sorted out the next morning, getting our incorrect booking cancelled and, by some miracle, organising two reasonably timed crossings out and back in.
We arrived at the Folkestone terminal 29 minutes before our crossing and were allocated a slot on the booked train. We drove straight to passport control and from there immediately onto the train - the quickest turnaround we've ever experie…

French Island Hopping vlog part five

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French Island Hopping vlog part four

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French Island Hopping vlog part three

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French Island Hopping vlog part two

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French Island Hopping vlog part one

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Noirmoutier

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I spotted the white turrets of Noirmoutier castle almost as soon as we crossed the bridge to Noirmoutier island. Pointing it out to Tony I said it was something we should visit one day during our stay. We'd quickly discover that the island is so small and flat that the castle can be seen from almost everywhere. Oh, and our campsite, Huttopia, was less than a ten-minute cycle ride from the castle which is in the centre of Noirmoutier town.
Huttopia Noirmoutier, we were pleased to find, is a lovely site along the sandy beach. The site is long and narrow, so you're not far from the sea on any of the pitches dotted around beneath the pine trees. The sea front pitches cost extra and none were available when we booked about two months in advance.
Arriving to stay for the last six nights in August, we paid one night at peak-season rates and five at off peak. The site was less than half full.
With most of the afternoon still at our disposal we decided to visit the main town, hopeful o…

Île d'Oléron in peak season

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What a difference a day makes! This was our fourth stay at Huttopia Chenes Verts and we'd never seen it so busy but, on our last Saturday, there was a mass departure leaving the site only about a third full.
I think we've always stayed during the last week of UK school holidays whereas we checked in during the second to last on this occasion. It just goes to demonstrate the shortness of the French camping season and why many sites only open for a couple of months.
We return to Île d'Oléron year after year after falling in love with its laid-back atmosphere, its miles of sandy beach and network of cycleways. This year it was the only familiar island of the four we would visit over or six-week island hopping adventure. Being back felt like being enveloped in a favourite jumper and we quickly relaxed into our usual routine.
We cycled ten minutes to Plage Les Allassins once we'd pitched on the first afternoon and then cycled right across the island to the beach near Sauze…