France 156 - Falais - the birthplace of William the Bastard/ Don't trust Camper contact or Google Earth / parking in the local supermarket and the local graveyard


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Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Falaise
December 30th 2019
Published: December 31st 2019
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We returned to Gabby from our abortive trip to the abbey and packed up ready to move on to the next stop on our trip . We stopped for a coffee and a biscuit to cheer us up. Some you win . Some you lose. It was always going to be hit and miss at Christmas, Would we be in the right place at the right time for opening hours . Some would be open right up to Christmas Eve . Others closed until the break between Christmas and New Year . We have learned by now not to trust anything and take what comes. It is better than being at home.

Falaise was our next destination . . Falaise the birthplace of William known as the Bastard . Hopefully things will be better and we will get to visit the castle he was born in. We did the usual research before we left home. The castle would be open and Camper Contact told us that folks had parked under the walls of the castle when they visited , We even saw the car park on Mr Google . So we knew it was there and we would be sure to get a parking spot . Free parking beneath the castle walls for motorhomes. What more could we wish for. And a bonus after closed Le Bec Hellouin ,

From Le Bec Helloin we travelled along another peage motorway . We couldnt avoid them until we reached the outskirts of Falais . The first roundabout we crossed was decorated not with Christmas decorations but Norman knights with shields and weapons. We just loved them as they told the heritage of the city in simple form. You couldn't mistake them for anything other than a Norman knight .

We could see the castle and it looked impressive . Walls to keep out invaders . A car park to keep us out . The first sign emphatically told us "Interdit caravans ". That was OK . We are not a caravan. Further the second sign pointed out that we were not welcome either. "Interdit Camping Car " We were never going to be able to park up and see the castle . It was an overbearing but beautiful structure . All walls and towers. The perfect example of a fortified castle.

We had little choice but to try to find the second area that we had earmarked as a place to park up. What a deserted place . In the middle of a housing estate it felt dingy and unsafe. Next to the swimming pool and supermarket. We struggled to find it going round and round . It turned out there was no camping aire just a dump for grey water at the garage across the road . No wonder Silly Sat Nag struggled to find it . She kept trying but failing miserably as we missed it and kept going round and round the same roads. Never trust Campercontact . It is only as good as the people who put the entries in . Things change but they forget to update it . Same with Google EArth . Brilliant for us when we started our adventures in a motorhome .Not to be trusted now .

We would have loved to visit the castle so what did we miss . The town didnt look wonderful but then it was raining . Rain only dampens your enthusiasm. We didnt miss much there . William the Bastard , the son of Duke Robert of Normandy was born at an earlier castle on the site . He went on to conquer England and become its King . The castle remained in his heirs hands until it was captured in the 13th century by Philip II King of France. Possession of the castle changed hands many times during the Hundred Years War and was abandoned during the 17th century .

I think we missed something wonderful in the castle but we thought but it was just another one of those moments when you realise you cannot do everything. Disappointment yes but we were not going to let it spoil the rest of the trip. We still have plenty to go. .

We left Falais heading for a farm stop in the middle of the country . It was another site added to CAmper Contact . It was another one of those moments . Do we like what we see in front of us ? No it did not appeal . As there was nothing else we drove back along the country road and saw guess who ........................Father Christmas on his horse and cart. The children on the back waved to us . All excited with Christmas just round the corner.

So where did we spend the night ? We were struggling . It was pouring with rain . The wind was getting up and the little village we found ourselves in did not have a dedicated aire. We just needed a quiet spot . With no need for electricity we wanted somewhere out of the way and we found it . A graveyard on the edge of the village . No-one was around . No-one would likely come to the graveyard at night , in the dark and in the pouring rain . Next door was a car park, in a quiet corner of a graveyard. Quite large and off the road so we were disturbing no-one and the neighbours were never going to disturb us. We respected the sanctity of the space by parking right in a corner by a high hedge. We made no noise . We left no footprint that we had even been there. The wind blew through the night and we sat it out in a corner sheltered by the trees. We found ourselves shouted at for sitting in the last Italian graveyard . We wondered if we would manage the night safely here .

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