Animalcouriers set off from the UK with a fine crew of passengers on board. Our first stop was a wonderful hotel in Normandy, Chateau du Landel at Bézancourt.

We always try to do some research before we set off to find places to stay where we can park safely, where our passengers will be welcome, and where dogs can have good walks. Generally, we do pretty well and this time was no exception. 

This lovely chateau was an out-of-season bargain — we would always encourage travellers in France to consider places to stay away from town and in the countryside. Quite apart from the beauty of the surroundings, there are many stunning places to stay at reasonable prices.  

We chatted to a granddaughter of the family who built the house several generations ago, and heard about its former life as a glass factory, the farming, some local history, and how some parts of the property have been converted into workshops. We even met the donkeys!

The 18th century Chateau du Landel

The 18th century Chateau du Landel

The driveway was lined with daisies and Chinese lanterns

The driveway was lined with daisies and Chinese lanterns

The hotel was previously the Landel Glass Factory, which sent stunning pieces to Paris. Examples like this are on show around the house.

The hotel was previously the Landel Glass Factory, which sent stunning pieces to Paris. Examples like this are on show around the house.

Glass production ceased in 1870. Towards the end, medicine bottles were the main business.

Glass production ceased in 1870. Towards the end, medicine bottles were the main business.

It still has the feel of a lovely family home

It still has the feel of a lovely family home

Lots of lovely dog-walking space

Lots of lovely dog-walking space

One of our passengers, Lenny, meeting a donkey while out on his walk — mutual fascination!

One of our passengers, Lenny, meeting a donkey while out on his walk — mutual fascination!

Not just any old donkey — this is a Baudet du Poitou, known for their shaggy coats

Not just any old donkey — this is a Baudet du Poitou, known for their shaggy coats

Rosie

Courier Dave collected gorgeous cat Rosie from Northumberland and brought her south to join the trip. Rosie was our first reunion, delivered to Philip and his wife in Saint Saviol, in the Poitou-Charentes region of France.

Gorgeous Rosie

Gorgeous Rosie

Rosie delighted to be reunited with her owners

Rosie delighted to be reunited with her owners

Coco, Mitzie, Duke and Luke

This super canine quartet were rounded up north of Aberdeen, ready to join us for their journey to the Dordogne. They’ll find the countryside just as pretty, but the temperatures a whole lot warmer than they’ve been used to!

We reunited them with their owner Sue, who’s staying temporarily with a friend who has five dogs! So there was quite a welcoming committee when Sue’s four arrived.

Huntaway Coco — Huntaways are very energetic, so when Coco stopped briefly to sniff at something interesting, courier J quickly took a photo

Huntaway Coco — Huntaways are very energetic, so when Coco stopped briefly to sniff at something interesting, courier J quickly took a photo

Spaniel Poodle cross Luke is equally energetic and we only caught a blur of fur!

Spaniel Poodle cross Luke is equally energetic and we only caught a blur of fur!

Darling Cocker Spaniel Duke is a slightly quieter character

Darling Cocker Spaniel Duke is a slightly quieter character

Little Jack Russell Mitzie is definitely the boss of them all!

Little Jack Russell Mitzie is definitely the boss of them all!

Doggie reception committee waiting in the house to welcome Sue's dogs to France

Doggie reception committee waiting in the house to welcome Sue’s dogs to France

Sue wisely took her four hounds off for a leg stretch before introductions were made

Sue wisely took her four hounds off for a leg stretch before introductions were made

A super sunset in the Dordogne

A super sunset in the Dordogne

Billy and Beau

Billy and Beau are relocating from Wigan to Mézerville, a village in the Languedoc region of France. They’re travelling with us to rejoin their owner Lindsey.  

Beautiful jet-black bookends, Billy and Beau, watching all the comings and goings around our van

Beautiful jet-black bookends, Billy and Beau, watching all the comings and goings around our van

Lindsey was so excited about her boys’ arrival, she was waiting in the road for us! As soon as the cat carrier was opened in the house, the cats were straight off to explore

Lindsey was so excited about her boys’ arrival, she was waiting in the road for us! As soon as the cat carrier was opened in the house, the cats were straight off to explore

Well named Beau gets a cuddle

Well named Beau gets a cuddle

Billy will want to be exploring the garden as soon as he can

Billy will want to be exploring the garden as soon as he can

Andorra

Border Collie Cross Andorra is also travelling to the Languedoc, as owner Wendy recently relocated to Narbonne. Wendy’s daughter Helen has been taking care of Andorra in the meantime. Andorra was born nearby — Wendy’s son lives a few villages away, and his dog fathered a litter of puppies, one of which was Andorra.

Adorable Andorra, who won't be too far from the little country that bears her name

Adorable Andorra, who won’t be too far from the little country that bears her name

A joyful reunion for Andorra and Wendy

A joyful reunion for Andorra and Wendy

Lenny

Chow Chow Lenny, just nine months old, is relocating from Southend on Sea to Sitges, in northern Spain. We collected him three weeks ago and organised his microchip, rabies vaccination and pet passport, ready for his journey. Jamie and his girlfriend are so looking forward to being reunited with Lenny, and we can see why, he’s a super chap.

Lenny showing the blue tongue which characterises his breed

Lenny showing the blue tongue which characterises his breed

Lenny shows his leonine profile

Lenny shows his leonine profile

Poes

Handsome tuxedo cat Poes is also off to Sitges, to rejoin owner Babs. Babs warned us that Poes is quite antisocial and doesn’t much care for travelling. Courier S, who collected him a few days ago, agreed. 

Well, some kind of transformation must have happened in the meantime (or else we have a different cat!). Poes is travelling very calmly and is even verging on being quite friendly!

Poes, who looks as though butter wouldn't melt…

Poes, who looks as though butter wouldn’t melt…

Max

Friendly tabby-and-white Max belongs to Sue, and is moving with her from Little Sandhurst to Urcal in Spain. Courier S collected him ready to join our trip. He’s a very debonair fellow!

Clever Max catching a few rays

Clever Max catching a few rays

Olly, Barney and Saffy

Labrador Olly and his feline friends Barney and Saffy have been waiting in Wales with their owners’ daughter. Neil and his wife went on ahead to Malaga to get everything ready for their pets’ arrival.

Handsome Olly loves his walks

Handsome Olly loves his walks

Super Saffy

Super Saffy

Beautiful Barney

Beautiful Barney

Angel

Angel is a very beautiful German Shepherd Dog, who belongs to Jo and Rory. They’re all swapping England for the Portuguese Algarve. 

We collected Angel from her owners at Maidstone Services, on our way to the coast

We collected Angel from her owners at Maidstone Services, on our way to the coast

Angel is lovely but a little camera shy!

Angel is lovely but a little camera shy!