France – All blog posts

The below is a list of all blog posts on our travels in France to date.
(The most recent post is on top).

The final days of 2019 Dec 31, 2019 - It’s been a long time.  As this busy and exceptional year is now ending, we thought that one last post was in order to pull together where we have been hiding out.  (hint: Down Under). We have previously said that we would only write about our motorhome travels, as that was the reason for beginning […]
(During) Home Exchange 3 – West through Cognac region to the Atlantic coast at Royan & Ile d’Olêron Sep 2, 2019 - We returned home from Pageas for only one day, and after explaining the basics of our house and pool to our lovely new Dutch house guests and their very excited children, we set off west, through well-known countryside.  Short of Angoulême, we stopped in a free aire in Touvre, which proved to be a much […]
(During) Home Exchange 2 – South to Périgueux, Cazeneuve, and some France Passion vineyards Aug 26, 2019 - We returned home on time from Lac de St. Mathieu to say goodbye to our first guests, and to begin to prepare our home for the arrival of our second visiting Home Exchange family.  They arrived punctually the next morning and we welcomed them all into our newly-cleaned home.  After a speedy tour and basic […]
France – Swimming at Pont D’Arc and our road home Jul 12, 2019 - We packed up our comfortable pitch in Camping des Sources, ready to move on.  We were heading home, but we had one more special place to visit.  The day was again stifling, and Carpentras hit newsworthy record temperatures as we passed through.  Skirting south of Orange, we dropped down the valley and crossed the Rhône, […]
France –  Valensole, Gordes & Abbaye de Sénanque Jul 10, 2019 - We tossed and turned throughout the night, uncomfortably hot in our tin box at the bottom of the hill in Moustier-Sainte-Marie.  We finally found some welcome sleep, until the Gendarme arrived and knocked on our door to confirm our ticket purchase, although it was clearly visible in our window.  It was time to move, and […]
France – Hiking the Imbut trail to Le Styx and visiting Trigance Jul 5, 2019 - With our hilly trail race in Aiguines complete, we headed out of our campsite with two baguettes under our arms to follow a scenic road east.  We stopped frequently to quickly view the gorge from different perspectives; the day was already mid 30s by 9.30am, and everything was an effort.  We parked up near Auberge […]
France –Sillans-la-Cascade & around Lac de Sainte-Croix Jul 3, 2019 - We debated whether to spend another water-focused day at the delightful Camping les Pêcheurs but, lovely as it was, the idea of exploration won out.  As joyous and flowing with colour as our pitch was, draped with pink flowers and overhanging trees, we struggled for ten minutes to get out without destroying the foliage, reversing […]
France – Plage de Pampelonne and Saint-Tropez Jul 1, 2019 - We awoke early, and as we packed up we chatted to our Slovenian neighbour, the late arrival and aire comedian.  After a few morning laughs we were soon retracing the coast road around and through Toulon.  After several wrong turns and a couple of sudden sharp exits to avoid various tunnels under the city, we […]
France – Les Sablettes and Toulon Jun 28, 2019 - We rose early in Sanary-sur-Mer and left with unusual proficiency.  We faced a leisurely drive along the urbanised main road through Six-Fours-les-Plages.  Some stretches proved to be very tight with overhanging trees or badly parked cars.  It took us all of nine built-up miles to reach our next planned stop, a free aire near to […]
France – The calanques & beaches of Cassis and Sanary-sur-Mer Jun 26, 2019 - We awoke in our corner in Marly Parc to a cacophony of singing birds and revving motorcycles.  We paid up and headed south, away from Marseille towards the south coast.  Our first stop was in the tourist town of Cassis.  We managed to carefully squeeze into a space in the only motorhome-allowed area in town, […]
France – Sausset-les-Pins and the calanques of Marseille Jun 24, 2019 - We left Remoulins late morning, and after an hour and a half of easy dual carriageway we arrived in Sausset-les-Pins, the location of our first organised 10km (well, 11.2km) race of this trip.  Here we got our first true glimpse of the Mediterranean.  We wanted to arrive early to ensure a space in the free […]
France – Alzon, Uzès and the Pont du Gard Jun 21, 2019 - We crawled through the busy centre of Millau continuing south-east, to overnight in the village of Alzon. We easily found the aire and settled in for the night. There was a local pétanque game in progress opposite and we sat with a glass of wine and enjoyed watching in the soft evening sun. After dinner […]
France – Heading South: Gignac, Rodez & the Viaduc de Millau Jun 19, 2019 - After the glorious sun-filled days during friends and family visits, we had a return to the heavy rain of previous weeks.  We had planned to leave early on a damp Wednesday morning, but a calamity of errors and minor issues (a broken chair, a collapsing rose trellis etc..) left us with a late afternoon departure.  […]
France – Spring-time visitors to Limousin Jun 17, 2019 - In the times between our trips away in Benny, we have been pleased and excited to be able to host a procession of visitors from the UK.  The first overseas guests of the year were friends from Northampton, Cathy and Graham.  They arrived to stay for a relaxing week in May, with some gentle exploring […]
Spain/France – Jonquera, Trouillas & the road to Limousin              May 28, 2019 - We sneaked away from the watery paradise of Empuriabrava back inland, with the idea of heading back to France. Our road leading out of Spain, the N11 north from Figueres, was lined with what appeared to be prostitutes, glamour girls in high heels and very little else, waving and bending over provocatively for the passing […]
France/Spain – Andorra, Camprodon & Olot (part 1) Apr 19, 2019 - We finished strimming the garden, reclaiming our pool from winter algae and tiling our cottage bathroom.  With cut hands and tired bodies we threw together some clothes and provisions, locked our shutters and drove south.  We needed a break, and the blue seas of the Costa Brava were calling to us.  Stopping only for a […]
2019 Catch-up – What we’ve been up to lately… Apr 15, 2019 - Wow, it’s been over three months since our last blog post.  Time certainly moves on quickly when you fill your days.  We decided that this blog would be better suited for the recording of our exploratory travels in Benny, and that intermittent updates of our daily grind working on house projects were deemed not interesting […]
2018 Highlights, 2019 Plans Jan 28, 2019 - Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Mary Oliver (The Summer Day) 2018; another year of memories gathered, activities enjoyed and goals achieved. In some ways it was more of a transitional year, a soft landing leading from […]
France – Christmas in Paris (mini-break Part 2) Dec 30, 2018 - <post continued from Paris Part 1 > Day 3 – South of the River Tired from our first two days exploring, we were late waking, having slept nearly 10 hours. We must have been properly exhausted, a body and mind overload. We walked south from the campsite, passing a hippodrome flanked by a closed tarmac […]
France – Christmas in Paris (mini-break Part 1) Dec 27, 2018 - Day 1 – Arrival, La Défense & Tour Eiffel After a hectic morning packing session, we left La Jourdanie in good spirits for our drive north.  We followed the A20 for hours, skirting around Châteauroux and Vierzon.  We swapped to the parallel D-road to avoid motorway tolls and later stopped briefly in an aire in Theillay […]
France – Mums, Markets & Mulled Wine – Early Christmas fun with our mums Dec 23, 2018 - Leaving the elegant, damp streets of a rainy-day Pau, we drove further into France, homeward bound.  We overnighted in Villeneuve de Marsan at a free aire that offered two free electricity points but there were three other vans already plugged in and we had no splitter, so had to go without.  We walked into the […]
Spain / France – Crossing the Pyrénees to Pau Nov 16, 2018 - The building traffic noise in awakening Pamolona arrived swiftly, shaking us early from our slumber.  The rain had died down to a soft drizzle and a murky grey smudge of sky filled our view.  We serviced quickly and, after a brief hiccup attempting to exit the aire, we became just another slowly rolling box in […]
France – Bayonne & the ’13km de la Nive’ race Oct 20, 2018 - We left La Jourdanie late, the packing for a three week trip taking longer than anticipated.  We had thought we were nearly ready, but the final essential items to add still ate up our morning – so much for an early start in Benny.  We were finally away by 11am, heading south, pausing only to […]
France – Saint-Junien & Saint Pardoux Oct 10, 2018 - After our relaxing, relatively speaking, week of birthdays and dinner parties, we continued with our renovations and works.  We were refreshed, attacking jobs with a renewed vigour and keener eye. We ticked off many items but our to-do list continued to grow longer as we discovered other items needing replaced or other projects we suddenly […]
France – Our first house-guest, the Birthday Girl Oct 4, 2018 - We invited Nicky’s mum Margaret to visit us, for the week spanning the occasion of her 71st birthday.  Sorry, 51st, she reminded me.  She was to be our first non-neighbouring visitor to see our new home and we were delighted to pause works and play at hosts. This was her fifth visit to see us […]
France – Pageas and our new French home Sep 7, 2018 - Leaving Séreilhac we had only a few miles to travel to reach our destination.  We met the sellers, Pat and Julia, again on Monday morning to take final meter readings and inspect that all has been left as contractually required.  We had a brief master-class in how to look after the pool, hoping we have […]
Tour de Mont Blanc – hiking the TMB (a personal reflection) Aug 27, 2018 - Tour de Mont Blanc – hiking the TMB (a personal reflection) Through scratched perspex, we looked down like giants on the rows of tiny buildings and straight roads that littered the flat valley base, carpeting the flat plain in dense, interlocking patterns.  It all became toy-like, insignificant in the deep shadow of the high mountain […]
France – Saint Pardoux, and our new French house Aug 25, 2018 - Note:  We’ve been sans Internet for several weeks as we worked our way through the maze of French bureauracy, so are only now catching up with ourselves on the blog plus, we’ve been busy settling in, as you can read all about in our next exciting update. If you like. We left Neris-Les-Bains in good […]
France – Macon, Moulins & Montluçon Aug 12, 2018 - Just two days into her antibiotic schedule, Nicky was feeling much perkier; it was time to move on. We left our rest spot in Abondance and returned back down the mountain.  We had to revisit Thonon hospital for some follow-up blood work, as instructed.  We parked easily in the empty hospital car-park and waited only […]
France – Abondance & our first experience of a French hospital Aug 10, 2018 - We returned from Zermatt by the same route, the only route really, via Sion to Martigny.  Only here we deviated from our previous path, leaving Switzerland by a different Col as we climbed and wiggled our way to the mountain town of Abondance, back in French territory.  We pulled onto the spacious gravel of the […]
Switzerland – Zermatt’s Matterhorn & Randa’s bridge Jul 30, 2018 - After the successful completion of the TMB hike, we rested up at Le Grand Champ for a further two rainy nights.  We tasked ourselves with the necessary jobs of laundry, photo-sorting and rest.  But we also had an eye towards our next mini-adventure, so were cooking up a few ideas.  After some deliberation, Switzerland was put […]
France – Tour du Mont Blanc: hiking the TMB (Part 3) Jul 27, 2018 - Continued from previous posts: Tour du Mont Blanc: hiking the TMB (Part 1) Tour du Mont Blanc: hiking the TMB (Part 2) Day 9 – Refuge Les Mottets to Les Contamines We awoke early, ate breakfast before 7, packed and were out walking by 7.35am. It was still dark in the valley, with a low […]
France – Tour du Mont Blanc: hiking the TMB (Part 2) Jul 25, 2018 - Continued from previous post:  Tour du Mont Blanc: hiking the TMB (Part 1) Day 5 – La Fouly to Refugio Elena We were up for breakfast at 7am, perky and ready to go. The view of the surrounding mountains was now clear and impressive, set under deep blue skies. From our room we  watched a […]
France – Tour du Mont Blanc: hiking the TMB (Part 1) Jul 23, 2018 - Disclaimer:  We are finding it difficult to find a way to encapsulate the highs and lows, physically and emotionally, of the overall experience of hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc circuit, so the following three posts are more of a simplified, chronological walk around the loop with us.  We will likely revisit this hike and […]
French Haute Alps – St Gervais, Les Houches & our upcoming plans Jul 14, 2018 - After leaving the wonderful shores of Annecy we drove into the mountains to the nearby town of Thônes.  We found a space in the town’s free aire, then walked around town and looked in their shops, before getting a bottle open and chilling in the warm evening sun.  It was 36 degs this day, and […]
France – Lake Annecy swims and cycles Jul 9, 2018 - After leaving the quiet beauty of Serrières we drove over and down the mountain to reach the neat, bustling town of Annecy.  The only central carpark suitable for motorhomes that we knew of was full to bursting and the busy traffic dissuaded us from attempting to stop elsewhere.  We were staying close by and could […]
France Massif Central – La Bourboule & Chambon-sur-Lac Jul 4, 2018 - We spent our final morning at Lake Vassivière cleaning and packing, managing to reclaim all our deposit.  We had a long drive back to Limoges airport to return Mummy Finch to her homeward flight.  We had a brief stop in the very pretty town of Eymoutiers for a slow, hot walk around the centre by […]
France – Lake Vassivière & our SwimRun challenge Jun 29, 2018 - We left the garage and our boxed-up belongings as neat and organised as we could, ready for pick-up and delivery at the end of July, when we take ownership of our new French house.  Job done, we had a lovely, slow run into the nearby fields to relax, before opening a celebratory bottle to end […]
France – Brantôme, and a flying visit home Jun 25, 2018 - We had, mostly, readied ourselves and the house we were tasked with looking after for our imminent departure.  Our host Eric telephoned to say he would be home a day earlier than originally expected, so we cut short our final hours of sun-worshipping to complete the last tidy-up tasks, made a cup of tea and […]
France House-sit – Vanxains, near Riberac (Part 3) Jun 18, 2018 - Visits to Lacapelle-Biron and Cazeneuve The long sun-drenched days in Vanxains simply glided by, our hours filled with nothing substantial but brimmed with relaxation and rest.  We rewarded every two hours of strenuous physical effort, either running, walking, swimming or cycling, with double that of lazy sitting or lying in the garden, reading and watching […]
France House-sit – Vanxains, near Riberac (Part 2) Jun 10, 2018 - Our days have continued to pass much as they have done for much of this house-sit to date; filled with short bursts of frantic activity framed with large doses of lazy sun-worshipping.  Or, when rains arrived, and they really arrived, catching up on missed TV shows, movies or books, whilst marvelling at the tropical-like deluges […]
France – Lalinde, Bergerac and Sourzac May 24, 2018 - So, it was quite the busy run of days for us. Viewings completed; house now under offer.  WorkAway completed; new friends made.  Making our way north and west to our latest house-sit was the next thing on our agenda, but we had a few days spare to rediscover a more gentle pace.  After leaving Dordogne […]
France – Périgueux, St Yrieix & our house search May 11, 2018 - France – St Yrieix, Périgueux & our house search NOTE: This blog is slightly out of chronological order as we wished to see what conspired from our house viewings before writing anything specific about them.  We posted our latest Workaway synopsis first, as we awaited news. Before leaving the UK back in early April, we […]
WorkAway in the Dordogne (with Kate & Dave) May 4, 2018 - During three days of house-viewings (more on this later), where we mostly over-nighted in the surprisingly quiet aire in Châlus next to a popular lorry park, we were contacted by Kate and Dave, registered WorkAway hosts.  They were a well-travelled British couple who now run a large gîte complex in the Dordogne, offering high end […]
France – Orléans & the road south Apr 23, 2018 - We rolled away from the pleasant beach boulevard in Seaford to catch our uneventful four-hour ferry to Dieppe.  We doodled only a short way south before deciding we deserved a lazy afternoon and evening, so we pulled into a tidy, and surprisingly somewhat busy, free aire at Clères.  It was a nice aire, set between […]
France – Château de Chenonceau & home Mar 20, 2018 - Our very lovely house-sit in Cazeneuve finally came to an end, as all things must do. We had a final dinner and beers with our returned hosts, hearing tales of their travels and sharing our experiences of our time in their beautiful home.  A final clean up and packing up session after breakfast the next […]
France – Penne d’Agenais and around Feb 26, 2018 - With very few good weather days over the past few weeks, we have had to be ready to jump when the mists lift or the clouds depart enough to allow a little sun through.  One morning we rushed out to cycle to the nearby village of Castelmoron-sur-Lot, taking advantage of a bright, clear start to […]
France – Agen, Pujols & around Feb 8, 2018 - An update on our activities over the past few weeks during our house-sit in Cazeneuve. It’s been around three weeks since our last blog post, and we’ve been keeping busy, but not in adventurous ways that we feel are worth sharing more regularly.  Our days are full with learning, activity and exercise, with the odd […]
France – Villeneuve-sur-Lot and around Jan 19, 2018 - Our house-sit in Allez-et-Cazeneuve continues on full of reading, learning and exercise.  And downtime – plenty of that too.  Here’s a taste of what we’ve been up to recently – On one dry day we cycled over to see the main local town of Villeneuve-sur-Lot.  We climbed up and over a steep local hill then […]
Starting Our Second House-sit – Allez-et-Cazeneuve Jan 8, 2018 - Arriving in Allez-et-Cazeneuve to begin our latest house-sit commitment. We are now firmly ensconced in our second house sit of this French winter.  We arrived here last Wednesday, near Villeneuve-sur-Lot, after sadly leaving the tranquil beauty of Barie and the easy company of Ozzie and Tilly, the two loving cats we were looking after.  We […]
2017 – A wonderful year of travels remembered in select panoramas Dec 30, 2017 - A photographic look back over some of the favourite places we visited in 2017  
France House-sit – Our Activity Synopsis Dec 19, 2017 - Today we woke up to find we have been nestled in our current house-sit for a full four weeks.  It’s difficult to see where the time has gone, but in all honesty it has been so relaxing not to feel any need to do anything, like we’re pleasantly floating through life as clouds in the […]
Arrival at our house-sitting commitments – willing staff to two adorable cats Dec 6, 2017 - Leaving Monpazier we made our way south and west, skirting around the main town of Villeneuve-sur-Lot to reach the municipal area of Allez-et-Cazeneuve, where we would soon be living in a comfortable renovated former boulangerie for a few months, early next year.  This was the location of our second upcoming house-sit, and we’d arrived to […]
France – St-Cyprien, Belvès & Monpazier Dec 4, 2017 - We left the stunning Jardins de Marqueyssac and arrived in St-Cyprien, our chosen spot for a few days of, relatively, nothing.  We parked in the designated motorhome area in a large mixed parking car-park on the edge of the town, with a direct view up to the central church.  We bought a 24hr parking ticket […]
France – Les Jardins de Marqueyssac Dec 1, 2017 - We arrived directly from our visit to La Roque-Gageac, and had a bite of lunch in their large, empty car-park as we waited with anticipation.  In winter the gardens are only open from 2pm – 5pm, so we had a short time window of opportunity for our visit.  We paid our entry fee, the first […]
France – Domme & La Roque-Gageac Nov 29, 2017 - After another night as the sole inhabitant in the lovely aire, we left leafy Groléjac and moved on, at least a little.  We drove only a few miles, on beautiful roads lined with red, yellow and orange trees flanked by burnt russet ferns.  The road steadily rose higher and the views over the countryside rose […]
France – Groléjac & Sarlat-la-Canéda Nov 27, 2017 - After leaving the incredible, balancing beauty of Rocamadour we soon had to turn and back-track a little.  Our first chosen route out of town was closed for remedial works, so we chose a smaller, windier route over bumpy hills and through the open countryside.  It was a warm, clear morning and a quite beautiful choice, […]
France – Rocamadour and the GR6 Nov 24, 2017 - Leaving our misty valley view in Autoire, we first stopped at services at nearby Gramat to fill up with fresh water.  It was the time of year taps were beginning to be turned off, for fear of freezing, so we filled up when we could.  A quick supermarket stop and we were all fully set, so […]
France – Autoire & Loubressac Nov 22, 2017 - We drove through a wide limestone gorge from Carennac to reach the large aire set just outside Autoire village.  A steep descent took us to the bottom tier, where we parked up with a view across rolling hills and an autumnal valley.  It cost €4 for 24 hours.  With all our recent exploring we decided […]
France – Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne & Carennac Nov 20, 2017 - Moving on from overnighting in the Domaine de Chirac’s farm, we continued with our now familiar theme of visiting beautiful French villages.  The next we planned to go and see, only a few miles away, was Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne.  We parked easily in the town’s spacious aire down by the river, conveniently payable overnight but not during […]
France – Turenne & Collonges-La-Rouge Nov 18, 2017 - We serviced and left the pretty hilltop aire in Dampniat, heading across country.  The weather had turned and we no longer enjoyed wonderfully clear blue skies, but a dull, thick greyness now permeated everything, blocking out the light.  A light drizzle occasionally fell, obscuring our view as much as the lack of light did, making […]
France – Dampniat & Brive-la-Gaillarde Nov 16, 2017 - We moved on from our visit to Saint-Robert to reach the rural heights of the village of Dampniat.  We had a worrying moment on our arrival, as pulling up at the aire we faced a chain across with INTERDIT in bold letters.  We soon worked out that this was only closing off the large area […]
France – Ségur-le-Chateau & Saint-Robert Nov 14, 2017 - Leaving Uzerche, we felt there were so many choices of where to head next.  We still had a few weeks spare before our house-sitting commitment, and we were geographically close, less than a day’s drive away.  It was time to slow down our progress and concentrate on a more detailed exploration of the surrounding area.  […]
France – Limoges & Uzerche Nov 12, 2017 - Limoges and Uzerche We left the leafy aire in St. Priest Taurion to head for Limoges on roads that were empty on a bright November morning.  There was a biting chill in the air early on, around 5 or 6 degs, but the day warmed up after a few cold hours to a scorching 22 […]
Back in France and heading south Nov 9, 2017 - A quick run south heading through the north-east corner of France to the centre, taking in the Champagne Region countryside, with rural stopovers near Bourges, in La Martineche and at St. Priest Taurion. We left the comfortable campsite in Ypres and headed south into France, skirting around Lille and beyond.  We also bypassed Soissons as […]
Our first year full-timing in a motorhome – how much did it cost? Sep 4, 2017 - Our first year full-timing in a motorhome – how much did it cost? Here’s a look at the costs, annual and daily, associated with our chosen lifestyle choice.  (4th September 2016 – 3rd September 2017) It’s been a full year now since we took the plunge, leaving our professions, friends and family behind for life on the road. […]
Our first six months – an activity and financial synopsis Mar 25, 2017 - Our first six months – an activity and financial synopsis Following on from our First six months photographic synopsis, we decided to also create an activity and financial synopsis, to record the details of our life on the road to date: As motorhoming newbies, going full-time in our very first van was quite a scary […]
Our first six months – a photographic synopsis Mar 13, 2017 - Our first six months – a photographic synopsis Over the preceding twenty-six weeks, or more accurately 184 days, we have passed through many stunning places, towns and landscapes around Western Europe.  We have cycled, walked and swam in beautiful and varied locations, covering more ground and staying fitter than we would have during the cold, […]
Laon, Thiepval and the Somme Mar 10, 2017 - Laon We drove up the winding contours of the steep hill leading to the historic centre of Laon, where we reached comfortable camping-car only parking set adjacent to the medieval walls.  We walked through the walls and into the old town, following the grey stoned cobbled streets to reach the large square that opened out […]
Reims and Champagne Mar 9, 2017 - Reims and Champagne From our mini-city break in Nancy we moved a few more miles, to an overnight stop on the grassy banks of a lake in the small town of Contrisson.  We saw no one bar one hardy dogwalker as we suffered a harsh, windy night complete with driving rain that fell in fat, […]
Charmes and Nancy Mar 7, 2017 - Charmes We arrived next in the town of Charmes, having made the decision to stay in a paid commercial aire with WiFi, so that we could watch the next instalment of the 6 Nations rugby from the comfort of Benny.  Our first impressions were not too favourable; at this time of year it was a […]
Besançon, Vesoul and Ronchamp Mar 6, 2017 - Besançon We left the huge, sprawling car-park on the central canal in Dôle, following the water to the east to visit the city that, by Royal decree, took over Dôle’s duties as regional capital; Besançon.  We parked in a central commercial aire that charged by the hour, so we paid for up to two hours, […]
Vongnes, Orgelet and Dôle Mar 4, 2017 - Vongnes From our little car-park near the rugby pitches in Belley, we continued northwards to explore further cycling options, and possible dégustation stops, in the region of Bugey.  We quickly arrived in the small town of Vongnes after only ten miles, where we visited Le Caveau Bugiste, a winery offering motorhome overnight stops and free […]
Visieu, Morestel and Belley Mar 2, 2017 - Visieu, Morestel and Belley We left our comfortable, icy pitch in Villeneuve with just a little touch of difficulty, needing the helping traction of the matting again to escape fully.  The roads were beautifully clear outside the site and onwards, so we drove north, passing again through the village of Monetier-les-Bains and out over the […]
Serre Chevalier Feb 26, 2017 - Serre Chevalier – Arrival Day Our base for the week was a private campsite aire in the heart of the village of Villeneuve, the most central of the four key villages that provided direct lift access to the expansive ski area of Serre Chevalier. Due to overnighting just down the valley in Briançon, we arrived […]
Provençal villages – Part 2 Feb 24, 2017 - Camping de la Colline, Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux We left the hailstones of AYME TRUFFE behind, this morning a lot clearer, brighter and drier than the previous afternoon had been.  We first stopped at a well-known local liquor distiller outlet, Domaine Eyguebelle, where we had a quick tour of their museum and facilities and a few indulgent tastings […]
Provençal villages – Part 1 Feb 23, 2017 - Beaumes-de-Venise After completing our cycle around the villages near Châteauneuf-du-Pape, we drove a short distance to the large village of Beaumes-de-Venise, where we parked up at a free aire at a small winery.  The Domaine Bouletin was currently being run by the fifth generation of the founding family, a real multi-generational affair with wine-making.  We […]
Chateauneuf-du-Pape Feb 15, 2017 - Châteauneuf-du-Pape We left behind us the beautiful city of Avignon to head just a little way further north, following the Route du Vin into the Rhône Valley region, with our first stopover in the celebrated town of Châteauneuf –Du-Pape. We parked up in the empty car-park at the original Chateau, high on the hill overlooking […]
Avignon Feb 9, 2017 - Avignon Waking up in Puy-Sainte-Réparade, we were still undecided as to where today would take us, if indeed anywhere.  The weather was dictating our progress and, to some extent, our general mood, as we hoped to escape the dull, repetitive, activity-supressing rain.  We had a slow breakfast and a bit of map-reading as we searched […]
Arles, Salin de Giraud and Puy-Sainte-Réparade Feb 4, 2017 - Arles, Salin de Giraud and Puy-Sainte-Réparade Moving on from the canal banks in Saint-Gilles, we headed next to Arles, another nearby historic Roman town also the proud owner of its own bullring arena.  Unknown to us as we drove in, it was market day in Arles and most of the centre streets were given up […]
Nîmes, Bellegarde and Saint Gilles Feb 4, 2017 - Nîmes After our goodbyes to Sophie and her family, we headed east to see the celebrated city of Nîmes.  After our usual loop of the city centre looking in vain for a suitable parking space, we finally settled on an out of town supermarket, where we abandoned Benny in a quiet corner out of the […]
Saint Just, Sommieres and Boisseron Jan 30, 2017 - Saint Just, Sommieres and Boisseron We woke up in our aire in Villeneuve les Maguelone to the delightful news that, as our privacy blinds were shut and our displayed ticket on the dashboard was partially obscured, we had a police message on our windscreen notifying us that a spot fine would be sent to our […]
Béziers and Montpellier Jan 29, 2017 - Béziers We left the stark, windy inlet aire at Gruissan under dark grey skies and headed first north, then east.  We passed near to Narbonne again before turning right to visit the nearby city of Béziers.  After our now obligatory fruitless drive around the centre, we finally got parked on the side of a wide […]
Lagrasse, Narbonne and Gruissan Jan 27, 2017 - Lagrasse, Narbonne and Gruissan We tore ourselves away from our supremely comfortable nest in Jan and Andy’s house near Limoux to drive east across the mountains towards the small medieval mountain town of Lagrasse.  We rose up the snaking pass through scattered settlements and small vineyards, out into more rural, agricultural scrubland.  It was a sharply […]
Around Limoux (with Jan & Andy) Jan 22, 2017 - Day 1 – Rennes-le-Chatêau, Alet-les-Bains and Limoux After visiting Quillan and Esperaza, we kept moving north along the main road on our way to visit friends Jan and Andy, whilst making short side visits to any places or villages that captured our interest.  Our first venture was to the small, renowned village of Rennes-le-Chatêau, set up in the […]
Pyrenees Orientales and Aude Jan 22, 2017 - Pyrénées Orientales and Aude Leaving our chilly ski base in Les Angles, we retraced our steps back in the direction of Prades, this time with the intention of exploring  the Languedouc-Roussillon region more thoroughly.  We had always harboured dreams of buying a small place in France, and if we finally do, this particular region would […]
Argelès-sur-Mer and the Pyrenees Jan 22, 2017 -   Day 1- Saint André Arriving back into France from the beautiful Costa Brava, we settled quickly into our village aire in the small town of Saint André.  Really no more than a shared car-park on a quiet street, it was still quaintly comfortable and inviting, and somehow very French; we were happy to linger […]
The Costa Brava Jan 11, 2017 - Day 1 – To Sant Feliu De Guíxols We spent one night in the quiet aire at Quart, near Girona, then decided to drive back to the coast, primarily in search of warmth.  We arrived in Sant Feliu De Guíxols and into what turned out to be a very popular central aire, busy with winter […]
France – West Coast wanderings Sep 24, 2016 - Celles sur Belle Whilst not strictly on the west coast, I wanted to include this stop in our blog as it was a very pretty stopover after Poitiers, on our way to Île de Ré.  An expansive, and at this time practially empty, gravel carpark on the edge of the small village, with free services and […]
Île de Ré Sep 19, 2016 - Crossing the 3km long Pont de Ré to the island, we thought our luck was definitely in – the toll was halved (to €8) only the day before we arrived, and the sky was looking blue and only lightly cloudy, so unlike the gloomy forecast we feared that stated storms were due. First impressions of […]
Poitiers – Northampton’s twin Sep 16, 2016 - As Northampton, our ex-home town, is twinned with Poitiers, we decided that being in the general area it was essential for us to visit the town. Although about 45 minutes in the opposite direction to our planned route, what have we got if not time to spare?  So off we went to Poitiers. We drove […]
French friends and fine food Sep 15, 2016 - With our tiny fridge bulging with tempting English cheddar cheese and large packs of bacon, our next stop was to deliver these goodies, and others, from (Nicky’s) Mum to her former French neighbours and friends from when she lived in the Mayenne region some years ago. After a quick explore of Chateau Gontier and a […]
Northern France – The First Five Days Sep 11, 2016 - Day 1 Rolling off the ferry in the port town of Dieppe sandwiched between a convoy of commercial lorries made Benny feel much smaller than usual. It was late at night and we were both tired from the long drive south. With less than a kilometre to drive until our first overnight aire, our inaugural […]