A Shining Example

One of the potential problems of travelling without a solo car (towing a caravan) is going shopping when you get where you’re going. Parking a camping car like Frodo isn’t necessarily the easiest of tasks. Mercifully, in France at least, most supermarkets have large car parks which are rarely full and one can take two contiguous spaces front to back, for a vehicle that is slightly longer than normal. That would often not be easy in the UK and I’m yet to be convinced that Spain would be much better; the few Spanish supermarket car parks with which I’m familiar certainly wouldn’t facilitate it.

Having arrived in France with an essentially empty fridge, Frodo needed to brave a shopping trip. We left our Arçais campsite and went to the Super-U at Coulon where we manage easily to find a double length parking space to hit the food aisles. We were under a roofed, shaded parking area.

As well as making provision for camping cars, onto another stroke of French genius. There is a mandate that, by 2028, all car parks from between 80 – 400 car capacity must be covered by solar panel roofs. As well as generating large amounts of renewable power, this shields both cars and pedestrians from potentially harmful solar radiation. It turns an already brown field site into a generator. Brilliant! Car parks exceeding 400 capacity must get it done by 2026.

Our home town in the UK is “suffering” massive expansion with multiple green field sites being covered by new houses – the town has more or less doubled in population since we moved in in 1997, with absolutely NO increase in supporting infrastructure – and not one of those newly built houses has a roof equipped with solar panels. Instead we are grabbing prime agricultural land to make solar farms. It’s utterly stupid and little short of criminal.

If I had to choose between the approach of the French government and our own, I know which way my vote would go.

Posted in 2023-06 France

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