After having left The Province de Namur in Belgium, I quickly moved into France. I was on the way to the city of Besancon and had a couple of (planned and unplanned) stops before I got there.
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I had read about the Citadelle of Montmedy in one of my travel books. While I was driving, I saw a sign and decided to take a chance and go and visit it. The way up is beautiful and the last part is quite exciting! There is a special parking spot for campers at the Citadelle de Montmedy where you can also spend the night (GPS N 49.51870 E 5.35972) but I figured I could easily make my way up with my car. I had to drive under some pretty low parts of the walls and cross some bridges but I made it :-)!
The Citadel made a nice short visit of about an hour. The ladies at the information office were very nice. You can walk around a bit, there are some museums (which I skipped) and finally, you make your way up to the walls. It’s a large Citadelle and the walk around the walls was nice with some beautiful sights.
On to my first stop in France! I had the choice of squeezing in a few days in Strasbourg or head south straight away. I also came across this blog about Hiking in the Vosges and it totally could be something I would do so it was quite a hard choice! But because the weather was not that great, I decided to go south as quickly as possible!
Dieue Sur Meuse
GPS Coordinates N 49.07026 E 5.42661
After camping for a few days, this was my first camper spot (Aire de Camping-Car). A place that towns reserve for camping cars to stay overnight (often for free) and refresh their water supplies. This was a first so I was excited to see how it would work out!
I was happily surprised when I found the place – a lovely spot next to the river. I arrived at around 5pm and it was very crowded already so it was a bit hard to find a place. Note to self: arrive earlier at free places 🙂 I found a little spot next to a tree so I had some shade. The other camping car people were friendly and some came by for a chat. The supermarket was a 5-minute walk and the Kebab place right next to the camping car spot was open until 10 pm. Perfect opportunity to buy some fries, cold drinks and use the restrooms 🙂
Waking up in Dieue Sur Meuse I found out that I had a flat tire! Not so much backpacking like a boss 😀 Luckily, I drive a Renault Trafic and there is a Renault Garage in even the tiniest village in France 🙂 I found one in Verdun and the guys were lovely and fixed my tire for free! That same morning I could move on to Besancon.
Besancon – Camping Besançon – La Plage
Chasing the sun going down south, it was quite a drive to Besançon. At around 4pm I arrived at Camping de Besançon- La Plage. I chose this camping because it had easy access to the city of Besançon with a new tramline. Pizza, baguettes and croissants easy to get from the reception area. Also, a large commercial centre with a Carrefour, Lidl and Mcdonalds was right next to the tramline – both within walking distance from the camping.
The first night I spent on a quite small spot on the camping, but the next morning I saw the neighbours leaving the camping and claimed the spot with view on the lake 🙂
My one comfortable companion on this trip is the amazing Trono inflatable seat. For anyone travelling in a van, you know you don’t have that much space. But these guys fit in a little bag and after some practice, are really easy to inflate and chill one! I even got a custom branded one 😀 😀 This picture is after I finally managed to more or less inflate it 😉
Visiting the city of Besancon, I started with the (yet another) Citadelle. In the meantime I had gotten some nice company from the Netherlands 🙂 So it was double the fun! It was quite a climb up the hill, and you enter via a beautiful gate where you pay the entrance fee. The Citadelle is composed of different layers, so it was still bit of a climb to the actual touristy part. There are some good photo opportunities along the way and the whole area is huge!
There are some nice restaurants and cafeterias inside and the walk on the walls offers some great views. Surprisingly, the Citadelle also hosted a Zoo and an “Insectarium” and in the end it was good for about 2-3 hrs of fun 🙂
The Centre Ville (city centre) of the city is also lovely to walk around. It’s very compact but has a nice shopping street, shops, squares and cafes. An easy tramride back to the campsite too.
Unfortunately, the weather was not great in the area, so after two nights I picked up my things and took off to the Jura!