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French Pyrenees part 1
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Cary and I chose the French Pyrenees as our caravan holiday destination for the summer of 2008. A major factor in choice of destination was an invitation from my sister and brother-in-law to visit their new home a barn-conversion in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

We had booked our crossing with Norfolk Line Ferry from Dover to Dunkerque. We decided that we rather than pass through Dover quickly as we usually did that we would have a few nights in the area and see what the town had to offer. We left home late on the evening of Sunday 21 July and overnighted at the Stafford Motorway Services. We left the Stafford services very early on the morning of Monday 22 July continued to Dover via the M6, M6 Toll, M40, M25 clockwise and M20. We made good time and arrived at our first campsite in Folkestone on the afternoon of Monday 22 July. We had travelled 298 miles

We had chosen as our first night halt Little Switzerland on Wear Bay Road on the outskirts of Folkestone.

Little Switzerland Cafe

We have used this site on a number of occasions as a night halt before joining the ferry at Dover. The site is close to the M20 and is accessed by a narrow private road from a residential area. The site has an outstanding location partway down the cliffs above a local nature reserve known as the Warren. The rear of the site is sheltered by high chalk cliffs whilst to the front of the site there are outstanding views out over the English Channel towards France.

The site is long and narrow and stretches along a level ridge in the cliffs. The entrance road passes a row of static caravans which have open views over the Channel. There is then the main touring pitch area, a row of pitches on grass on either side of the tarred site road. These pitches have EHUs and are sheltered on the seaward site by an area of woodland - this means that there are no sea views from these pitches. There is, also, an area of tent pitches in the woodland. At the far end of the avenue of pitches there is the site bar and cafe serving home cooked food. This cafe, also, serves as the site's Reception. In front of the cafe there is a sunny grass terrace with garden furniture which has wonderful views over the channel. The owners are friendly and welcoming. The site toilets are set against the cliffs behind the cafe and reached by steep steps. They are said to be rather dated and need of updating and they are, also, quite a walk from the main pitch areas. We have never used the site toilets preferring to use our own facilities. All of the site buildings date from its days as a World War 2 army post.

View from the cafe

The site is popular with English and Continental campers passing through the port of Dover. This means that the site is busy with a high turnover of campers coming and going. A big advantage of the site is that it has no gate or barrier and so it is possible to leave for early ferries without hindrance.

We spent pleasant nights at the site. On the Monday we took the opportunity to visit Dover Castle. The castle site on the famous White Cliffs is and interesting and varied one. As well as visiting the castle and the Roman lighthouse we, also, took the opportunity to take the tour of "Secret Tunnels" used by armed forces by World War 2 and now home to a museum and illustrative displays. On Tuesday 22 July we looked around the Dover town centre and then visited a Sainsbury's Supermarket near to the campsite for some last minute holiday shopping and to fill up the car with diesel. In the evening we bought some fish and chips from a local shop in Folkestone and after returning to Little Switzerland ate them sitting on the grass near the statics from where we could look out over the Channel.

Watching the sea from the cafe

Early on the morning of Wednesday 23 July we quietly hitched up the 'van and drove the 9 miles to the Norfolk Line Ferry Terminal at the Dover Western Docks. It was an easy journey taking approximately half and hour and we checked in at approximately 07.00hrs for the 08.00 Norfolk Line Ferry. We took our favourite position in the huge windows of the self-service restaurant overlooking the bows and enjoyed a full English breakfast and a smooth crossing to Dunkerque.

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