Friday, May 10, 2013

Nieuil L'Espoir

Our plan was to continue on to Poitiers and to see the sights there. But those sights were simply more churches, and we figured we had seen enough churches for one day. In Poitiers we might also have visited the famous battlefield where, in 1356, the forces of the Black Prince actually captured the French King Jean II (and there was no policy of catch-and-release in those days). But no one knows where the battlefield was.  Sic transit, Gloria. Anyway, at length, we found a free camping aire in the little town of Nieuil L'Espoir, perhaps 15 miles from Poitiers, and spent the night there.

To our great surprise and delight, the Mairie at Nieuil L'Espoir provides free wifi for campers. (Well, you have to play a 30 second advert to connect; and reconnect every hour). Still, fairly incredible and wonderful. Rain was forecast the next day, so our plan was to just sit in Nieuil L'Espoir for the evening and morning, enjoying the free wifi, and take the bus into Poitiers in the afternoon, rain or shine. This plan did not pan out, however, although we did continue enjoying use of the free wifi.

Wednesday morning we noticed that things were rather quiet in the village. (We had also noticed a surprising number of French campers and tourists everywhere the past week, but attributed this to the May 1st holiday and the French knack for turning any holiday into a three-day weekend or a week's vacance). Walking around, noticing the tri-color flag everywhere, especially war monuments, a large gathering of citizens at the community hall next to the Mairie, and looking at my watch, I finally deduced that it was May 8th, another French national holiday. VE Day. No bus service, either.

For a while we hoped to be invited to the festivities, maybe some free champagne for the honored Liberators, but had to settle for the free wifi. In between showers, I took several long walks in the pretty village and around the large park in which the aire is located. Nice place. And free wifi.
Tree-line avenue leading into Nieuil L'Espoir

The camping aire

Town center and church

8 Mai 1945

Community hall

The Mairie, with its free wifi

Very large chain-saw sculpture in the aire;
by one Antoine Thomas; indeed the largest
such sculpture I have ever seen, and the
only one not of a grizzly bear

One of three large ponds in the park; which was honey-
combed with biking and jogging trails; this is the fishing

Educational displays all around (mostly natural, environmental)

Every tree and bush labeled


And, of course, a big playground; nice place, Nieuil L'Espoir

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