En vacances – Day 21 – St Jean de Monts to Willeman

Rain. Lots of rain. Almost had to stop on the motorway round Angers because we couldn’t see!

A lovely B&B just south of Calais (Willeman), run by Madeleine. It was great to be welcomed into her home and feel part of the family. With her four children and two step sons, it was a house full. And the guinea pig (T shirt), a couple of cats and hens too! And Madeleine’s husband, Xavier. We can’t forget him… he showed the boys round his farm.

The warmth of the udders when we had a go at milking.

The cuteness of the two-week old calves as we watched them feed.

The noise from the combine harvester when the boys got to ride in it (and Xavier made the blades go round – epic!)

The bumpiness of the tractor as he took the boys on a spin round the farm.

Thank you Xavier for making the boys’ day!

And then a lovely evening sitting round the kitchen table as friends and neighbours dropped in. Just as I had imagined rural French Friday evenings!

A perfect end to a lovely holiday.
Home tomorrow…

En vacances – Day 20 – Oceanile parc aquatique

A trip north over the bridge to Noirmoutier en l’isle.

Howls of delight when the slides of the water park came into view.

Even more screams of delight when we got inside.

Epic. Awesome. Amazing. Fantastic.

Slides with mats. Slides with single inflatables. With doubles. And triples. Slides without inflatables. A wave pool. And a funny man with a trumpet!

The favourite was the torrent – a tumble of shallow fast bits and deeper slower bits. Drops and turns. With everyone tumbling over each other through the water.

A great last day in Vendee.

En vacances – Day 19 – Tiffauges, le Chateau de Gilles de Rais

Showery today so headed inland to Tiffauges, about an hour away.

Stunning setting for a castle – rocky outcrop on the bend in the river.

Medieval war machinery in action. Trebuchets. Catapults. Cranes. Swords. Lances. Armour.

Cuthbert’s joy at being picked to set the mini trebuchet off! That ball went flying!

Dibble’s joy ago seeing the full size trebuchet demonstration and jousting games – real armoured men on horseback!

McGrew loving the other boy trying on the suit if armour and helmet, and then the guide trying to cut off his head (gladly it stayed attached!).

Ice creams (obviously!).

An outdoor musical about Joan of Arc and Gilles. We didn’t understand much, but Cuthbert was enthralled by the songs and acting.

Pizza and moules frites for dinner again.

Hope the rain stops before tomorrow!

En vacances – Day 16 – la Tour Blanche to St Jean de Monts

Rain waved us off as we left our home for the past 2 weeks. Sad to say goodbye to ‘Cherry Trees’, and the hamlet with the friendly goat.

4 hours drive north east.

Hills and fields of sunflowers and corn giving way to pine forest and salt marshes.

St Jean de Monts and the lovely cottage ‘Inattendu’ – Michel and his wife and grand daughter greeted us and showed us round. A wee white cottage with everything we could want for a few days by the sea. Nautical and seaside bits and bobs adorn the house – pottery sailing boat on the dresser, old fishing net on the wall, pictures of boats and fantastic ‘anchor’ wallpaper. We’re certainly at the seaside!

A walk to the beach – 300m away – and what a lot of people. Bodies everywhere! And bicycles! And pedal carts. And loads of people. Too many people. Shock to the system from sleepy la Tour Blanche!

Dinner at the pizza place on rug corner.

Moules frites for Mrs DHG!

En vacances – Day 15 – Aubeterre

Aubeterre – a beautiful village clinging to the hillside. Cream houses and red roofs.

A 12th century church hewn from the rock. 17m high columns. A baptistry in the floor with Greek cross in the centre. A gallery high up in the roof. Amazing skill and dedication to create this space.

Stocked up with wine and sirop de fruit at LeClerc on the way back through Riberac.

Afternoon dodging thunderstorms at the house.


En vacances – Day 14 – le moulin de vent and jousting

A morning at the pool in the sunshine.

Lunch beside the pool.

Windmill at La Tour Blanche. Best €2 ever spent. Completely renovated windmill from 14th century. Very friendly guide.

Tour inside. Up the stairs. Mill stones. Roofing timber shingles. Little bell to tell the miller when the grain silo was empty.

Now run on electricity. Started it up to show us the workings.

Boys delighted to be able to have a go pushing the roof round to change the sails’ direction. Bought some flour milled there!

After dinner, off to Brantôme to see the boat jousting. More ice cream.

Boys dancing to the music from the band. Fun saxophonists.


Who will be pushed off into the river? Who will stay standing? Reds seem to be the better team.

Allez les rouges!

The band has decanted to a boat – providing musical entertainment throughout the jousting.