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  • Writer's pictureKeef Hellinger

Blog 71 - French Holiday 2014 🌠Around France in a Motorhome

Updated: Jul 1

By keef and annie hellinger, Aug 24, 2014, 04:58PM

Motorhome trip No17: May 14th – August 1st, 2014

A KeefH Web Designs Travel Blog NOTTS->FRANCE, ITALY, MONACO & SWITZERLAND ->NOTTS 4611 miles

In late September 2022 I revisited this Blog to enhance it, it was hastily transferred from Moonfruit and was such a lovely holiday I felt it deserved the time, care and dedication to restructure and enhance it, whilst keeping much of the original look and feel. I do hope you like it. Best KeefH Web Designs HIGHLIGHTS: Gorges du Verdon, Annecy, Allemagne du Provence, Quimperle, Cavalaire Sur Mer, Burgundy, Loire Chateaus,Blois, Louhans, Chalon Sur Saone, Noyers, Brittany especially Finistere (Eckmuhl), Les Pieux, Cannes Film Festival, Monaco, Alpes & Juras, Lac Leman, Evian, Montreax,San Remo & Meeting Marco, Concarneau & Micmac (Celtic band), the number of sites with indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

LOWLIGHTS: Mechanical Problems with the van, our French being incredibly rusty

Read on, or if you would prefer to hear the words of this Blog as an audiobook, please click HERE, thanks Probably easier to document this holiday by showing the calendars for May, June and July 2014. See attached images to see where we were on each day.


On the way to Annecy, France, reworked with vignetting and film grain and borders
On the way to Annecy, France, reworked with vignetting and film grain and borders
our autosleeper anniversary clubman, called Wendy, Rhone-Alps , France, this is also our facebook page main image
our autosleeper anniversary clubman, called Wendy, Rhone-Alps , France
gorges du verdon, provence, france
gorges du verdon, provence, france
image of annie swimming in french campsite pool
so many sites have pools


There is also the consolidation of 26 original photo snack slideshows (a technique I used at the time for creating image slideshows, they pulled the plug back in 2017 - commentary by KeefH Web Designs 2022) creating 3 sets of 30-minute-long slideshows which show our adventures plus one additional one showing every campsite we stayed at, most of which were via the ACSI book, if you are travelling France then it is a must.


This video was created using the phone app Travel Boast where i drew out all the places we stopped at on route in order down to the smallest villages. It then draws out the route with a motorhome driving to show where we went. I then hooked its 4 formats I had created into one You Tube video. Landscape, Portrait and square maps which were further altered to be Day, Night and soft blue just for effect. I joined them together with some relevant images using Microsoft's Clipchamp. See what you think, i think it brings the journey to life and adds to any travel blog #newfeature The thing I do find out of kilter though is its estimated distance which at 3180 miles is way less than the 4611 we recorded on the speedometer in the van. A huge 1431 miles less. About 1/3rd of the distance. Methinks the app developers need do a bit more work. But anyhow I like the moving motorhome.

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For UK folk get membership from Vicarious books in Kent http://www.vicariousbooks.co.uk/ or direct from ACSI online. There is also a book of all the Aires which are similar to the UKs CLs/ CSs (certified location/site) where for a fraction of the price and limited services you can stay overnight (or longer) on your journey. Tip take your own loo seat, paper, soap and towel in France, most sites do not provide these. Also, the reverse polarity issue is not as bad as some would have you believe, after checking the 1st 5 sites with my expensive kit I gave up, it is I believe only an issue if your internal electrical items are faulty. Don’t forget your 2-pin convertor – many of the sites are not bayonet fittings oh and most are 6 amp, 10 is becoming more the norm but they will charge you for an upgrade if their system allows it so I suggest you take that gas kettle else you will blow the fuse!

Note 2021 UPDATE photosnack died a long time ago, c 2017 I combined those all into 2 You Tube videos, 1 all the slideshows, 2 the "talkies", enjoy, they are HERE, also most sites have great swimming pools often indoor as well as outdoor so that is a real plus.

Note: The Index shows ALL blogs already published or you can find Blogs about a specific subject by clicking on a word in the TAG CLOUD or under these new blogs, thanks, motorhome-travels. Why not take a look Leave us some feedback here on the blog if you wish, thanks


Our calendar diaries for this major trip, such fun, May through July 2014


All in all, a nice relaxing and discovery type holiday mixed with chillaxing and tourism! Great times, we love our little motorhome. Summary of commentary posted on Facebook etc. during our travels was

Around France in 80 Days - well some of it... Last slideshow shows where we camped on each of those 80 days Thanks, all folks,Love K&A 31/7 Deauville, Trouville,Honfleur beach – pont de normandie & Dieppe views,Etretat,farm campsite near Yport, Yport, Fecamp, Minnimay(-sp?),st valery sur somme, Calais, densole 28/7 Les Pieux sunset, anneville,saint vaast la hougue, ravenoville, Utah beach, Omaha beach (st Laurent-sur-mer),carhagnolles(flower camping campsite),Bayeux,Arromanches-les-bain(gold beach), falaise, beavron-en-auge, camping deauville 26/7 Breton: pointe de primel (plougasnou), st quay portrieux, dinan, st malo,domaine de la ville huchet, Normandie: mont st Michel, Granville, les pieux 23/7 Eckmuhl / St Guenole (near Penmarche), Quimper,pointe du raz, Douarnenez,Locronan,Chateaulin, Cameret sur mer/ Pointe de Penhir, Pointe des Espagnols, Roscanvel, Le Faou, Plougastel Daoulas, Landerneau, Brignogan-Plages, Plougasnol Shipping News Update 20/7 Love Bretagne *FACT* Now in Penmarche FINISTERE Wind Blowing ENE and southerly to cool the warmed skin! Visited Concarneau and Benodet today having stayed at Clohars-Carnoet last night after visiting the wonderful Doelan fishing village (used in films allegedly). Loved Guerande (old town) when we visited it and the wonderful Martin from the AA (from Liverpool) based in Nante who fixed our recurring van problem with brake lights/ engine mgt warning. Far Bretagne cake is the best yet… crème anglais, almond, black gold plums (or prunes as they are known in French), seriously yummy Off to discover the coast, Quimper, plus more delightful blue Bretagne fishing villages and head towards Brest 2moro… Love to all our lovely family & friends 2 new slideshows on the website, one at the end of this page and one on the top of a new page Update 16/7 Now on the Pays deLoire Alantic Coast – Fab weather (hooray) 33c sunny no clouds and beaches to die for Staying near historic town of Guerande. Stayed at Piriac Sur Mer yesterday, great beaches here and at La Baule. Deserted often. La Baule reminded us of Surfers in Queensland, such a huge curve of endless sand. Also went over the Loire River outlet bridge between St Nazaire & St Brevin, such a huge expanse of water. Bit like Confederation bridge in Canada going to PEI from Nova Scotia, only not quite so long. Have seen some lovely places recently. Recommend Angers, Ducs of Anjou territory. Sadly, more minor probs with van so AA / Garage out for us 2moro early. Brake lights stopped, may be tied up with earlier probs and continuous Engine Mgt system light which we had checked out in Switzerland as “minor” wait till UK, so delaying our move onto Brittany for a day or so, no real hardship as weather, area and beaches FAB 1 new slideshow on website Love K&A xxx "Not a lot of people know that".... Michael .....but we went from Deaville to St Valery Sur Somme. Normandie, Picardy & Nord Pays de Calais and you can see the pix in the latest slideshow. Only one more to go....Love K&A xxx — with Serendipity Girls Designer Dresses. Hard to believe but my photos inspired Monet - 1st 2 the Lieutenancy @ Honfleur, last 2 Port Eval at Etretat (4 photos) one in the eye for Harald — with Serendipity Girlsdesignerdresses. At Bayeax les pieux to deauville , normandy - visited all the DDay landing beaches, quite harrowing, les pieux sunset wine with our chairs on the beach just so romantic, william the conquerors hometown falaise and a whole lot more see the latest slideshow "les Pieux to Deaville" — withSerendipity Girlsdesignerdresses. (10 photos) Plougasnol Brittany to Les Pieux Normandie, oh what a beach and campsite - we will be back Another slideshow on the website — withSerendipity Girlsdesignerdresses. (7 photos) for all you clapham-ites went to abbeville (picardy), bonneville (rhone-alpes), trouville (normandy) and narbonne (langedoc-rousillon) still working on pixs One more slideshow on website, Eckmuhl to Plougasnol, All Bretagne and mostly Finistere which we loved Update 16/7 Now on the Pays deLoire Alantic Coast – Fab weather (hooray) 33c sunny no clouds and beaches to die for Staying near historic town of Guerande. Stayed at Piriac Sur Mer yesterday, great beaches here and at La Baule. Deserted often. La Baule reminded us of Surfers in Queensland, such a huge curve of endless sand. Also went over the Loire River outlet bridge between St Nazaire & St Brevin, such a huge expanse of water. Bit like Confederation bridge in Canada going to PEI from Nova Scotia, only not quite so long. Have seen some lovely places recently. Recommend Angers, Ducs of Anjou territory. Sadly, more minor probs with van so AA / Garage out for us 2moro early. Brake lights stopped, may be tied up with earlier probs and continuous Engine Mgt system light which we had checked out in Switzerland as “minor” wait till UK, so delaying our move onto Brittany for a day or so, no real hardship as weather, area and beaches FAB 1 new slideshow on website Love K&A xxx Update 6/7 Still in Burgundy (just – we are off to Loire in a couple of days) at Lac Marcenay. We really, really like Bourgogne. On the Grand Route de Cremant now. Saw Route de Grand Crus other day. Also, we saw the source of the seine yesterday, a trickle in truth. Can’t believe it is so wide in Paris! The site we are on is owned by Dirk (a Dutch ex-hippie with a French wife) – it’s so quirky, mostly Dutch here. I watched Netherlands Vs Costa Rica last Nite with crowds of screaming Dutch (and drank with them, headache!) I asked if I could be an honorary English supporter, they were more than happy bedecked in orange, lions heads and other strange attire, but what fun….We spent a fab 4 days at and in and around the site at Lac Panthier (near Commarin) – best site we have ever stayed at, lakeside pitch such views and our 1st true Burgundian meal out – gammon and parsley terrine with Dijon mustard drizzle (starter), Bouef Bourguignonne & veg (main), true eglace deux boule - assorted flavours (pud) oh and how could I forget a 1l carafe of local white burgundy, which was better than any white I’ve ever had from a bottle (honest!) plus met a whole host of nice folk of many nationalities. Spent quite a few more days in Burgundy than we originally planned but we love it. Very different to Provence, Cote D’Azur and Rhone Alps. Seen two very different Chateau’s so far (Chateauneuf des auxois & commarin), the 12th century Cistercian UNESCO Abbaye de Fontenay, the 12th century Duc of Burgandie's wine press (still working) and the canal de Bourgogne, so real tourist times with some swimming, sunbathing, reading, chillin and just fun…. Ohhh our times are going too fast, but appreciate we are very lucky to spend so much time travelling …. 1 new slide of pix on the website, 1 to come when I get time later — with Serendipity Girls Designer Dresses. Now in Burgundy, just had a fab Pinot Noir from local Vineyard (hic) in Meursault. From Annecy we went all the way around Lake Geneva / lac leman (Swiss & French sides) Loved Evian, Montreux and much more besides, then travelled over the impressive Jura mountains into Franche-Comte and into Cote D'or area of Burgundy, after another minor hiccup with the van we are fully roadworthy again. Can thoroughly recommend Loughans & Chalon... 3 new sets of slides on the website More probably when we next manage Wi-Fi.... love to all our family and friends Life is a beach.... Love the Med More pix of Grimaud Ville, so old Provence great day in St. Tropez today saw this yacht in Monaco the other day, now in St Tropez, the playground of the rich and famous, one of our fellow ferry brits referred to the helicopter as really 'taking the p', hee hee new pix of port Grimaud and Saint Topless (Tropez) now on website Del Boy and Annie doing cocktails - Hey its officially 34c 93F here today Thats hot and humid, but aren't complaining Latest Pix listening to CSN in the sun on the cote d'azur fab.... my Italian is coming on (not really), discussed, just, Mondial di calcio (football) - world cup with Nico next door, smile, off to the beach this afternoon, still someone's gotta do it... want to see more of our holiday photos, try SLIDESHOWS, enjoy love us xxx "THE END"

Image of Carcassonne at night which we did visit, a magical place, this was provided by the younger brother of my old Bonneville infants and juniors school buddy Martin. His brother lives in a property below the castle. The other thing I remember is playing the board game named after this castle, which we had the pleasure of going around on this wonderful 2014 trip

The wonderful Carcassonne at Night lit up
The wonderful Carcassonne at Night


The French slideshow areas are

Note: Music on "Around France in 80 Days" by Micmac, a band we saw in Concarneau in Brittany, Headlines, the first 2 slideshows are the overview slideshows and videos, the more detailed ones follow

This is what we would call the "Talkies"

Folkstone (UK) to Gorges of Verdon (Provence)

There were 1629 images taken, the first of these slideshows shows those lasting 31 minutes. They are dated from 14th May 2014 to 17th June 2014 and in sequence cover travel and images between these places. Home, Folkstone, Lempdes Sur Allegdon (region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), Lunel (region Occitania ),Agay (region Provence alpes cote d'azur), all the following are also in Provence, just a fab place, I remember lavender fields, perfume, baguettes, wonderful food and produce, anyhow here are the places the images are from. Cannes, Nice, Grasse, Port Grimaud, Saint Tropez, Grimaud again including our swim in the Mediterranean Sea, Cavalaire Sur Mer, Le Rouen Salernes and finally the magnificent Gorges Du Verdon. How I remember that gorge and the panic about whether the van would stall and not restart out in the middle of nowhere #scary

Take a look why don't you, Provence in the South of France is an area we cannot recommend highly enough, and the toll road motorway make it quite a straightforward drive, but remember it's a long way, and at the toll booths, well at least back in 2014 it was necessary to remember there was both a high level and low-level automatic pay booth, tee hee for vans and cars alike, very clever.

Volonne (Provence) to Finistère (Bretagne/ Brittany)

This was the middle part of the trip from low down in the south of France right the way back up to see the beaches of Normandie where those WW2 battles and evacuations were held so ablely mastered by Sir Winston Churchill, and many points in-between, plus we had the pleasure of visiting some of the wonderful Chateaus especially in the Loire valley. The 1st slideshow which was reconstructed in 2022 is n minutes long and includes 1678 images. It covers the following regions and details extra places in those regions, those being in no particular order, Burgundy, Bourgogne, Franche-Comte, Pay-de-Loire, Rhone-Alpes, Lac Panthier, Cav-sur-Mer, Lerueon , Vincelle, Saumur, Commarin, Marcenay, Concourson, Guerande, Volonne, Annecy, St Jerioz, Grimaud. The second slideshow from 2014 is 44 minutes long.

Clohars-Carnoet (Bretagne) to Home

There are 1535 images in this slideshow, and I have included all those that have text on them as well, which I have not done on the other 2 parts of the trip, basically because it is not an even third split of the images being only 13 days from 20th July to the 1st August and on the way back even though we stayed at Delsole very few images were taken, it was mostly travel.

Here is a list of the places we traveled through hopefully mostly in chronological order.

Carhans, Penmarche (both Bretagne), Finistère, Eckmuhl, Plougasnol, then Normandy, Le Pieux, Deauville, Concarnaeu, Benodet, Abbeville, Etretat, Valery Sur Somme, Honfleur, Miannay, Pointe De Raz, Quimper, Les Pieux, Dinan,St Quay Portrieux, Granville, St Malo (port), Mont St Michel, Huchet and its old castle campground, just fab, Deauville as well which is in Picardy.

The 1st slideshow last for 1 hour 13 minutes, the 2nd 31 minutes.


The following is a quick summary of all the campsites we stayed at in France on our 2014 big trip. They are as best as possible in chronological order, but the reality way back then is we didn't always take a picture on the pitch we were on, nowadays we always do.


This shows our few days camping and driving around Lac Leman or Lake Geneva as we Brits like to call it. What splendid weather and a great campsite and spring waters from Evian. We went through Montreux, Lausanne and Geneva on the Swiss side of the lake entering at Saint Gingolph and leaving again St Julien En Genevois on Highway one. The video which features some lovely music by one of my musical heroes John Martyn is about 11 minutes long, enjoy! #music #maps


We spent a couple of days in and around Monaco travelling there on 3rd June 2014 by the French double decker south coast train (always busy) picking it up near Antibes on the St Tropez line at Biot Gare, station where we were staying at a campsite nearby that you could walk to the station from. Note images also include Frenes Biot campsite, listed as Antibes East. The train went from Biot to Monte Carlo, carefully misspelt in one of my texts as Morte #haha

On route we passed the amazingly expensive French Riviera, views to die for, it also went through Menton a town we would take the van through on our route to Italy and Sanremo

The 1st video which has all the images in it is 15 minutes long, the second with text and the wonderful John Martyn is 4 minutes long, enjoy.

Italy, San Remo

We crossed the border at Ponte San Ludovico on highway SS1 past Menton in Monaco which we had been passed on the train, but Monaco is entirely wrapped in France before you get to the Italian border. At Sanremo we met the wonderful Nico and Daniela who are still friends to this day, mostly on Facebook. We could not speak each other's language, but no worry, gifts, coffee, grappa and Nico's brother who could speak English, so he acted as our translator, in later times, Google translate really helps. Note Nico often returns to the campsite at Sanremo, we thought whilst the restaurant and beach views were great and we enjoyed our walk around, the site was a little too cramped for our liking. The pool however and company was wonderful. We stayed at the Villaggio Dei Fiori campsite and went for a lovely walk up the hill outside the campsite and overlooking the bay, seeing the very plush villa's and all the lovely bougainvillea in flower, just so bright and cheerful. We were lucky enough to see the Giraldo de Italia cycle race which was going past. The slideshow with John Martyn's back to Marseille is 10 minutes long, enjoy! #music

That's it for slideshows


Our French mobile number #memorabilia #takenfromfacebook It was ordered on eBay in advance and therefore worked when we arrived, hugely useful


Audiobook over some of our images, a selection, with text. This slideshow is 30 minutes long and the audiobook portion at the beginning is 20 minutes long, so you have some fab John Martyn music to accompany the flags depicting which parts of France we were in. #enjoy


Zoom in to find the area you are looking for. Our texted images in the very first slideshow is divided up into these regions (in alphabetical order not geographically). Note Switzerland, Monaco and Italy are included in these groupings of pictures.

Around Lac Panthier, Camping Day by Day, Cannes, Cavalier-sur-Mer to Lerueon, The chateaus, Vincelles to Saumur, Commarin to Marcenay, Concarneau and Benodet, Concourson to Guerande, Deauville to Densole UK, Eckmuhl to Plougasnol, Folkestone, Kent to Agay, France, Gorges du Verdon, Grasse to Port Grimaud, Grimaud Ville, Les Pieux to Deauville, Marcenay to Vincelles, Menton to Biot, Mesnois to Burgundy, Monaco and especially Monte Carlo, Nice, Plougasnol to Les Pieux, Port Grimaud & Saint Tropez, Sanremo, Italy, St. Disdille On Lake Geneva, Lac Leman in Switzerland, St Jerioz walk to the Lake, Volonne to Annecy, what a fab place the last one is, where we could relax in the pool whilst viewing the snow covered caps of nearby mountains and then catch the bus into Annecy to see the UNESCO listed prison surrounded by the moat and stroll through the embankment market with cherries, apricots and nougat, heaven.



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Keef Hellinger
Keef Hellinger
Sep 22, 2022

updated by KeefH Web Designs to add menu structure 22/9/22💯


Keef Hellinger
Keef Hellinger
Mar 21, 2022

audiobook added 21/3/22


Keef Hellinger
Keef Hellinger
Dec 28, 2021


Keef Hellinger
Keef Hellinger
Dec 28, 2021

28/12/21 found old french mobile number on faceache, added to blog for posterity

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