Bessie's First Escorted Tour

Not only 'Bessie’s' but her owners as well, we have often read about the escorted tours that are offered by The Camping and Caravanning Club but had never sampled one so jumping in at the deep end we decided to try one, we wondered, like most people, what would happen, what to wear, what would be the ratio of caravans to motorhomes and would we be regimented.

Taking the plunge we picked the tour called 'The Flavours of Southern France', the reasons for choosing this tour? It was going to an area that we had not much experience of and we like France.

We are fairly experienced caravanners/motorhomers but we have never been on a commercial escorted tour before so when we read about the Camping and Caravanning club tours we decided to partake in one of them, the one we chose ran from 9th to 29th of June which was just about the right length of time and going to a beautiful area. The tour started at a campsite near to Sarlat so we had to make our way down to it, this was a distance of around 450 Km from the ferry port in Dieppe. We used the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry because it is cheaper than Brittany Ferries and nearer to our Herefordshire home. To break the journey we stayed on the Club site at Chichester, very nice it is too.

Our first site, which we considered the best was called “Le Moulin de Paulhiac” our first evening there we had a dinner “Al Fresco” by the swimming pool, good meal. Our first outing from this site was a guided tour of Sarlat in the morning followed by one of Domme in the afternoon, both striking in their different ways.

The mileage to our second site was the greatest, approximately 230 miles, this site was called “Domaine La Yole Wine Resort” and was totally different from our first one, this all singing all dancing place was well equipped and had most things. Our first night dinner was in the wine cellar and we had a different wine with different courses, all made on site.

The next day was a restful cruise on the “Canal du Midi” which included a three course lunch, a trip through the Malpas tunnel, the earliest one on a canal and down the flight of locks, nine altogether, into Bezier where we meet our coach and so back to the campsite.

The second days outing was to that fantastic bastide town, Carcassonne another world heritage site which the French are justifiably proud of, on the way back we called at “Minerve” one of the most beautiful villages in France, perched on both sides of a river route, now dry, but quite famous for its wine. The next day was a day of leisure and it seemed that it was popular.

We next woke up “Bessie” so that she could take us to “Aigues-Mortes” in Flamingo and Black Bull Camargue to another all singing and all dancing site called “La Petite Camargue”. This site was part of the Yellow Village chain and was aimed at young people really, you had a job dodging the bikes and skate boards. The facilities and pool were excellent as was the well stocked supermarket and other shops.

Moving on once more, this time to a site on the French Riviera called “L’Etoile d’Argens” this site has changed owners since last year who are making the site chalets only and seemed a little indifferent to us, we were all over the huge site which made Roy and Helen’s job much harder. From this site however we had two very good outings, the first one to St Tropez which was once a small sleepy fishing village to what it is now, a very expensive and crowded tourist spot. The second day’s outing was to Monaco, a very interesting place which is a little country on its own ran by the family of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly, also home of the Monaco Grand Prix in formula one. The palace visit was superb as was the chasing of two Orientals who were disobeying the “no photography” rule, all in all a good two outings.

Once more we had to wake up “Bessie” to take us to our last campsite, “Camping du Verdon” site way up in the spectacular scenery of the

 “Gorges du Verdon”, the road leading to this site was incredible but very narrow and extreme caution was required with frequent stops in the passing spots. The site was again an all singing all dancing one with plenty to do and some wonderful walks for the more fit of us to undertake.

Our first excursion from the site was a coach trip to the beautifully rugged “Gorges du Verdon” which was well worth the whole trip’s cost.

The next excursion was to the lavender fields, I love this flower so this again was a well worthwhile trip out. After a day of leisure, on our penultimate trip we went to a beautiful village called Entrevaux reputedly the most lovely village in the “Haute Provence” region, to round the day off we went to a honey producer, we did not realise how many uses and types of honey there were.

Our last night saw us sitting down to our farewell dinner, enjoyable but tinged with sadness at parting. The group of fellow travellers were a really nice bunch of people, everyone helped us and our hosts Roy and Helen were superb.

To sum up, we had no preconceived ideas but didn’t really know what to expect, could we keep up, would we fit in, things like that but we can state that the holiday lived up to, “what it says on the tin” we would be very happy to partake of another one of the escorted tours organised by the Camping and Caravanning Club.

We interviewed two couples who were trying escorted tours for the first time. Ian and Janet Wallace were quite experienced but always on their own, they had no preconceived ideas, just thought that having company around them would make a nice change. They were very happy with the escorts, as everyone was, but thought that the sites were too large.

William and Sue were also first timers but have been motorhoming for three and a half years but had a trailer tent before that. They chose this particular tour because the distances were not too great, they also had no preconceived ideas at all about the trip.


Adrian H French, 5 Virdi Mews, Station Road, Credenhill, Hereford HR4 7EG Tel: 07774 621858



Posted: 04 Sep 2017