We drove across the Ile de Re and over the bridge back to the French mainland. The toll is only payable when crossing to the island. We passed through the outskirts of La Rochelle on the N237 before joining the N11 in a north easterly direction. We then turned northwards on the N137 and joined the A83/E03 Autoroute at Junction 7. We continued north on the A83 and then turned east on the A87. We left the A87 autoroute at Junction 28 and took the D27 south to Les Epesses. We drove through this small town to Camping le Breteche which is situated in the countryside on the southern side of the town. We arrived at the campsite in the mid afternoon having travelled 126 miles.
We stayed at Camping le Breteche for 4 days.
The site is pleasant situated and the entrance overlooks a small lake with picnic tables. The site's small restaurant, also, overlooks the lake. The municipal heated, open-air swimming pool is adjacent to the site and free entry is included in the campsite price. We spent a very pleasant afternoon swimming in the pool. The site, also, has a small playground and an excellent sanitary block. We were given a very large, fully-serviced pitch (water tap, waste grid and 10 amp EHU). The pitches are all hedged but not all are full-service. We paid 73.92€ for our 4 night stay. The receptionists both spoke excellent English.
The village of Les Epesses has a few shops and a bank and a small supermarket with a petrol station. About 5 miles away is the larger town of Les Herbiers which has several hypermarkets and a Lidl in the retail parks around its fringes. The campsite receptionist recommended a study centre in Les Herbiers which gave me free internet access, not wireless. Whilst in Les Herbiers we took the opportunity to stock up on several crates of Cidre de Normandy, a favourite tipple of ours.
As I mentioned previously, the reason for our stay at Camping Le Breteche was to visit Parc Puy du Fou. The campsite is very well placed for visiting Puy du Fou as it is a 10 minute drive away. We visited Puy du Fou on Saturday 24 August and were able to drive back to the campsite at the end of the day and have tea before returning for the Cinescene performance in the late evening. The campsite leaves the barrier open on Puy du Fou Cinescene nights too. The site did sell tickets for Puy du Fou but these included a mark up on the price and we had already booked ours by phone anyway.
Parc Puy du Fou was wonderful and exceeded our expectations. The shows were stupendous particularly the Vikings, with full size long ships, and the Roman amphitheatre with lions, tiger, chariots, etc. We carefully planned our day using the provided timetable and managed to get to all the daytime shows. The Cinescene production was truly spectacular with incredible choreography and sound and lighting effects. It was a long day with a lot of walking as the Parc is very large. There was, however, no queuing and we were only turned away from one show because it was full. We did get into that show later. The Parc is very pleasant with lots of shade and we took a picnic lunch with us. We bought a radio receiver which gave a simultaneous English translation of the commentary at the Cinescene and main day time shows. We got a shared receiver with 2 sets of headphones but I suspect that one could take one's own set of headphones and plug those into the single "box" and save oneself a few €s.
If going to Puy du Fou I would recommend that tickets are purchased by phone or internet well in advance. It was the last weekend of the season for the Ciniscene production when we went. We booked by phone about a week in advance, while we were still in the Pyrenees. We were connected to an operator who spoke excellent English. However, by that time all the Friday and Saturday night Ciniscene seats had gone and the only places available were on the steps on the Saturday evening. This was literally as it sounds. This meant we were actually seated on the concrete steps leading to the stadium seats. We had to join a large queue of "step-sitters" who were held back until those with seats had used the steps to get to them!! Someone on another web site warned that the seats were hard and advised taking a cushion. We took pillows and were very glad that we did as the steps were both cold and hard. We did feel that having to sit on the steps was a bit of a cheek really as there was no reduction in price. We were able to see perfectly however. We would, also, advise wearing something warm if visiting the Ciniscene as it gets very chilly. At the end of the show it took quite a while to get out of the crowded stadium and again out of the packed car park but the staff directing the traffic did a good job. We LOVED Puy du Fou and were very glad we went.
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