The Ballards - France Vendee


During August 1999 we took the kids to stay in a Mobile home, which sounds awful, but actually Keycamp were absolutely brilliant - 10/10!.
We were near the sea at St Jean de Monts half way down the West coast of France.

We did a bit of driving about and exploring (Pornik, Noirmoutiers) but mainly swam, read, ate lovely barbecued French food and drank mega-cheap French plonque (Rose Champagne 0.93!).

The following year we returned to a camp site a few miles down the coast.

This time we took bikes (4 bikes on the back of a Volvo at 110mph on the Autoroute...? I spent the whole trip waiting for them to smash the rear window!) which was almost a success.

We went cycling on a a piece of decommisioned SNCF railway. We went about 5 miles then turned the rail-bikes round and came home again. It was hard and hot work, but when you stopped it was beautifully quiet and a lovely piece of countryside.

There was a railway bridge over the river so we stopped and it was just beautiful. You don't seem to get that sort of tranquility in Britain any more. Too many people crammed in to too small a space. I could live in France: unlike a lot of English people, I really like the French, we can speak french reasonably well and they have a sensible attitude to life: plenty of space, a healthy nationalism, great food and they shoot any wildlife, but only to eat. If Nessie spoke French better I would be sorely tempted to go and work somewhere rural in France (but fairly far South so the weather is good!).

We did some wine-tasting to some Vendée caves and brought back to the UK sufficient red, rosé and white wine, plus beer to sink a battleship. Poor Volvo.........