With no real plans, other than to follow the coast, we took off from England in our van on a Ferry to Calais, France. We had no idea what to expect or what might be in store for us as we touched ground, but all we hoped for was to reach some beautiful beach locations and to experience a hot European summer. We soon realised that travelling can throw you some serious curve balls, along with some extraordinary experiences..
The first night in France was actually more daunting than exciting. After arriving late in the afternoon we drove around aimlessly not knowing where we were going, or where we were sleeping that night. That moment was a little frightening for both of us as we felt super lost and totally out of our comfort zone. Thankfully, the beautiful thing about Europe is that if you are driving around in a camper van you can literally pull up anywhere and camp.. for free! So we ended up pulling up beside the sea in a small town called Boulogne. As it was still a little cold for our liking (and kind of had a strange smell about it), we decided not to stick around and to keep driving south the next day.
After doing some quick research on the little wifi I had, I came across these amazing photos of white cliff beaches in a place called Etretat; only a little while south of where we were located. Upon arriving we were delighted with the towns atmosphere and setting, and could not seem to wipe the smiles off our faces. The small seaside town was very architecturally beautiful, and was surrounded by three natural arch white chalk cliffs that are easily viewed from the beach or up above along the short walked paths. I recommend a nights stay, as it may be one of the most beautiful and possibly romantic sunsets you’ll ever experience.
With high hopes leaving Etretat, we literally picked a spot on the map and drove. I’d like to pretend that everyday has been all sunshine and rainbows, but I would be lying. France is not an easy country to drive through. We faced some seriously heavy traffic and way too many tolls to even talk about. We saw more not so beautiful than beautiful places, and those high hopes were quickly fading until we finally reached the elegant south coastal town of Biarritz. Its been over a week since we left Biarritz, and we both agree that it has been our favourite location yet. Everything from the long beautiful beaches, the pastel coloured sunsets, the overriding heat, and the vibrant and busy city centre are all contributing factors in our love for this town. We ate the freshest fruit for breakfast, walked along the beach into town for dinner, and sat side by side watching as the sun disappeared beyond the oceans horizon each night. We also visited Bidart, only walking distance from Biarritz which is also worth a visit, especially for the food 🙂.
After spending three days basking in the hot sun and experiencing the cities culture, we decided it was time to move on. It was time for Spain!
Oh and quick tip: make sure you always keep cash on you whilst driving through France if you do not wish to get stuck at a toll, like we did, whilst in traffic, with a card that decides not to work, and no way to communicate because no one around you speaks English.. Definitely a moment to remember.
1-13: Etretat / 14-31: Biarritz