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Messanges, South West France – we’ve arrived

We left the lovely campsite just outside Tours to start the 5 hour journey to just north of Biarritz, my total focus was to find as massive an E.Leclerc as I could. I love French Hypermarkets, especially this chain, they usually have fabulous fish counters, often with full 7ft sharks and lobsters (not 7ft ones, just plain lobsters) and a wonderful array of in season fruit and veg. Tomatoes that have a flavour, green beans that ‘squeak’ when you bite into them, once I’ve done my big food shop then I’m on holiday. So you can imagine my consternation when we drove past lots around Bordeaux on the ‘wrong side of the motorway’ and end up south of Bordeaux where hypermarkets end, seriously, there are no hypermarkets for 3 hours until you almost hit Spain.

We came off the motorway to find somewhere with the necessary ambience for lunch, lovely country restaurant and a Super U that the landlady said was ‘large’, hmm our interpretation of the word differs dramatically, it wasn’t quite as bad as the Tesco in Princes Risborough but it was close, the entire fish counter was empty…..first paddy of the holiday, I was not a happy bunny. so stocked up on essentials….beer, red wine (£1.38 a bottle, highly quaffable but really wouldn’t travel well), and merguez, dodgy French spicy sausages that taste fabulous barbecued – you have to cook them outdoors, no way would you want them indoors as your house would smell for weeks. This gives Peter something to do of an evening and make him feel like he’s on holiday by burning stuff over a naked flame – it’s that hunter gatherer thing.

So back on the motorway with me being grumpy as I’ve not had my hypermarket fix, but we can see the temperature rising as we head south from 15 degrees in the Loire to 23 degrees, that’s more like it!

Arrive at Le Vieux Port campsite just outside Messanges at around 5pm to meet the extremely young and lovely Eurocamp rep who said that we were the only family to arrive that day who weren’t grumpy. Apart from no hypermarket fix we’re on holiday, it’s 23 degrees, the campsite has 7 pools and is right next to the sea, we have a bloody big mobile home with 3 bedrooms, flushing loo and power shower – luxury after last weekend at Camp Bestival and even better my phone has no service so no one can find me, yes!

Supper consisted on squeaky beans, dodgy merguez, chargrilled lamb chops and home made chips, deep fried properly, something I never do at home and copious amounts of cheap red wine -a feast. At 10.30pm we all went to say goodnight to the beach, or actually find it, small boy and medium sized girl both saw shooting stars and the sound of the ocean cemented the concept that we truly were on holiday.