Wednesday, August 29, 2018

An Overnight Stay at Camping la Route Bleue, Balbigny, France

It was just a chance encounter, I should say. But it was a nice one, because Camping la Route Bleue in Balbigny, France was a great surprise for us.

How did we end up here? Because we used a popular German camping guide book that I bought for a much, much lower rate from a neighborhood travel agency. You know, just in case the navigator suddenly acts up while we are travelling with a caravan in France.

What attracted us to Camping la Route Bleue? Since we are supposed to drive more than 900 kilometers away to our next destination from Port Grimaud, France; we chose a place where we could comfortably rest for the day and still have fun camping. And the most important requirement? They should accept dogs. The second? It should be near the Autobahn (Autoroute).

Yup, we found it at Camping la Route Bleue.

Here are some photos to show you why we got lucky.

They have a swimming pool!
As I said, we wanted to rest after a long drive, but we also wanted to have fun. Thus, the swimming pool is a great way to stretch out and yes, get out of the heat! Remember, there's a heatwave in Europe at this time.

The reception area.
The reception desk is friendly and yup, English is spoken. Everything's processed after a few minutes, and we are allowed to choose our camping pitch. No numbered pitches here.

The entrance to Camping la Route Bleue
You would get a code so you could drive your vehicle through, but after 10 a.m., you need to leave your vehicle outside because the code won't function anymore. They value silence here, which is good.

Camping la Route Bleue, Balbigny, France
The sanitary area is simple but you have everything you would need: toilet and bathroom with hot water. Okay, there's still a squat toilet which shocked my girls. I was even prevented to use one, hahah. IC begged me to please wait for her so I can use the normal toilet. In fact, she grabbed me on my way to one, omphh.

Watch out though, you need to get out of the toilet bowl before flushing after using the squat toilet because it, apparently, washes the whole bowl, including the area where you stand. My husband warned me!

The sanitary area
Now, if you have a dog, this would be a great place to stay. Aside from the grassy area, there's a door that leads to a pathway where you could walk the dog. Oh, for those who love fishing, there's also a popular area for fishing a few steps from the camping area.

This is the view from our pitch.
Camping la Route Bleue was not busy when we arrived, so it took us sometime to find the right pitch. Why not? If there's enough place to choose, my family would always argue. I chose the area away from the sun and in between large trees and bushes, but as you can see, we ended up in the middle of an open, grassy field.

Our pitch
I complained, of course, but what can I do when they already parked the vehicle? Nothing! So I  decided to walk the dog while they get everything ready. Well, we are well-seasoned campers already so everything's done in a minute. We even got the chance to enjoy a swim before we hunted for food.

Hunted for food? After a long ride and a swim, we wanted real food. The camping area offers only snacks, which won't satisfy us at all. I goggled restaurants in the area and we started food hunting. Why do I keep calling it food hunting? Because it felt like hunting. The first supposedly three top restaurants were either closed or doesn't exist anymore. We asked locals, MC speaks French, so she had to do that. Nope, no restaurants near the area. But, we stopped a guy which we hoped is local because of his plate number, and he gave us the direction and the name of a barbecue place in Feurs.

We stopped at least three times, and even almost begged a bed & breakfast place if we could eat dinner there; but no chance. They only have enough food for their in-house guests! We had to continue driving and after a tense moment where we really though we would have to go back to our camping area to eat snacks, we saw the barbecue area.

Guess what? Dogs are not allowed inside the restaurant and their patio area is already full. Good thing the friendly chef accommodated us and gave us a corner place inside the restaurant. There's almost no English spoken by the service people but hey, we understood each other by gestures and menu pointing. And the food hunting ended up a success. Big plates of appetizers and bigger plates for our main dish, nothing to complain about!

We had to leave our car outside because we arrived a little before 11 p.m., but hey, we have more than enough energy to walk to our pitch. Food hunting equals sweet dreams. We slept really good that night.

Well, we had a great time here. It was a peaceful and well-maintained camping area. I told them that we would definitely come back when we are near the area.

Camping la Route Bleue, Balbigny, France

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