Sunday, 14 July 2019

Saint-Jean-le-Thomas - one of our favourite places in Normandy


Thursday 11 July 2019

Nido’s parked up at the aire in Saint-Jean-le-Thomas.  It’s at the bottom of the Cotentin Peninsula, with a huge, shallow bay that completely empties at low tide.  Across the bay is the iconic Mont-Saint-Michel, a place we’ve visited a couple of times.  We’ve stayed on this aire before and it’s one of our favourites.

We made a fast passage to here this morning, a journey of about 3.5 hours.  We’d made the decision to head home early, for no other reason than we’ve seen all the places we wanted to and have a bunch of things we want to do at home.  We live on the beautiful island of Anglesey - Ynys Môn - in a house we love within a quiet village, with lovely neighbours.  We have the garden to tend to and plan the next stage  of its development and it’s summer, so there’s plenty of sea swimming right on our doorstep.  We’re looking forward to getting back with the ‘Silver Slashers’ working in a team of volunteers each Friday to improve and maintain the footpaths and coastal path on the island.  Cathy is also involved with the local botany group, hunting out and recording rare plants.  I’m also become much more involved with the Anglesey Lowland Search and Rescue team - Môn-SAR - a fulfilling role helping find vulnerable missing people.  My neighbour has also just bought a road bike, so I now have a ‘roadie’ to go out for spins with; we plan to train over the year and complete next year’s Tour de Môn.  So, as much as we love France, we’re looking forward to getting home.  We’ve enjoyed this trip, seen some fabulous places and done some great things, like kayaking through the Verdon Gorge and wildcamping on the summit of Col du Lautaret at 2058m, surrounded by sheep and their guard dogs.  But it’s being back at the coast that we love the most - we’re ‘Coasties’!  So I think future trips will be spur of the moment bookings, particularly if the summer at home’s not great, and then it’ll be to more explore Normandy, Brittany, the Vendée and the Charente Maritime regions more.

Despite a cooler forecast, today was hot again and it was in the low 30s when we arrived here.  A quick set up and we were again heading down to the beach.  The tide was almost in so we had a quick swim.  The sea was very warm (it’s a shallow bay) but a bit ‘muddy’ and with large rocks so difficult to find our feet.  We had a bit of a wallow in the shallow water then helped each other out like a pair of oldies (as we probably now are!).  Back at the van for a brew and a shower, we again donned our best clothes - jeans, a loose Moroccan top and leather moccasins (ex-RN tropical footwear) for me!  - and walked back to the beach to the Le Jardin des Dunes restaurant, overlooking the bay and with a great view of Mont-Saint-Michel.  We had probably the best moules-frîtes we’ve ever had, simple and friendly service, with a pudding (cheese for me) in a lovely relaxed atmosphere with families around us enjoying their food and the evening.  If you come to this part of Normandy, I’d highly recommend the aire and the restaurant; there’s also an adjacent municipal campsite right on the beach.

Tomorrow we have another long run to a wild camping spot on the beach, before our final run into Calais on Saturday, with our tunnel crossing rebooked for 0720 on Sunday morning. 

Mont Saint Michel across the bay



View from our restaurant table












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