Moulins, River AllierJanuary 17 in France ⋅ ☀️ 7 °C
We've passed into the Auvergne Region and settled ourselves for a few days under big old Plane trees, overlooking the wide River Allier
at Moulins' aire. Winds have blown brittle brown leaves and heaped them into piles against the chainmail fence enclosing our grassy site. We've chosen a spot where we can see the arched, red sandstone Pont Régemortes crossing the water a little way downstream and giving vehicles access to the town, with its two, double spired churches.
We set off this morning with the aim of getting a good number of kilometres under our belts but several things got in the way. We spotted a Netto, so stopped for supplies. Not much further on we saw signs for a Decathlon that would undoubtedly sell the fishing gear Will wanted for his birthday, in a few day's time. Will had fun choosing, but Vicky started to feel unwell and by the time he returned to the van she wasn't up to travelling far. A quick search of Park4Night came up with the Moulins aire, just 5 miles away. It had all the facilities and whilst not free, it was very affordable at just 10 cents an hour, costing only €4.50 for our two nights.
Once Will worked out how to enter our details into the ticket machine, the barrier rose and we were in. It was a lovely quiet spot with plenty of space. There was a definate chill in the air so we took advantage of the electric hookup costing €2 for 4 hours and got the fan heater working away. When the sun came out, Will wrapped up and took his fishing gear down to the river bank. He managed to make it back in before the hailstones!
The following day he made a couple of trips into Moulins' commercial centre. On the way he passed an art installation of cows painted by different artists and found a great shop selling organic foods, so filled our fridge with goodies for his upcoming birthday celebrations.
The night was properly cold at -3°C, but the frosted sights we woke to were gorgeous, with ice crystals forming on tree branches and fronds of grass. Inevitably our waste water tank had frozen shut so we weren't able to empty, but the Flot Bleu service stands provided by the aire were heated and insulated, meaning we could still fill up with fresh water for a couple of euros.Read more