After running the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall for 17 years, Graham King, his partner Kerriann Godwin, and their Chihuahua Yorkie cross Hugo are spending their retirement traveling around Europe in their beloved Hymer 508 motorhome, 'Dickie'.
As someone of a perfect disposition (J) who never complains
about anything (another J)
I have got to say that Nantua, listed in our All the Aires book as a gold-rated site, is one of the worst places
we have stayed on our trip. The book says ‘amazing lake/mountain views’ – tick,
‘renovated in 2012’ – tick, ‘lots of shops’ – no tick. Yes the views were
spectacular but that is where the ‘fabulous’ ends and the ‘hideous’ starts.
Deceptively gorge view
Nowhere did it mention the TGV track directly behind the parking that carried a
noisy high speed train along it every 20 minutes or so; neither did it mention
the incredibly tight spacing for the 13 slots provided (no chance to get the
awning out here) or, even worse, the gangs of youths spinning their cars around
(again at high speed) at midnight whilst their girlfriends screamed excitedly
as they squeezed between the vans. Annoyingly, our usually barky dog Hugo was
so pooped from his poop sniffing that he failed to raise even the slightest of
snuffles. And as for the ‘lots of shops’, every second shop was for sale or
rent. I should have realised we were in trouble when we couldn't find a boulangerie and Lidl didn’t even have a
hot bread section. Quelle horreur!
Tighter than a tight thing
The saving grace of the town was the small but well put
together Musee de la Resistance which told the tale of the Maquis in the Ain
region, the assistance given by SOE (Special Operations Executive) parachutists
in the war, the Vichy, and the terrible story of the Jews, many of them
children, who were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. In fact the
enthusiastic chap at the museum told me his father had been on one of the deportee
trains and only survived by jumping off and running to safety in the mountains.
One of the tableaux is actually narrated by a man called Patterson who is the
very soldier depicted in the scene. There are several plaques around the town
marking the spots where locals were shot by the Germans which shows how active
the Resistance was in this area.
It was chilling to see a Gestapo uniform behind a piece of
glass but the most unsettling artefact I saw was a Hitler Youth Drum, the
upright kind that you hit with two sticks on either side. Maybe it was the
thought of this dreadful ideology being ‘drummed into’ the young so it could be
carried into our future. Thankfully not.
But back to the site, I can only say that the only positive
(apart from the view) was that the police were obviously so embarrassed by the
place that they did not come and collect the 7.50 euro charge. Hoorah! Off to