After Arromanches we headed toward Puy du Fou, a theme park near Nantes. On the way we made a few stops, one was traffic induced, one morale induced and one weather induced. We left the Canadian Cemetery and headed towards Avranches on A84 but we only got about 50 km before the traffic stopped. We crawled slowly up a hill only to see several kilometers worth of cars, bumper to bumper and not moving, so we took the nearest exit to a Shell gas station to fill up and plan our next move. There was no way we were going to sit through that traffic so we pulled out the map and found a campground in a town called Pont-Farcy that was less than 5 km from the gas station on country roads.
We headed there and after setting up the camper car we headed into town and found that the whole town was out for a fundraiser for the local old age home. The main street was closed and people lined the street with tables full of… junk. Garage sale quality in Canada is much higher than in France! It was a fun diversion, the local brass band played a few songs and we got to see a rural French town. We were likely early for the festivities but maybe not. The campground was clean, in great shape and nearly empty which was nice too.
Leaving Pont-Farcy the next day, we cruised along the highway at about 120kph until we reached Camping Les Coques d’Or a 5 five star campground with a really cold pool and Sophie the giraffe shaped bouncy castle. We only stayed one night before finding a 2 star in Beauvoir that didn’t have a shower block but did have wifi. Everyone got to use all the facilities aboard the Hymer and they all worked great even the separate shower. We could even access Netflix a few times!
The whole reason for coming to this area was Mont Saint-Michel, an island castle which has been been populated for at least 2000 years. Historically, the island was completely surrounded by water at high tide and at low tide was accessible by walking along the sand. This allowed the castle to resist two different sieges in the 10 years war. In the 1879 a causeway was built to allow travel at high tide to the island but this has partially contributed to silting up the bay. To de-silt the bay the causeway was replaced with a bridge which will allow water to flow and a dam built across a river leading into in the bay. The dam has gates which hold the water in the river at hide tide level until low tide at which time the gates are opened and the fast flowing water flushes the silt out of the bay.
It was a cold grey day with lots of wind the day we visited the castle but still we saw people making the barefoot walk across the sand to the island which is the “must-do” experience of the visit. We decided to pass.
Inside the castle is a maze of narrow streets and staircases leading up to the cathedral at the top. We made it to the entrance of the cathedral and then turned around after seeing the lines and had a great lunch in one of the restaurants. You can stay in hotels on the island but the rate was 300E a night so we went back to our camper car. I loved the history of the island and how even today they still occasionally will find undiscovered rooms and tunnels that haven’t been used for a 1000 or more years.
From the campground we could see an old windmill running and on the way out we went and visited it. We were surprised to see that the windmill is still used to grind grain into flour and the owner gave us a great tour.
Leaving Beauvoir we found that the crew, Leah and I included, was not in a travelling head space so after about an hour we pulled into Municipal de Vigneux campground which turned out to be a beautiful little spot to spend a night. Our only complaint was that the water was too cold for us to go swimming, though others were braving the water. We would love to visit again when it is a little warmer. One cool thing is that the tide is very large here so the dock at the beach is partially submerged at high tide providing a great spot for kids to jump in but at low tide doesn’t go underwater. The boys enjoyed throwing rocks off the dock causeway into the water.
The next day we made it to Puy du Fou ready for three busy days in the park! Normally I want to have an uneventful trip when travelling but this trip was eventful in a good way.