Our first night in 2020 on our hard, cramped campervan bed in was surprisingly restful apart from my usual ‘where am I’ panic when stirring in the pitch dark at 2am.
After that it always takes me a while to calm down as I’m then filled with a vague sense of claustrophobia about being constrained in the small space alongside the immobile fast asleep Mrs Jones.
Next morning we properly set up camp which includes attaching our Vango AirBeam inflatable tent to the side of the van.
This is where we will sleep for the rest of the week on our latest newly purchased airbed, the third one we’ve bought in as many years which even has its own inflatable headboard.
You had to use a footpump to inflate the first bed we had which took forever and was so exhausting I needed a lie down straightaway.
The second one, which inflated electronically, was queen size and the height of camping luxury until it sprung a leak with a few days to go on our last holiday. That meant we had to switch on the noisy electric pump every few hours, not something we wanted to do on a quiet campsite.
On the last morning of that holiday we woke up squashed together virtually on the floor enveloped in the middle of our rapidly deflating bed. I like to think the puncture was as a result of all the action it saw!
With camp set up we wandered into Montsoreau which really was, as advertised, just a few minutes walk from the campsite.
On that walk you can see doors and windows cut into the cliff that overlooks the campsite and which as recently as the end of the 18th century provided homes to most of the villagers.
The village itself on the south bank of the Loire is beautiful and has a number of awards to prove it including ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages of France’, ‘Petit Cites de Caractere’ and ‘Village Fleui’.
It’s certainly worthy of all its accolades, here the Loire is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the largest in France.
With a view of confluence of the Loire and Vienne rivers the village centre is perfect in a very French sort of way with its small bars and restaurants spill out onto the square.
Flowers are everywhere giving colour to the white Tuffeau building stone with which virtually all the buildings are constructed.
The village’s main attraction is the chateau, a short walk from along the river from the central square which is promoted as the ‘Château de la Dame de Montsoreau’ after the novel by The Three Musketeers writer Alexandre Dumas.
Next to the castle is the grand looking Hotel le Bussy where there is a terrace with a superb view of the château and the river.
I’ll be heading over there later for a traditional French meal washed down with a half-litre carafe of vin rouge. Heaven!