Building dens and making friends

Biscarosse gave us our first proper taste of beach vanlife.

At €17 a night Aire du Vivier is expensive (by far the most we’ve paid – and that’s without electric), but during August in south west France they can pretty much charge what they like. It’s a huge aire of around 180 vans set within the pine forests behind Plage du Vivier.

The setting makes the cost worthwhile. The towering pine trees are beautiful and the way that the aire is laid out means that every van has lots of outside space.

After three weeks of living in car parks, the first thing the kids wanted to do was build a den from the branches on the forest floor.

After three weeks living inland, all Jim wanted to do was go for a surf!

Guess who won.

If you have a bike and like the beach, it’s an easy place to spend a week. It’s only a five minute walk to Plage du Vivier, or a couple of minutes by bike. Or a ten minute cycle to Biscarosse Plage, the main beach with shops and restaurants. The whole Biscarosse area is very bike friendly.

It was a tough commute to the beach every day!

Unsurprisingly we spent A LOT of time there.

Jim went surfing and Eden even paddled on daddy’s surfboard on the smaller days.

On a couple of evenings we biked into Biscarosse beach town for a wander around the surf shops, market stalls (more tat heaven for Eden) and to stuff ourselves with pizza and churros.

We really settled into vanlife. The weather meant that we could properly make the most of living outdoors.

Spending so much time outside gave us chance to get to know our neighbours. We had a really sweet couple from Switzerland on one side, who left us this beautiful picture the day they left.

We got to know Appy, a very funny Dutchman, on holiday in Biscarosse with his lovely (and patient?!) wife and their two dogs. Wearer of crazy shirts and teller of even crazier stories, Jim hit it off with him straight away. Sorry Appy I know you weren’t keen on having a photo.

We also made very good friends with our neighbours on the other side – Marie, Manu, Maé and Emmy, and their dog Akio.

Eden and Emmy quickly bonded over a mutual love of Barbies and Lego.

They were such a warm and welcoming family, Marie gave us homemade bread (yes she made bread in the campervan) and Emmy happily shared her toys with Eden and Ivan.

I was totally inspired by how Marie had restyled the interior of her van, which they call Charlotte! She had pretty much remodelled everything including removing the chemical wc and installing an eco-friendly compost toilet. Van goals.

They even invited us round to eat with them one evening. We couldn’t have asked for better ‘camping car’ neighbours.

We all felt a bit sad saying goodbye leaving Biscarosse to continue our travels. We really hope to visit them in Nantes one day!

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