The further down the coast we got the more prevalent the pine forests became. This provided us with the perfect environment to camp. More often than not the terrain leading into the trees consisted of deep sand and proved to be fairly inaccessible by vehicle. Fortunately for us we had the benefits of 4WD and were able to capitalise on these opportunities.
Finding places to camp encouraged us to explore the surrounding area more thoroughly, and essentially what made the trip. With each camp spot we always aimed to try and improve on the last. This became a bit of a game and at the end of the trip we really tried to make our last location a special one. We usually spent two days in each spot, just for the convenience of not having to look everyday. This meant we had more time to relax, enjoy our seclusion, cook good food, play French boules (using pine cones), and indulge in the well priced local wines.
A few days into the trip and we soon settled into our routine. Waking just before sunrise to get the coffee on, have breakfast, pack up and go to the beach. Usually surf until lunch, before another coffee, some food, maybe a visit to the supermarket, a skate and always some time to rest after the days activities.
For the trip we acquired a pair of pop up tents that were left behind at a festival we attended earlier in the summer. These proved to be an excellent idea for this type of trip. Once we parked up they were easily deployed and once you got the hang of the folding up process they were easily packed up. Yes, they're a single layer so some mornings there was a considerable amount of dew inside, but in this warm climate they served their purpose well.
Before this trip had begun I had some pretty romantic images in my head of what it was going to be like. One such image was a secluded camp spot nestled within the trees looking out to sea with accessible surf. Ambitious I know! (Maybe I've been watching too many surf films) Especially in the well travelled and occupied west coast of France, where we didn't have the benefit of local knowledge. Most of the surf spots we visited were well catered for: showers (very useful when your living out your car) toilets, surf shops and cafes etc.
The vision did eventually come to fruition in the last 2 days of the trip. Although in the form of a fresh water lake rather than the sea, but I think this worked out just as well. To find this spot required a little reconnaissance. We first looked at maps and satellite imagery provided by the tourist information before eventually going to explore the location. The condition of the trail leading there was less than ideal for our inexperience with an off road vehicle, and in favour of not getting the Landrover stuck we abandoned her and proceeded on foot. This therefore meant we had to lug our very carry unfriendly gear around a mile to the spot. All in all this initial effort made our final camp spot all the more worth while. We managed to slim down our ‘gear’ to the essentials for comfortable living and eating, leaving the tents behind, in favour of sleeping on the beach.
We ended up camping at this idyllic lakeside for two nights. We were greeted the first morning with a breathtaking sunrise, and the second with an atmospheric mist that was an equally impressive sight if not a little on the cold side. All in all it was well worth the extra effort exploring and finding a secluded spot that felt like we were a million miles from anywhere. We headed home contented after a fitting end to the trip.