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French Alps part 4
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We purposely left Camping Lac Bleu at Doussard on Wednesday 26 August, as soon as we had finished packing up in the late afternoon, with a view to doing a few miles before our first stop. The route from Camping Lac Bleu to/from the toll autoroute just north of Annecy was not a difficult one. The drive along the western shore of the lake toward Annecy was a pleasant grand finale to our stay.

We planned Camping le Pleine Tonique at Montrevel en Bresse as our first night halt, on the way home. To ensure we avoided any challenging gradients we used the toll autoroutes A40 and A41 to the north of Bourg-en-Bress and then turned onto the D975 and D28 to Montrevel-en-Bresse. We arrived at the site at around 20.00hrs, having phoned ahead to book a pitch as we travelled. We had travelled only 107 miles from Camping Lac Bleu.

Situated just outside the small town of Montrevel-en-Bress Camping le Pleine Tonique is a huge holiday complex with all types of accommodation including the touring park. It has a lake, several swimming pools, shops and a wide range of sporting activities. The security was impressive! We were stopped at the entrance barrier where the “guard” directed us to Reception and the second barrier. Cary was booked in by the friendly, English-speaking, staff and paid by credit card. As always lake-lover Cary asked if there was a lake view pitch and was allocated one. The receptionist did say if we found that pitch unsuitable we could use any vacant pitch we fancied!! We were given a map and code for the second barrier and directed to our pitch. The touring site is split upon into colour areas – our pitch was in "Citrone". Access to our pitch was very good with wide tarred roads throughout the site.

Our pitch was across the road from one of the lake beaches and next to a toilet block. It was absolutely huge and long enough to allow us keep the ‘van hooked up in a straight line with the car. The pitch was nearly as wide as it was long. Shaded by mature trees it was on rather soft grass and separated from the adjacent pitches by low hedges. After setting up we were tired after a busy day's packing and travelling. We went straight to bed as we didn’t have the energy to explore and it was already growing dark. For this reason I am unable to comment on further the site and its facilities.

In the morning of Thursday 27 August we rose at 06.00hrs with a view to leaving as soon as the barrier was opened at 07.00hrs. Unfortunately as I was preparing to set off I discovered that the nearside ‘van tyre was flat. The pitch was rather soft and muddy and it was quite a struggle to to jack up the ‘van with the Alko Side Jack. I placed the Jack on yellow levelling ramps to prevent it sinking into the soft ground so that I could remove the wheel with the flat tyre. Extracting the spare wheel from the under-slung Alko spare wheel carrier – was, also, very difficult as it was hard to get the ‘van high enough to free the spare wheel. I then changed the wheels and tried to stow the alloy wheel in the spare wheel carrier. A TIP – DON’T try this! The alloy wheel would not fit and was badly scratched by my attempts to this. Another tip, I didn’t have a brace for the wheel nuts but the Alko Wheel lock brace fitted. By the end of these efforts on the soft muddy ground I looked like a mud wrestler and so had to have another shower in the adjacent shower block. We finally left the campsite at 10.00hrs!!!

I would recommend the site as being very good as a night halt and it is probably worthy of a longer stay if one wished to partake of the many, onsite, leisure activities. For one night (2 adults, car, ‘van and EHU) we were charged 18.40€ which was quite expensive for what we used but would have been reasonable if we had had time to use the leisure facilities. We were given a free pass to the swimming pool and other sports facilities. The site is conveniently located for those travelling north or south on the A6, A62 or A39 autoroutes as it only a few kilometres from all of them.

From Camping le Pleine Tonique we took the D975 northwards before turning onto the D37 and N6 to Corpeau. At Corpeau we turned onto the N74 to Dijon. We bypassed Dijon on its ring road and joined the N71 to Mussy-sur-Seine. At Mussy-sur-Seine we joined the D671 to Troyes. We bypassed Troyes on the D610 and then turned on to the D677 and N77 to Chalons-en-Champagne.

We had planned to stop at the municipal site at Chalon-en-Champagnes as our next night halt. We arrived at the site Reception at around 17.00hrs on Thursday 27 August after a pleasant day’s driving through the vineyards of Burgundy on N and D roads. We had driven 234 miles.

The site is situated at the southern end of the town and easily accessible from the A6 and A4 autoroutes and the N77, which we were using. The site is well signposted from the outskirts of the town and set in a pleasant park in a residential area. It is a popular night halt and there were already 3 British caravans queuing to book in when we arrived. The reception staff were polite and friendly and spoke excellent English. We booked 2 nights but planned to leave on the afternoon before the 2nd night for a night time drive to catch our ferry at Dunkerque on

We were given a reasonably large pitch on the newer section of the campsite and this pitch backed onto the small lake. The pitch was half grass and half hard standing with little shade. Access was good on tarred site roads and the pitches were separated from neighbouring ones by low hedges. The site had games and TV rooms, a small restaurant/take-away and a kiosk selling sweets, postcards, local produce, etc. Bread could be ordered from this kiosk the night before by writing on a notice board! The site offers free wi-fi internet, with a code obtained from reception. The wi-fi reception extended to our pitch but only worked outside the ‘van only. There were several toilet blocks, with loo paper, which were clean and well cared-for.

After spending a pleasant morning resting the next day we had hoped to do a little sightseeing in the town centre in the afternoon. However, we ended up spending most of the day shopping at several supermarkets to find enough bottles of cider to fulfil an "order" for our son's wedding in the following mid-September. We got most of this from the Carrefour hypermarket at the Centre Commercial about 15 minutes drive from the campsite but this did not have quite enough so we had to go on a "supermarket tour", courtesy of our satnav

Camping Municipal Chalon-en-Champagne cost 22.10€ per night (2 adults, car, ‘van and EHU) which I thought was a bit steep for a municipal but it was a good night halt and one which I would recommend. It is featured in the Caravan Club’s “Caravan Europe” (Vol 1) and “Alan Rogers – France” campsite guides.

We finally left the site at about 20.00hrs on the evening of Friday 28 July. The route was initially a little difficult as the town’s agricultural fete had closed a number of roads near to the campsite. Fortunately our satnav helped us to find our route. We had originally planned to drive to Dunkerque via N and D roads but after our delayed start decided to use the toll Autoroutes. We took the A26/E17 to near Calais and then took the A16/E40 to the Dunkerque ferry terminals. The tolls for our journey to Dunkerque cost about 25€ and we arrived there at 01.00hrs. We had travelled 215 miles from Chalon-en-Champagne to Dunkerque. As we have done on several other occasions we overnighted, for free, in the car park adjacent to the Norfolk Line ticket office. On the following morning, Saturday 29 August, we caught the 06.00hrs ferry to Dover. We had been booked on the 08.00hrs ferry but were allowed to change to the earlier ferry without any extra charge.

We arrived in Dover and disembarked at approximately 07.30hrs. We experienced some delays on our 111 mile journey on the M20 and M25, anticlockwise, and reached Wyatt's Covert Caravan Club site, to the north of London, at about noon. We regularly visit this site on the way home from our Continental holidays via Dover. Cary's Dad lives in nearby Ruislip and Wyatt's Covert makes an ideal base for visiting him. We stayed at Wyatts Covert for 3 nights and spent time visiting Cary's Dad and other friends in the area.

On the morning of Tuesday 28 August we set out on the final 200 mile leg of our journey back to St Helens. We travelled via the M40, M6 Toll and M6. We had planned to stop off in Stafford to visit friends but after encountering serious traffic congestion on the M6 north of Birmingham we left the M6 and took the M54 west, and then the A49 north to Runcorn and the A570 to St Helens. We arrived home safely in St Helens by the early evening.

Holiday Statistics

Total mileage: 2349 miles
Total diesel consumption: 552 litres
Total diesel costs: £577.35
Total Autoroute tolls: c£40
Total nights away: 43 nights
Average diesel costs £0.228/mile
Average diesel costs per litre £1.045/l
Average miles per litre: 4.255m/l
Average miles gallon: 19.34m/g

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1 comments

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  • StuartK
    24 January 2013 19:42 StuartK
    Really enjoyed reading this extensive journal entry and found it very useful for planning our own trip to the area in April and May. We intend to base ourselves in Annecy before moving on to Provence.
    Thank you for the invaluable advice and the time and effort devoted to writing a fulsome account of your travels.