Road Trippin’ en France

road trip france

Every summer, The Chapmen pack a suitcase, cram buckets, spades, and our kite into the boot of the car, create a (frankly, epic) holiday playlist, and embark on a driving holiday.  The road trip is not unfamiliar to us.  Mainly because we can’t afford to fly now there are 4 of us requiring seats on a plane.  So when we do fly, it’s going to be to somewhere far, far away, or to somewhere inaccessible by road (hello Greek Islands, I’ll have a lamb kleftiko, ta).

This year we ventured to Charente Maritime in South West France, and stayed at La Palmyre; a lively resort slightly north of Bordeaux and on the Atlantic coast.

road trip france

Although we drove to Portsmouth, got on a ferry, and slept overnight in a cabin, the trip really started in earnest when we disembarked at St Malo and went for a traditional French petit déjeuner in a sweet little cafe within the city walls. Croissants and baguette smeared with jam and rich hot chocolate you make up yourself in a bowl.  I don’t think you can French it up a whole lot more than that.

road trip france

Hot Choc 1

Soon after 10, we got back in the car and made our way towards Rennes, and then Nantes, before heading out of Brittany and through the Vendée towards Charente Maritime.  We drove through an epic storm: the rain was so torrential, the windscreen wipers couldn’t clear it.  We’d borrowed a sat nav for the trip, which proved invaluable for helping with directions as we couldn’t see road signs for the rain.  

road trip france

Once off the Nantes periferique, we found a supermarket and picked up vital supplies, before finding an aire to stop at for a picnic lunch.  Fresh baguette stuffed with garlic roule cheese and the ripest, tastiest tomatoes, pots of apple compote, and a religeuse, the best patisserie ever made.  All washed down with cans of Orangina.  


road trip france

The last leg of the journey was by far the prettiest.  We drove past field after field of beautiful, blousy sunflowers, all bright and cheerful.  


road trip france

There were cornfields and vineyards and wind turbines and charming little villages, the road through adorned with hanging baskets overflowing with flowers, and pretty stone houses with shutters on all the windows.  

road trip france

We drove over enormous bridges and along the coastal road towards La Palmyre, finally arriving at dinner time.  Four happy, hungry road trippers ready to relax and enjoy the rest of the holiday. 

Disclosure: This post is an entry to MoneySupermarket’s £50 Road Trip Challenge.  I was given £50 to fill up my car and hit the open road.  Although the petrol was paid for, all experiences are our own. 


On Being Prepared for Self Catering Holidays

fromage pate

Soon, we are off on a self catering holiday.  Like last year, we are sailing over to beautiful France, and driving through Brittany and the Vendée regions to stay in a Siblu holiday parc (great for families, lovely swimming pools, gorgeous locations) but unlike last year, we are more prepared. 

We had a hilarious trip to a supermarket last year, where we had to buy all sorts of stuff.  Things you don’t want to have to buy on holiday.  Things like antibac spray and washing up liquid and cloths and loo roll.  I am not sure why it escaped me to take those things on a self catering holiday, but it did, and so I had to buy them in Carrefour. 

fromage pate self catering holiday france

And if you take nothing else from this post, take this: finding antibac spray and cling film when there are gaping gaping holes in your French, will inevitably mean searching high and low on every single shelf in all the seemingly relevant aisles until they are located. 

Excusez-moi, Madame, où est le cling film? 

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Siblu Summer Holidays in France


Right at the beginning of the summer holidays, we went to France, on a ferry, and we stayed in the Vendée region in Le Bois Masson, a Siblu holiday park.  Both of us having enjoyed years of this kind of holiday as kids, Ross and I were on a mission to make it one our small children would really enjoy.

We stayed in a mobile home, the static kind with multiple bedrooms, a working kitchen and a flushing loo.  It was spacious and despite packing our car to bursting with all sorts, our accommodation never felt cramped.  It even had a lovely terrace to sit and while away the balmy summer evenings on.  You’ll have to excuse my mental overexcitement and makeup-free travel-face in this video – it had been an incredibly long day, and we’d all gone rather stir crazy in the car.

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Crossing the Channel with Brittany Ferries

brittany ferries

We’re back from our week at Le Bois Masson Siblu holiday village.  We travelled over to France last saturday morning on Brittany Ferries.  The ferry was early – sailing at 8:30am, and we bundled two very sleepy children into the car at 6am, and were off with a flask of coffee and stacks of sausage sandwiches to eat at the port.

Getting on to the boat was quick and hasslefree.  We had a cabin – almost certainly a must if you’re travelling with young children as it provides somewhere calm, quiet and safe to rest on an otherwise packed ship.  An outside berth, complete with porthole and ensuite facilities costs under £40 for the crossing.  Surely then a no brainer.

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