After leaving Chaorce we headed for St Amand sur Fion. A lovely drive through autumnal scenes of harvesting and ploughing and even a family of Boar.
Arriving at St Amand at lunchtime we found it to be a lovely little village with impressive church. The square hosting the Aire had been revamped and landscaped very prettily but spaces were not yet marked out clearly and we were unsure if we were going to be in the middle of a bus stop. The sign was welcoming and said there was also parking behind the church. We took ourselves off to explore. This was us in Champagne country and houses and gardens were pretty. A worker watering flowers assured us we could park in the square or behind the church. He opened the church door and encouraged us to visit inside.
As we were leaving, the church clock struck the hour, loudly! We had no way of knowing if the bells continued through the night as many do. So it was a no from us and we carried on to a small aire by the canal at Pogny just another 20 minutes further on. The weather had turned decidedly chilly and drizzly but we managed another walk around our environs at Pogny. A small supermarket on the outskirts was as exciting as it got. Heavy trucks trundled through this little place and other than a nice parking spot by the canal it didn’t have much to offer.
The next morning we continued north east making for Stenay, a well known town for us but fitted in another night stop first. Les Islettes is an Aire in a forest area which is also where wartime activities took place and where the Kaiser tunnel can be found. We had chosen it because it included electricity and the forecast was chilly! As soon as we arrived we both realised we had been here before and to confirm it we checked the visitors book in the shower/reception area and there it was, end of April 2016 and the weather had been wet then too! It did clear enough for us to have a walk into the forest before we settled for the night, but the contrast in what we wore compared to the weekend told a story! Fleeces under jackets and raincoats plus woolly hats! Why did I not pack gloves?!
Fortunately the forecast was improving again, though John did want to replenish our LPG bottles and some quick googling and a bit of luck, given phone signals have been dodgy, showed Verdun as having a Leclerc and GPL. Off we went and the sun came out!
Lovely villages, more busy farming scenes and a well stocked supermarket awaited us.
By the time we left Verdun the sun was shining warmly even if the wind was still a northerly. A straightforward drive was ahead of us following the Meuse river all the way.