Camping might not be on everyone's agenda and to be honest it was more like glamping as there wasn't a tent in sight. However, we were able to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere on alfresco dining and being close to nature. Wheelchair accessible cabins and caravans are now more common on European campsites than has been available before. We decided to travel by car and use the ferry service from Ireland to France as flying with so
We selected a site in Picardy, northern France, both for its amenities and also because of the local history as well as its proximity to Disneyland Paris. The campsite is based on the edge of a small village where provisions may be purchased, although there is a perfectly good mini market on the site as well as a large supermarket just a few miles away. We actually took advantage of all three and were surprised to learn that in the supermarket there was a dedicated priority check-out for people with disabilities.
The campsite also has a swimming pool, a fishing lake, a swimming lake as well as other sporting activities, oh and not to forget the two restaurants for the times when you prefer the cooking be done by someone else.
We really enjoyed our time on the campsite, but equally, we enjoyed exploring the surrounding area and take in the culture as well as visit the many monuments and battlefields of the First World War. Being from Northern Ireland, a visit to the Ulster Tower was an absolute must; dedicated to the men and women fallen in the war, it is quite a fairytale looking structure, which is only accessible at the ground floor, so I did not get to see inside. I did suggest that a video commentary as a substitute would be very welcome, but I do not know if they took up my advice on that matter.
Of course, there are many other monuments in the locality and what is spine-tingling is the number of isolated graves which pepper the countryside in memory of those who lost their lives. I personally enjoyed the Canadian Monument at Vimmy Ridge. The Canadians have managed to make their site as accessible as possible, with a trail through the original trenches and offering a superb museum to wander through. As well as excellent parking and for those who have difficulty with walking, golf buggies are on hand to transport them to the monument proper.
There is more to France that the war and we certainly enjoyed the local museums and markets which pop up in the rural towns. One of these, in particular, was Pierrefonds which was a beautiful village, which is named after the chateau at the centre of the village. This is also the location of the very successful BBC drama Merlin. The chateau has a great collection of items from the show as well as its own historic artefacts and it is well worth visiting.