Sleeping in the Disneyland car park for two nights felt like a test. I’m not sure I’ve ever tried to sleep in such ridiculous circumstances. Despite several layers of clothing, a duvet, three blankets, hot water bottle and hat, I was still freezing. Any skin that was left exposed (my face!) was almost painfully cold. This feat of endurance was conducted in the bleakness of an almost entirely empty car park, under flat grey foggy skies. I cheered myself with the thought that things could only get better.
After consulting our various oracles – road map of France, Lonely Planet France, and Camperstop Europe – we point the van in the direction of Blois in high hopes of a less depressing stopover for the night. The aire in Blois itself was closed so we found another a few kilometeres away in Les Montils that had water and somewhere to empty the loo. I looked forward to meeting a few other folk in motorhomes and perhaps wandering into the town for our evening meal.
When we arrive the aire is deserted. When we hopefully head into Les Montils to sample some French gastronomic delights we find that the town is deserted too, bar a couple of bewildered women in the town hall who regard us with barely concealed incredulity. Hungry and disheartened we return to our little wheeled home while I silently thank the gods that I packed plenty of food.
Each aire and campsite we stay at for the next five nights; Valencay, Pageas, the farm near Les Eyzies, Temple sur Lot and Soorts Hossegor, are empty. The various cafes, bars and restaurants we pass all have their lights firmly off. The wide, endless fields, stretching as far as the eye can see are deserted. Eventually it sinks in; France is shut.