En Route to our favourite dairy sheep farm campsite at Fanjeaux, we planned to spend a few days in one of France’s wonderful wildlife habitats, La Brenne. We hitched up and hit the road soon after 09:00, deciding to follow Sally Satnav, wose route would take us dangerously close to gay Paris. Though her route looked like autoroute and dual carriageway all the way, the dual carriageway section was littered with traffic lights, so a tad slow. It did, however, avoid a notorious bottleneck near St. Remy de xxxxxx on our usual route, which is the main reason we thought we’d try it.
Back on the autoroute and putting our new “Bip & Go” telepeage tag to the test, we started getting towards the end of our diesel, cruising sparingly, and I began planning a fuel stop. The fuel station I’d chosen was absolutely smothered by building works and the pumps looked inaccessible for a Guillaume – tight right angled turns into the pumps. Fortunately, we were not running on fumes – never plan to run on empty – so getting to the next, more civilized station was easy. This time access was perfect and we were topped up with about 100kms to go to La Brenne.
We have stayed in La Brenne on numerous previous occasions, always at a private site at Bellebouche. The campsite there has always been a little tired, especially les sanitaires, but it was convenient. The Bellebouche site used to be great for odonata but last time we were there, two fishing ponds had been filled in and development, I think for equestrian events, was under way. In search of an alternative, we had spotted what looked like a pleasant camping municipal at Rosnay, a site which also has a lake, so that’s where we headed. 6½ hours after leaving Neufchatel-en-Bray, we arrived, found an appealing pitch and got Guillaume settled. Guillaume has a very good view of the lake and was soon being investigated by White-legged Damselflies (Platycnemis pennipes).
Not only did we have odonata on Guillaume’s doorstep but there were orchids, specifically Tongue Orchid (Serapias lingua), in the grass around the lake. We were most impressed to see that each group of orchids had been marked with plastic flags to stop the ground staff mowing them down. How great is that? And they say the French don’t care about nature. Many were past their prime but we found a couple that photographed well.
It was very relaxing, after a lengthy drive towing Guillaume, to be able to stop, draw breath and entertain ourselves without needing to leave the campsite.
Here’s the list of odonata that we found on site:
- Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
- Common Bluetail (Ischnura elegans)
- Blue-eye (Erythromma lindenii)
- White-legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes)
- Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)
- Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)
- White-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum albistylum)
It is very gratifying to be able to use some of the often excellent camping municipal sites in French villages. First of all, they attract French campers more than foreign tourers so the atmosphere is more authentic. Secondly, we have all this atmospheric, wildlife friendly location, electricity and excellent sanitaires for a mere €11.40 per night.