Our last leg in Europe ......
14.10.2014 - 15.10.2014
Even though it would be a fleeting visit we were desperate to see at least some of the Loire before crossing back into England. We pulled into Bouchemaine on the Maine river while dark but were able to explore this pretty little town the next morning by foot despite it being a grey, drizzle day.
We stayed in an Aires that used to be a campsite so while checking in etc was all automated, we had all of the facilities that we needed.
Upon leaving Bouchemaine we crossed the Loire and got our obligatory tourist shots :-) I continued to be amazed at the huge change in scenery from one area to another and I do hope we can return to the Loire one day to spend more time discovering it's beauty.
Our stomachs guided us to the destination for our final night in France. We wanted to go out for a proper meal somewhere a little bit special so we rejected a few options before discovering the exquisite Sable-sur-Sarthe. Our initial impression of the town wasn't overwhelming as we entered via a rather industrial and spiritless area but after turning a corner our breaths were taken away. It was the most beautiful town on the Sarthe river with a gorgeous bridge leading into the main square flanked by impressive buildings and gorgeous autumnal colour and dotted with little boutique stores.
We managed to find the most brilliant place to park for the night, right next to the river overlooking the bridge and only a 10 minute walk over the bridge into the town.
Soon after parking up we headed in for dinner and upon a local recommendation, went to "Restaurant St Martin". The boys were hungry and tired so a bit of a handful but regardless we had a wonderful evening and J and I enjoyed a bottle of wine from Bordeaux (whose sky and soul we were still missing!)
When we walked back the whole town was illuminated with the most incredible lights, even a moving projection of maple leaves!
It was a perfect atmosphere and a perfect evening and it felt almost impossible to believe that tomorrow we would be back in the U.K.
When we couldn't find anywhere in Sable-sur-Sarthe serving Crepes for breakfast (apparently Crepes for breakfast is unheard of in France!) we settled with some gorgeous French pastries, which was no hardship! It was wonderful to see bread being made right in front of our eyes.
The journey to Dieppe was restricted to motorways to ensure we didn't miss our boat but we did stop at an aires to eat lunch and get some fresh air.
After a frantic stock up on French goodies at a Dieppe supermarket we made it to the ferry in good time and we all felt a bit emotional saying goodbye to France and all of the countries that we had been so lucky to visit and which had helped us form the most wonderful chapter in this families life. What an incredible journey with so many beautiful people and places and memories that we will forever cherish, as we will the learnings and lessons of ourselves and each other and the discovery of who we are together, a unit far stronger than the sum of it's parts.