To the Marais

The Marais Poitevin is one of favourite areas in France. Marais means marsh. This is a flat rural area of erstwhile marshland criss-crossed by canals and drainage channels. It is a very similar area to the Somerset Levels in England. It is a great place for wildlife and, being flat, was a natural for the development of many varied cycling routes; an opportunity which the French characteristically grabbed with open arms. An added attraction these days is that we have friends who now live there permanently.

We’ve stayed there many times before and started heading for our favoured campsite, Camping des Conches, at Damvix. After about 4 hours driving the 110 miles or so cross-country we arrived during lunch hours. (A single hour is not enough for lunch in France where food is deserving of time and effort.) The campsite bureau didn’t open for another 45 minutes so we wandered around the site thinking we might select a preferred pitch. Actually, we knew our favoured pitch already. Whilst wandering, however, our senses were constantly assaulted by particularly intrusive and incessant noises from development work going on in an adjacent car park. There were about four other units on the campsite but all were on the opposite side of the site. The noise was so loud, though, that it was impossible to escape. After 10 minutes our nerves were on edge. What a complete contrast to the serenity we had left 100 miles behind.

Knowing of another campsite, a municipal in Arçais just three miles up the road, we decided to try that. It’s a smaller site with fewer facilities but the simpler the better, as far as we are concerned. There were only a few other campers booked in and all appeared calm and peaceful. No contest, we went for it. I was going to miss watching the resident spotted flycatchers and hoopoes that buzz about Camping des Conches but sanity had to come first.

Sometimes one needs an incentive to try something new.

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