I’ve always thought of myself as a bit of a hot weather person. In the searing, white-hot incandescence of an English Summer with the thermometer sometimes creeping as high as 24 degrees, I’ve been the one to cry ‘bring it on, I can stand any amount of this!”. So, when my trusty BBC Weather app told me that the temperature in Coulon was likely to reach 35 degrees I was definitely up for it. But, as the old saying goes – be careful what you wish for.
Coulon nestles on the edge of the Marais Poitevin, an area of drained marshland just to the West of Niort. We’d visited before, probably around 18 years ago, and although I had a vague memory of the place, in reality I couldn’t remember much more than the fact of our visit, that the area is criss-crossed by canals and drainage ditches and that it’s yet another stunning part of France.
We stayed for four nights on a site that was a bit of mix between a camperstop and a municipal campsite. For 10 euros a night we got our pitch, electricity and toilets – but no showers. Now, I don’t know how you’d fare living for four days in a small white box in 34 degree heat and no showers, but let me tell you it isn’t an enticing prospect – even when you’ve lived with the same partner for 44 years. Fortunately, we suddenly remembered that, although we’d never previously used it, the van has a shower! No matter that you need the contorting skills of a Japanese origami master to use it – in these conditions we were prepared to try anything. And it works! Well, it works after a fashion and that was good enough for us. Luxury.
The Marais is extremely pretty – and flat – so cycling is an excellent way of getting around and doing a bit of exploring. Especially if you happen to have an e-bike. We managed a couple of forays and would probably have done more if the weather had been just a little cooler. On the 14th, which just happens to be her majesty’s official (and unofficial) birthday, we were joined for lunch by Jennie and Nathan, which helped to make the day rather special.
Our next stop is Bordeaux where we’re promised highs of 39 degrees. Oh goody.