Everything was packed into the Smart car, like a game of Tetris. The pop-up picnic table and tent went in first, lodged down the back of our seats; followed by a strategic placement of roll bags, sleeping bags, cool box and other miscellaneous but nevertheless important objects. When we crawled onto the camp sites, the comfortable caravan owners would eye us up and down with contempt. Surely we weren't camping, our tiny car looked incapable of carrying all of the paraphernalia required for a good night's sleep under the stars.
We did camp though. We would organise our 'set-up' and relax on the blanket outside the tent with a picnic of baguette, laughing cow cheese, fruit and one Euro bottles of wine. On chilly nights we would swathe ourselves in cosy jumpers and listen to the Alan Partridge audio book; on sweltering afternoons we would discover children's playgrounds and fool around on trampolines.
There was a loose plan of what we wanted to see and the route that we would take. The mega-lithes in Carnac (pictured above), the hilarious plastic dinosaurs just outside Rochefort-en-terre, the staggering cliffs at Etretat. Camera in hand, we explored, adventured and walked to our heart's content.
Camping was broken up by two idyllic stays in traditional French gites - my aunt and uncle's beautifully refurbished stone cottage in Baud and a family friend's secluded retreat near Saint James. Dreams of a retirement plan in the extreme distant future fluttered as we grew used to the laid-back lifestyle.
Photograph taken by Dave and edited by myself