Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Our road to Rouen

Following on from yesterday’s review of Road to Rouen by Ben Hatch, here is a little tale from our last drive to Rouen.

When we take Mini the dog back to the UK we have regular favourite stopping places where we know she can safely have a run and a wee. Some of these even have a public toilet (of sorts) that we can use too. Our mid afternoon stop usually coincides with a lovely forestry area just outside of Rouen. Dotted on either side of the road are small parking areas and tracks leading off into the trees. We have been stopping in the same car park in spring, summer and winter for many years and are often the only car there. Whatever the weather we are all glad of a good leg stretch.

french village diaries Mini the dog travel bed
Mini in her travel bed
It was quite a surprise on our last visit in July to see three or four cars and a van already stopped in our spot. We parked up and went for our walk with the dog thinking it a bit odd that most of the other drivers were sat in their cars. It wasn’t long before the whole situation became a little clearer. The transit van had an open roof vent and a curtain pulled across, separating the front from the back. One of the parked cars was empty; the others had no passengers, just middle-aged male drivers trying their best to look inconspicuous while they awaited their turn with Mademoiselle Camionette, or the ‘lady’ of the transit van. A little immature I know, but I couldn’t help humming along to:
“if you go down to the woods today,
you’re sure of a big surprise…..”

We weren’t there long, but long enough to watch the comings and goings of a couple of clients indulging in a bit of afternoon fun. What we then noticed was every lay-by and car park had it’s own transit van with open roof vent ready and waiting for business, although none were as busy as the one we’d parked next to. The poor girl was barely getting a minute to herself between visitors – just the thought of the odours and hygiene issues alone made me squirm.

We think we have found an alternative stop nearby, a pretty little town with an Abbey and a safe looking car park by the river and no sign of transit vans.


  1. There's a Mademoiselle like this on the road between Angoulême and Cognac... and she does a roaring trade. Obviously, they are very popular!

    1. I wonder how long before all lay-bys are full of busy vans?


Please don't be shy, I love to hear from you.