After this we were intent on a visit to the town of Arras. I’d read on Park4night that if you parked on the Citadelle carpark, there was a free shuttle bus into the town centre every 10 minutes. Parking was easy, and often in such situations we try and park reasonably close to other motorhomes, or other larger vehicles, if there are any, just so that we don’t stand out too much. It’s not that we generally have any cause for concern, but is what I term “best practice”, ie reduce risk, however small, wherever practical/possible. In this case there did happen to be another motorhome.
The bus took us in and we then explored the town. It was near to 2pm so my priority was to find somewhere to eat. Today it was a simple lunch of a pretty decent bunless burger, set on a rosti base and topped off with a fried egg, served with some excellent chips, plus a very basic salad, and including drinks.
I was then marched off to the Tourist Information office, where we discovered that the very impressive town centre square we’d had our lunch in actually led to a much larger square. As we turned the corner, we were surprised to find it had been transformed into a large Christmas village, complete with red felt floor, rows and rows of the usual wooden huts, and ice rink, children’s toboggan run, and all the other usual stuff you’d expect to find in a Christmas village. Not really my thing, but it was interesting to wander around.
Security was tight, as we were frisked and bags checked on entry, and I don’t think it was just us. We were then met by a gendarme who looked really chuffed with his new machine gun.
I managed to get us back on the shuttle bus and we had a chat with a French teacher en route, enabling us to practice our respective foreign languages. On our way out we checked out the official town aire. By this time it was getting dusky, and starting to rain, but we decided to head off in search of a night stop.
It struck me during our conversation with the French chap, that when asked if we were staying in the town I’d said no and we weren’t actually sure where we’d be sleeping that night. This really was the case and I just had a vague idea of a possible stop, but tonight, knowing that we needed to be in Cambrai the following evening, there was the back-up plan of heading there directly, where we knew there was somewhere sensible to stay. However, that wouldn’t be as interesting as driving around in the dark, hunting for a small canalside car park, where we could watch the barges plying their trade.
So here we are at Arleux. There are a few potholes, but it’s a solid footing here (Sophie sent me out to check), and we look forward to the views in the morning as we catch up with our blogging and I phone Jersey for a conference call later in the morning.