A small château and a giant telescope

Camping fatigue is setting in, I can feel it. The rules are slipping.  Yesterday I ate a meal with broccoli in and I’m not sure how many more rounds of Junior Monopoly I can take.

The weather has turned a bit. Intermittent torrential rain with dazzling hot sun has meant that we’ve done a few more trips. Here are the highlights…..

Château de la Ferté St-Aubin

You can’t come to France and not take in a chateau or two. A castle has stood in this spot since the11th  century and has had bits added on ever since.


The entrance fee seems a bit steep until you read that it only covers the cost of five new roof slates. 400,000 have been replaced so far with many more to go.

The rooms in the castle are suitably impressive and furnished in an 18th century style. For children (or childish adults….) there are loads of different parlour games to try.

I took this opportunity to try and teach SC to play chess. With my chess skills she was a worthy opponent until she had a total meltdown claiming I had moved my king two spaces….. (I hadn’t, I swear!!). I blame a lack of lunch so we headed to the park adjoining the castle.

We spent the afternoon in the “Parcours des poisons” which is a terrific treasure hunt style game in the grounds of the castle.

As “Madeleine d’Egennes” you have to follow clues through the woods, collect the names of poisonous plants, traverse obstacles and solve riddles in order to find the witch La Voisin to assist you to poison your husband.


Completing the barefoot section of the hunt….

Now I’ve written that down it doesn’t sound very suitable but it was really good fun and the weather  was lovely. If you return to the apothecary with all the clues completed they give you a vial of “poison” which has been a highlight of the trip for SC 😀

Pôle des Etoiles

The weather was due to be awful on Tuesday so we headed to this space research centre and planetarium in Nançay.

It’s pleasantly creepy in a vast, middle-of-nowhere space research centre Dr Who-y kind of way. The English commentary is not for beginners: “The radiographic heliotrope was installed in a decametric quandrant in 1958….” but the exhibition was interesting and had enough buttons to keep SC mainly happy until her end goal – the gift shop.

You can walk out from the car park to see the awesome radio telescope which monitors the activity of the sun.

It’s 40m high – Scott & SC for scale!

As always there are loads of other enticing things to see and do in the region, there’ll  never be quite enough time.

We’d like to come back…but there’s so many other places to go! Soon we’ll be heading back to Greenwich but we’ve already got a couple of shorter trips in the diary.


I’d love to hear about your summer trips, leave me a comment below!!

Xx

Busy doing nothing

It’s been a tough few days. We’ve been very busy enjoying the view…

The little white hut is a glamping pod on the lake. It’s tethered on a long rope so when you want to go to bed you have to find it and then row there. Very cool and good entertainment.

Between swimming, napping, trampolining and spending time at the kids club it’s been hard to fit in much else.

The swimming pool is the local municipal pool adjacent to the campsite. You get free entry but, boy, does everything about it scream municipal pool. It’s a bare, square, industrial joyless affair. No sun loungers, no umbrellas, no ice cream stall….

SC, with her slavish devotion to all things waterbased still thinks it’s amazing. We arrived on the first morning to find it’s compulsory for men to wear the teeny tiny Speedos that the French are so fond of. Scott, more of a board shorts man, left muttering regretful noises clearly delighted at the prospect of a coffee and his book by the lake.

It’s also pretty nippy. After 30 min of SC barking out orders (“catch me”, “carry me”, “push me” etc) I felt more like I’d had a stint in a 1950s Swiss therapy pool having rehabilitation for TB than a relaxing dip.

I digress, pool aside, the campsite is awesome and the village is only about 200m walk through a beautifully maintained park for croissants and essentials.



We’ve planned to take the train to Orleans tomorrow. Will we get there or will the power of doing nothing keep up sat by the lake?  We’ll see…..

Going Dutch at Camping Grande Sologne

One of my good friends is Dutch and is keen for her kids to speak the language. For Dutch tuition you could do worse than to stay at Camping Grande Sologne. I reckon 80% of the people here are Dutch as are the songs at the kids mini disco at 7pm every night. You know that song you sang when you were in the girl guides, in English the lyrics went “a Pizza Hut, a Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut”? I’ve had the Dutch version of that circling my head for nearly 48hrs and we only arrived two days ago…..


After an uneventful drive down the campsite is absolutely splendid. Even I liked it straight away so it must be good…! We smiled sweetly at the lovely reception staff and they  kindly (albeit slightly exasperatedly) let us switch from our nice-but-nothing-special pitch to a fab spot overlooking the lake.


Spot the Bongo

The facilities are good without being scary, in-your-face holiday campish. There’s a shop, a little snack bar open in the evening, mini golf, ping pong and activities for kids (in Dutch) throughout the day 😀

The mini golf has seen better days with twigs, sticks and uneven paving causing your ball to ping off at all angles. I did wonder if it would be less painful to club myself in the head at one point as SC insisted on completing every obstacle…..

10 days here will be just the job, more to follow…..