On our previous journeys towards the south of France, we've spent many an hour trying to find a great family friendly motorhome stop enroute /leaving Calais... the type of stop that is easy to get to within a few hours but feels like you've arrived in France.. For those reading this with a motorhome, you'll probably have your family favourite.. perhaps Gravelines (30mins up coast towards Dunkirk) or maybe somewhere a little different like a France Passion stay on the fantastic snail farm near Comines. But we've tried a different tack this time and headed for Pont de l'Arche.
With a perfect little town to enjoy, a bustling series of small cafes and evening bars... it really is somewhere you could probably stay longer... our kids love the choice of bakeries which produce some of the best croissants we've tasted across France... Meanwhile the sight of the River Seine snaking it's way lazily past the aire gives a certain feeling of peace and tranquility... For those that love a good campsite, there's one next door, but for those that like a quiet, cheap place to rest your head... you could do worse than discover here!
Equally pretty day or night, it has a real piece of history attached to this small town, perfect for our homeschooling. It's bigger neighbour Rouen will forever be linked to the moment the townsfolk burned the military heroine Joan of Arc on her stake in 1431. Fearing it was a farce at the time, the executioner, Geoffrey Thérage even stated that he feared he had made a mistake.. this proved to be true as she was later (1456) exonerated in a retrial and proclaimed a 'great martyr'... all at the young age of 19!
Pont de l'Arche cannot lay claim to this, yet it played a pivotal role some 600 years earlier in 861... when the town was created as a pivotal strategic position to repel the Vikings who were invading down the Seine... the constant retaking of positions lasted some 20+ years after the Vikings settled in 1861
So if you have a little time, or a budding historian with you in the van or you just fancy a decent breakfast of some of the best croissants you'll taste... you might just want to chance your arm and visit Pont de l'Arche on your next visit into France
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