Visiting the dog-friendly Loire with Eurocamp
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Going abroad and taking my
dog Poppy, a fluffy white Coton de Tulear has to be the best type of holiday.
No worries about whom to leave her with or if she is okay. Eurocamp, the
mobile holiday home specialist, have places all over Europe, which are dog-friendly.
I have always wanted to visit the Loire, and as they had a site at Chambord, Le Château des
Marais I chose to
The introduction of a Pet
Passport allows owners to take their pets abroad. However, the requirements are
constantly changing. Dogs and cats have to be micro-chipped. Poppy was scanned
both leaving and coming back into the UK. A rabies inoculation is also required
and has to be done 21 days before travelling. Although Poppy already had hers, she
needed a booster before travelling. She also needed to be wormed at least 24
hours, and up to five days before returning to the UK. This was done by a vet
local to where we were staying, and documented in her Pet Passport.
Not being confident of my
aged car making such a long journey, I was able to hire a car from Avis, as long as I
took out Continental Cover, which included a ‘get you home’ package. However,
taking a car abroad does require extra items including such things as an iridescent
triangle if the car breaks down, and covers for the headlights to change the
direction of the beam.
Having had little experience
of mobile home holidays, I had no idea what to expect other than what I had
read on-line on the Eurocamp website. I was delighted to find that Brittany Ferries have
dog-friendly cabins on their Portsmouth to Le Havre crossing, so I didn’t have
to worry about leaving Poppy in the car. This was particularly fortunate as the
weather was lovely, and might have been too hot even with the windows open. For
Poppy, the only disadvantage was that she had to wear a muzzle when boarding
and leaving the ship.
Eurocamp staff are British
or speak excellent English, and I had the impression that the majority were
working there in their Summer holidays from University or gaining work
experience. Our Esprit chalet was compact and basic, but had everything we
needed. Knowing what to bring meant thinking what I used every day in the
kitchen. Fortunately the site has a mini supermarket for the basics, and we
were able to do a major shop at a bigger supermarket. One of the nice things
about France is that freshly prepared food is available almost everywhere.
The focal point of Le Château
des Marais is a beautiful villa that appears not to be used but is obviously from
where the place takes its name. The camp is geared to families with children
and has a swimming pool incorporating a wiggly waterslide. Ideally situated as
a stop over for visiting numerous chateaux in the area, it is on the outskirts
of the grounds of Château Chambord, a Renaissance villa built for François 1,
with lots of turrets, landscaped gardens, and acres of land, equal to the size
of Paris. Poppy was allowed everywhere, but not inside the chateau, which was
surprising as the interior has no furniture, only paintings, tapestries on its
walls, and enormous chandeliers. Leonardo de Vinci who spent his last years
nearby at the Château du Clos Luce is said to have influenced many of its
architectural features. Discover Chambord
Within walking distance of
our Eurocamp site Poppy and I indulged in some wine tasting at Croc du Merle, a dairy farm and winery where
they produce the local Cheverny wine and have 100 dairy cows. We were able to
watch while a couple of cows were robotically milked. The owners also make
their own cheese and have a little shop on site.
The area is ideal for
cycling, and virtually everywhere, including at Eurocamp bikes are available to
hire. Boat rides on the Loire are another popular pastime, and in the nearby
medieval town of Blois, Poppy was allowed to join us on the water.
I couldn’t leave the area
without a visit to the dog-friendly Château de Chenonceau. Poppy was allowed, even though it was
furnished, although I was obliged to carry her.
The great thing about
Eurocamp is being able to stay at different sites, and split the journey.
Having found the distance longer than I expected, I was able to break my
journey on the way home, stopping at La Vallée at Houlgate. While Le Château des
Marais is surrounded by farmland, the Loire River, and sleepy villages La Vallée
in contrast is in a residential area, within walking distance of cafes and
shops, and minutes from miles of sandy beaches. Something for everyone.
Silver Travel Advisor
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