In today’s blog, we are going to play catch up from our time in France from July 2021. Let’s go!
We spent the last week and a half visiting WW2 sites around the coast of France. I think it made a big impact on the kids and is something they will never forget. It was pretty emotional for all of us so we decided to pick a beautiful and remote spot to call home for a few days and a beachfront spot in Rethoville, France checked all the boxes.
The cats also appreciated our new location and freedom to roam. Plenty of spots to explore as we are surrounded by quiet beaches and fenced-in farmland.
We decided to take a walk to the old sections of the Atlantic Wall. The cats immediately decided they were coming along too.
It wasn’t the best choice. I think the lack of hiding spots on the sandy walk made them extra nervous. Once they explored the first structure, I walked them back to a patch of tall grass near the van where I asked them to stay. Did the cats listen? Yes. I think they agreed a nap in the grass was a better idea.
Remnants of WW2 are scattered all along the western coast of Europe. We were not expecting to see so much evidence after all these years after the war.
Found a section up the beach from us that had most of the structures covered in art.
I guess it’s popular enough for tours to come through. This isn’t the first time we’ve spotted these older jeeps and tour kids dressed up as old soldiers.
When the wind picks up, the cats come running back home. Here is Twin pouting all about it from the top of our top-loading Dometic fridge. And excuse the mess, this is real vanlife.
And being inside during the day, the cats must release their energy somehow. Toby has figured out how to use Twin’s collar against her.
A scene from our afternoons together. The girls collaborating on an art piece and Dan strumming some tunes on his guitar. You guys have a guitar in the van?!?! Ha yes. Each time we have a new camper, Dan decides there is *no* room for a guitar. And then a month later he regrets his choice. Every. Single. Time. While in the Airstream, we had a little pick guitar my brother refurbished for Ava. While in the FWC truck camper, he picked up a Mexican guitar from the famous guitar city of Paracho de Verduzco. And while in the van, he bought one in a little music shop in Split, Croatia.
So what do the cats do outside? Mainly hunt for mice. Here is Twin mid-attack.
I try to not ask the kids to pose for photos but every once in a while, I can’t resist. Especially in the golden hour light.
No, taking selfies with a cat isn’t weird. Not at all. We both enjoy a good sunset.
After we had a few days of rest, we continued south the Cotentin Penninsula. We found ourselves a little spot behind some dunes.
And just over the top of the dunes was this beautiful view!
The kids have a hard time resisting playing on the beach. It’s their happy place.
And we quickly found out it was Toby’s as well.
He loved running up and down the dunes, trying to catch the moving grains of sand.
Some quiet time at the van. I ask the kids to read for at least 30 minutes a day. We have a handful of books that we keep in the van but they mostly read digitally. You can find out how we get books while living on the road here.
We thought about visiting Le Mont St Michel while looking into cool places to see along the Atlantic coast of France a couple of months ago. It’s a tidal island with a rich human history dating back to the sixth century. While we were trying to figure out the best way to visit it at the campground 3 miles away, we decided to walk around the corner to catch a glimpse of it from a distance during golden hour.
Well, you know that thing you do when you decide to just go a little bit closer? Like if we went just around the corner, we would get a great view? Or if we just walked towards that closer bridge, there would be no obstructions for a nice photo? Or what if we just walk to the end of the road to see it a little closer? Before we knew it, we were all the way there.
We didn’t bring any phones, money, or masks since we never expected to be close enough to go inside. That’s what happened. At last, we got to see this amazing UNESCO world heritage site even if just from the outside.
Guess who wasn’t happy about our decision to do a 6-mile roundtrip walk to the island?
The rest of us were happy with our decision.
Even with his whining.
Nothing a few tickles can’t change.
Kids thought it was funny when Dan pretended his legs were tired too. We’ll carry you, daddy!
Walking back to the van just as the sun was setting.
The next day, Luka was all smiles again and forgave us for our adventure.
Our next stop was camping at a jawdroppingly beautiful 15th-century chateau called Chateau du Val d’Arguenon. It was dry camping on their lawn with no facilities for 10 euros a night and sooo worth it. It truly was a treat to stay on this property. The owners use the house as an Airbnb and the grounds to have events. There are treehouses scattered about for rent and a bunch of free-roaming sheep too.
Oh, did I mention the other perk of camping next to the chateau?
The ocean view! It keeps getting better and better. And I’m not even mad that I have to lug my trash to a bin myself when we leave here since there are zero services here. Ha.
Off to find access to the beach from the property.
That’s the 11th-century Chateau du Guildo across the way.
There are special rocks here called Singing Rocks of Brittany. I will link to Dan’s video of them at the end of the blog.
Drying all of our towels and swimsuits off of our Dometic awning.
Twin’s collar and the hydrangeas matched perfectly.
Hidden bench on the property. Mila asked me to take a photo of it.
The church in the chateau.
Here are the videos that accompany these spots I wrote about today.
Thanks again for following our family’s adventure. And a special thanks to our patrons for their support 🙂
Until next time,