Most French campsites will have early morning deliveries of fresh croissants/bread etc. which have to be pre-ordered the night before and St Michael's was no exception (in fact I had pre-ordered when we booked in yesterday) so the kids were able to go off and collect our breakfast and bring back our penultimate breakfast on this holiday and it did not disappoint (V. had slept for most of the previous afternoon - presumably exhausted by her bike riding the previous day and was most unhappy when she woke up about the difficulties a mid-afternoon nap have on getting to sleep in the evening). We set off shortly thereafter and after taking an unexpected detour around some picturesque wheat fields in the heat of the French countryside we finally found our way on to the A28 and made our way towards Rouen.
Unlike some of the other major cities we visited, Rouen did not appear to have a ring road (if it did we did not find it) and we were therefore swept close to the city centre where we had a good view of the Cathedral before we were taken on a tour of some of the industrial areas to the East of the City before re-joining the motorway en route to La Touquet. We had decided to stop off there as it was reasonably close to Calais and we were not very sure of what the situation in Calais was like due to the on-going industrial action.
I am pretty sure we did not take the most direct route to the main drag but the tour of the outer suburbs of Le Touquet were very pleasant featuring immaculate holiday homes, tree-lined avenues, equestrian centres and various beaches. We eventually found our way to the main town beach and as if by magic a space appeared to park the van next to a jumping machine and the crazy golf which the kids were most interested in. We had a pleasant stroll down on to the beach and I went for swim and V. went for a paddle on the wide expanse of beach. The Channel was a little colder than Dubai but once I had got under the waves it was lovely - with the sun shining it was very pleasant despite the strong wind. We played some ball games with the tennis ball we keep with us at all times after my swim and then repaired for coffee and ices (caramel with caramel chunks - excellent) at a beach side café before investigation of the jumping area.
The machine was very similar to the one the kids had used in Castletownbere on regatta day a few years ago but unfortunately only one was in operation and there was a big queue so A. and I had a game of crazy golf (which A. won) and we then went back to the van to find that we had been left a note due an alleged parking infraction. Given that we were in a parking space for which we had bought a ticket this seemed a little harsh.
We then made our way out of the main town and stopped off at a Carrefour that we had spotted on the way in to buy provisions for our final BBQ of the trip - consisting of a giant sausage and some beef kebabs and prawns. We were soon back on the road and we found the campsite with a minimum of fuss. It was truly a 5* site set in the grounds of a chateau with a pool etc. (unfortunately closed by the time we arrived)and we were shown to our pitch by a lady driving an electric car.
The grounds were idyllic and once again I felt like the poor country relation in having to scout out a base for the disposable BBQs. My scavenging took me around the back of barn towards the rear of the site where the owners obviously kept all the maintenance equipment. It was also the home of a number of rabbits who ducked and dived as I approached (unfortunately they did not show themselves when I took V. around for a look a bit later) and the rolling lawns of the site in the late evening sun were very picturesque. Less picturesque was the plume of smoke that came of the BBQ and directly onto the British family camped next to us with their bespoke camping dining equipment (stainless steel stand with what looked like the worlds most enormous omelette being cooked in a giant (Stainless steel) saucepan). Not that I was jealous of their equipment (much) - in fact some of the equipment we had seen on this holiday defied belief - at the campsite outside of Rouen we had seen a Vespa fixed to the back of the motorhome and another garaged in the cubicle at the back where we kept the hose on our van. We also saw a number of motorhomes towing trailers with Smart cars on top - presumably to give a little more transport flexibility.
Whilst the next door family were forced to relocate their cooking operations due to the smoke from our BBQ the food itself was great and we enjoyed a great final meal as the sun gradually set over Calais.