Campervan tour of the Vendée

The church
We spent Wednesday without any real aim, just driving around little villages. We started in St. Michel Mont Mercure and I defy anybody to drive past without visiting the church here. The church sits on a hilltop and on top of its spire is a gold statue that shines in the sunlight and is visible from miles around. I'm a strongly minded atheist, and though I might believe the people inside the church are all delusional, I can still appreciate a church for its architecture.

Right next to the church is an Aire de camping car and I've added it to my newly-created list of best free camping places in Europe. The site is a very large gravelled area, serviced by clean water supply and motorhome brown waste disposal. It's the stunning view that is the winner here. Perched atop the hill, the highest in the Vendée at 285m above sea level, you can see for miles around over a lake, green countryside, villages and castles.

The stunning view at the aire
We left Cleopatra and walked around the lake, stopping in the village to buy freshly baked bread from the bakery. Tony did very well in asking for it in French, and also scored a slice of chocolate flan.
Back at the top of the hill we took the chairs from their ingenious storage, hidden in Cleopatra's tailgate, and brought the table outside to enjoy bread and cheese in the glorious sun. If we hadn't the need to be back in Pouzauges in the evening, a bottle of red wine would have rounded our lunch of a treat!

Our next stop was Vallee de Poupet because roadsigns indicated walking paths there. There's a great circular walk that takes in the route of the river here, but at 19km you'd need to have plenty of energy, or maybe a bike. We walked for about an hour, retracing our steps back to the van.

Jeux Rigole shop
Finally we decided that as it was now past lunchtime closing we'd go back to Saint Laurent-Sur-Severe where we'd spotted a boardgame shop on our first day. We settled on the game Marrakech and decided we'd play it on Thursday, which was to be spent in and around Pouzauges.

That evening Rose, the lady campsite owner brought our invoice, so we settled the bill and discussed the local wine. She pooh-poohed our idea of taking home several 10 litre boxes of wine from the Super U supermarket, telling us that it tasted like vinegar. Instead we should buy bottles of local wine from Lidl. She likes Lidl a lot.

We also discussed the weather and Rose was of the opinion that Pouzauges was better than anywhere else in France because it doesn't experience extremes of temperature or excessive rain. She told us of many a poor camper who had had to leave the south of France with soggy belongings after having their tents flooded for several days. If the weather isn't reason enough, she went on, then the fact that Pouzauges is central to pretty much everything you could want to see or do means you'd be daft going any where else.

FRANCE 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8


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