A French Road Trip

With the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro on over at Hossegor this past week, I couldn't help but feel a little pang of jealousy of those over there. I've been back only a week... Actually maybe 2 now? Anyway, regardless, those beach breaks are calling me, (not the 6ft heavy bombs, just the 2-3ft beachies ha!) just one more surf in my summer suit, followed by crawling back onto the beach with spaghetti arms and the biggest grin on my face. Followed by an afternoon of lazing in that autumn sunshine whilst munching on picnic goodies. I can't complain too much, seeing as the weather and surf have actually been pretty fun back at home, but still. I'm just saying, I absolutely loved France!

A camping holiday is amazing, you have the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want. No hotel check in and out times, no one watching your every move, just you and the nature around you.

On the night ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff

We had the most amazing time, exploring beaches whenever we wanted, running on the shoreline with no one else around, cycling round lakes, setting up camp in the most beautifully secluded spots, cracking open a bottle of red wine that cost £2 that was just as good as an £8 bottle from back home. I think the best part of it all was being free to roam to our heart's content, with no restrictions, no rules. Bliss.

We had visited the south west of France a few years back when we travelled through Spain and Portugal on a previous road trip in the beast that was the VW, seen here. But this time, it was all about France, and we got to see a whole lot more of it. I loved every inch of France, as soon as we drove off the ferry from Roscoff, I immediately fell in love. We were greeted by rich agricultural landscapes, fields and fields of artichokes, of cabbages, of rich and luscious countryside, of old farm houses and quaint cottages. We stopped at a local boulangerie for fresh croissants and coffee, sampling our stilted, awkward French before jumping back in the van to continue our journey south.

We had decided to get down to the south beaches as quickly as possible as the swell was due to pick up in two days. We drove all the way down to La Rochelle on our first day, staying at a great little campsite just outside the city for our first night. We cycled round the city the next day, through the cobbled streets and up to the harbour where we parked up the bikes and strolled along the harbour wall all the way down to the beach.

As soon as we arrived at the sandy/pebbly beach, we both realised that that was exactly what we had been missing. We had been driving for 6 hours straight the day before, not realising that it was slowly waring us out. We dipped our toes in the cool clear water and instantly felt happier. Matty and I really aren't the city type when we've got surf and beach on our mind. We love making a trip to the city when we've had our beach fix, but if we go straight into the city after spending a few days prior solely travelling with no exercise, we both tend to freak out and feel irritable and uncomfortable.

With this in mind we grabbed a quick refreshing drink at a nice little beach bar then set off back for the van, ready to trek it down to Biscarosse where we would surf later that night. Although the thought of getting back in the van for another 4-5 hour drive made us feel a little nauseous, the fact that there would be long stretches of golden sands and a sunset surf awaiting our arrival soon helped us get on our way. We hauled the bikes onto the bike ran and meandered round one-way systems, tight side streets and eventually popped out of La Rochelle and back onto the main road heading south.

On the way down we passed fields upon fields of sunflowers, which, much to my disappointment, were all looking a little lacklustre. It was weird to see all these browned, sunburnt sunflower heads hanging loose on their stalks. I made it my mission to get to see these beautiful flowers when they're alive and in full bloom next year. Next year I will inundate my blog with endless photos of sunflowers!

By the time we made it to Biscarosse, the sun had begun to set. We found an aire de camping just north of Biscarosse and parked up for the night. We rushed down to the shore for a glimpse of the sunset then returned back to base to cook a meal on the hob and crack open a bottle of red. We went to sleep shortly after, the drive had completely taken it out of us, but we were ready to get up early for a surf the next morning.