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Claira, Le Barcarès and Saint-Hippolyte – Replenishing Our Depleted Motorhome Supplies

A beached boat near our wild camping spot at Étang de Leucate

Our motorhome life in statistics.

Days since leaving the UK: 479
Countries visited: 11
Miles travelled: 21,589
Miles Per Gallon (MPG): 21.3
Cost per mile: £0.27
Total fuel cost: £5,829
The weather yesterday: 59°F and sunny all day (Hooray!)

Yesterday was a ‘doing’ day. We try to group tasks so that I don’t have to drive every day. After twenty-one thousand miles on the road, I’m as comfortable as I’m ever going to be at the wheel of a twenty-five-foot steel and plastic box, but negotiating the narrow and unknown streets of an ever-changing number of towns and villages causes a certain amount of stress.

We left this…

A beached boat near our wild camping spot at Étang de Leucate

A beached boat near our wild camping spot at Étang de Leucate

…to get some of these…

Fresh produce at a Biocoop in Claira

Fresh produce at a Biocoop in Claira

…and have one of these…

Subway - Who needs a healthy eating regime?

Subway – Who needs a healthy eating regime?

After three days off-grid, we needed it all; food for us, food for the dogs, water in, waste out, diesel for the ever-thirsty Hymer and a post office for Cynthia. I’m fairly sure that Cynthia has now sent postcards to everyone in the United States. She’s working her way through an ever-increasing number of friends in Europe too.

We drove south to a sprawling retail park on the outskirts of Claira north of Perpignan. At that point, we were just twenty miles from the Spanish border. The streets were lined with squat date palms, umbrella pines and deeply unappealing holiday apartments towering over endless marinas filled with characterless plastic sailing boats.

We shopped till we dropped, and then we shopped some more. I despise shopping days. The day’s saving grace was a lunchtime visit to Subway. I was also able to find a stylus for my iPhone which makes editing photo’s on my iPhone much more practical than trying to use a stumpy finger.

Finding an open post office is always a challenge in rural France. Google Maps rarely lists opening times. The first we visited on our coastal route back was in Saint-Hippolyte. Our route in was made more of a challenge by a three-metre high road bridge which barred our entrance. After a little perseverance, we discovered a way to the village centre. The post office was closed.

Much to Cynthia’s and the French government’s delight, we found one open in Le Barcarès. With the aid of a large rucksack, we were finally able to dispatch Cynthia’s overseas greetings.

The silver lining to the busy day’s dark cloud was finding an easy and free to use water supply at the nearby Leucate de Goulet aire. Last year, the charge to stay on the barrier controlled site was €10 (£8.76). This year, the aire was barrierless, allowing all and sundry access to parking and facilities. We considered spending a night or two but a nearby dilapidated motorhome with a load of washing strung between two lamp posts and a free-roaming German shepherd cross with a gammy leg put us off.

We’re back at our lagoon-side wild camping spot now, ready for another day or two of doing very little. I’m going to take Abbie a few miles north along the coastal trail today. The cove next to us is filled with pink flamingoes and egrets. The French Mediterranean coast is a beautiful place to spend the winter months.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Ian February 4, 2018, 1:08 pm

    I enjoy searching your locations on google earth. I think i can see your Hymer on the aire just south west of leucate. It looks an nice area for your winter stay, but het its busy in summer. Take care. Cheers ian of alchemy

    • Paul Smith February 4, 2018, 5:57 pm

      You would do well to spot us from an aerial photo, especially as we haven’t spent a night there this year. The aire is to the north-west rather than the south-west of Leucate. It’s here. We usually wild camp at the end of a rough track a little further to the south here.

    • Paul Smith February 5, 2018, 5:37 am

      Google Earth and Google Maps satellite view are great tools for searching potential overnight stops. However, the imagery isn’t current. Sometimes the shots can be several years old. I don’t think you would be able to identify us on any photo’s this year. We have only visited the aire briefly to resupply

  • David February 4, 2018, 5:05 pm

    I thought Google earth was old footage and not up to date so how can Ian see the Hymer?
    Or am I missing something?
    Anyway keep posting – always so interesting.
    David

    • Paul Smith February 5, 2018, 5:53 am

      The images aren’t usually current David. In this case though, the photo appeared to be from this year. However, we haven’t stayed overnight at that particular aire, so the Hymer Ian saw wasn’t ours.

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