Suzy was on the last legs of her journey from Verdun and Peronne. It was an uneventful journey with really nothing to report. We found our campsite the Port de Plaisance quite easily although the towns around it were strangely empty. We felt as if we were in another world and that all the population had disappeared. I kept thinking "Beam me up Scotty" as everywhere were like ghost towns. As usual the reception was closed until later that afternoon. This seems the norm in some campsites. A notice was pinned up to say pick your spot and come back later to pay. Our plot was quite a small one but we chose it because it was fairly dry and we were able to park up without fear of getting stuck in the wet and mud which surely would follow the rain that threatened. There was a swimming pool on site but this was drained and not opened for the season. I would have loved a swim. We spoke to our neighbours a Dutch couple who were just starting their holiday as we were ending ours. They were heading south to Spain in the hope of finding some sun. The more
people we talked to the more we realised just how poor a Spring and early Summer it was turning out to be over the whole of Europe. A sense of sadness went over us as we realised this was our last but one night in France.
Reception opened at 4 and I went over to pay. There was a small shop filled with basics and bread and croissants could be ordered for the next morning. I ordered a baguette and two croissants but there were quite a few other choices to be had. At 4 euros it was reasonably priced and very convenient. The toilets were functional, clean and tidy. And at the end of the campsite boats were moored. It was a pleasant place to spend a night. There was a large washing room with quite a few wash basins for washing clothes and plates and cutlery. And a small room with a washing machine and dryer. Prices much the same as everywhere else.
We walked into the small town of Peronne. A walk of about 20 mins and quite interesting. The usual french style houses lined the road and a disused mill provided us with a
five minute standing and staring point. What a shame it was derelict - it would have made a few lovely flats in a lovely location right on the river. Peronne is a commune of the Somme department in Picardie and is close to the sites of the Battle of the Somme. There is a large Museum of the Great WAr located in the town and whilst it would have been interesting to see it unfortunately we were there too late in the afternoon and it was closed to the public. We sat for a while in the square in front of the museum in the late afternoon sun soaking up the atmosphere. Many years ago before the autoroutes were built this was the main route south and it was possible looking round to imagine what it must have been like with cars and lorries driving through its town centre. Today it has a rather more sleepy feel to it as most people sail by on the motorways.
The town once had ramparts built in the 9th century but very little remain today which is a shame .
Few towns have been as involved in the history of France,
few towns so often devastated, as Péronne. Burned and pillaged in the time of the Normans; Gravely damaged during the time of the Spanish occupation; Devastated by the Germans in 1870; Totally destroyed in 1917; Bombarded and burned in May 1940 by the German airforce. Péronne was awarded two Croix de Guerre and the Legion d'honneur.
We walked from the museum to the town centre which was empty. It is a lovely place. The church impressive but was closed. So we walked back to the campsite stopping at the river to buy a bag of frites. What a delight - a simple bag of chips covered in salt eaten in the evening sunshine and joined by the local population of ducks and coots.
A quiet night with Suzy settled. We woke early and ate our breakfast of fresh croissants before heading off for our last stop of the trip.
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