Le Crotoy

If you’re reading this it must have worked! A week or two ago I went down to the cellar, somewhere I hadn’t been for months. Nearly nine months in fact. There was dust. There were cobwebs. Neglected in a corner under a dirty tarpaulin sat an old friend – my trusty blogging engine.

I wiped the dirt and grime away from its dials and gauges and turned the ignition key, more in hope than expectation… nothing. After all those miles travelled in the last eight years, followed by nine months of neglect, the battery had finally given up. I’d bought another in anticipation of problems and it was the work of a moment to swap the old for the new. This time the dashboard lit up when I turned the key, but not in a good way. There were red lights everywhere, “update this”, “download that”, “this software is out of date”, “licence invalid”, “your domain is about to expire…”

What a nightmare! I started by dealing with the flashing red lights first, then the steady ones, then the ambers, slowly working through the issues until…. now!

There’s a steady hum of power, the gears are engaging smoothly and we can get on our way once again.

Le Crotoy Chateau
Le Crotoy Chateau

I’m writing this in northern France in Le Crotoy, which boasts the only south facing beach on France’s north coast. Work that one out if you can! You may need the use of a map. We’re at the beginning of a 4½ week expedition down the western side of France and along the north coast of Spain. Where we can we’ll find new spots to explore but we might also swing by some old favourites from previous trips. We’ll also be meeting some travelling companions when we get to Spain. Don’t worry – you’ve met them before – and they’re looking forward to seeing you again 🙂

When I checked back it was July last year when we last spoke. Vince hasn’t been sitting idle all that time, we’ve changed his storage location to one much closer to home. It’s now much less painful to get away. Instead of a two hour round trip to load him up we are now only 20 minutes away. We’ve done a few long weekend trips exploring our local area in North Yorkshire, and we’re becoming quite fond of Northumberland after two exploratory trips up there. Apologies for not including you on those little trips, it won’t happen again. Probably.

Jules Verne’s pub
Jules Verne’s pub. I think.

Le Crotoy is our first stop this trip after an overnight at Canterbury Park & Ride and a civilised 10.00am ferry. It’s a pretty little town for a stopover, as Jules Verne discovered when he stayed here to write 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. He probably chose it for the lack of distractions as there’s not much else to do here! Although a plaque on a wall did tell us that Joan of Arc was held captive here in 1430. This was for a short time prior to being taken to Rouen for trial and execution.

Le Crotoy’s secret weapon is the restored steam railway which trundles round the bay to St. Valery-sur-Somme. St. Valery has the dubious honour of waving William the Conqueror off as he set sail for England in 1066. Although at that point I guess he was just William. 

Steam Train

On the train we travelled in a restored 3rd class carriage (we know our place), taking about an hour to get to St. Val. Along the way we enjoyed views of the marshy bay at low tide and the sight of deer leaping away from the trackside and heading for the woods. There’s much more to do in St. Valery than Le Crotoy. We had a wander round the church, found a war cemetery for Chinese soldiers who lost their lives in WW1 and visited a chapel dedicated to French Mariners (St. Valery is the patron Saint of sailors).

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t our friend. As the rain cascaded down we had no choice but to adjourn to a nice warm restaurant for our first moules frites of the trip and a glass or several of the house rosé. I didn’t fall asleep on the train back despite what Gill might tell you.

Our plan for the next few days is a drive down to Évreux first of all. Then we’ll head south towards Bordeaux in a series of 100 mile-ish hops. We’ll update you as we go.

Chat soon!


As always a tap or a click on a pic will enlarge it for the full HD experience…

Map of rail route
Route around the Baie de Somme
Our engine
Our engine 🙂
Sailors’ Chapel
Sailors’ Chapel
About Ken Tomlinson 217 Articles
Semi-retired biker, blogger and world’s best grandad. Doesn’t take life too seriously. Discovered motorhoming in 2015, sold up and downsized to fund more travels. Now with added Yorkshire.

10 Comments on Le Crotoy

  1. Great to have you back! We caravanned down the West Coast one summer and it was lovely. Bretignolles Sur Mer and Brem were pretty spots. Enjoy your trip

  2. I look forward to following you on this trip. It sounds teally exciting. I love the French west coast and what a great idea to then add the north coast of Spain. Safe, happy travels and love to Gill xx

  3. If all goes to plan we’ll be tucking into moules/frites in St Valery in June/July before heading south for a nostalgic trip to beautiful Najac in the Aveyron .Looking forward to your next installment . Love to Gill xx

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