Index for this trip HERE
|Parking (see Wild if overnight stop)
|Essentials (laundry, household, repairs)
|Aires (or equiv)
|Camping Cheque Site
54 days away, 2850 miles, 32€ (£28.50) per day
If we use one word for this trip, it is “hot”! Despite going to the Sahara earlier this year, plus many days away, this is the first trip we’ve been hitting 35-40’C in the shade for a large part of the middle and end of the trip. Bit of a change from when we arrived in the Alps in July as we had to have the heating on and the top of the mountain was bitter!
The mountain biking, and Valloire, was superb – really 10/10. We could have had more practice and time there and when we left we still had runs to try and were not bored. We only left as we were under timescales to get back to UK for a contract that was subsequently delayed! DOH!
Our trip to the rest of France was aiming to take us to new places. We did see loads of nice and interesting things, but we have to say there are far too many people and motorhomers about. Not as many as we expected in some places, but in others there was no quiet place to hide – just loads of big white vans. I think our preference for the future is to go just off peak season.
We are still very keen to visit the Normandy beaches and to learn more about the wars and how they made Europe the way it is; and we’re also keen to see some of the vineyards – but these will be left for future visits.
On this trip we’ve probably had more time on the beach chilling than any other which has been a surprise – as well as the cause of the main injury of our trips so far (my toe!).
France does have some very good and special places, and we do like a lot of the place and we still have a lot to see. We will return to some of our favourite places again, but it is probably fair to say we’ve still not fallen in love with France as a whole. Far too much “samey” bits around, and a lot of low quality and boring bits, and it does become tedious looking at town after town of badly rendered blockwork in disrepair with 50+ year old paint/adverts… Needs a bit of a refresh!
That said, we’ve spent more time in France in 2011 than anywhere else and we have had a very good time – mainly down to Valloire and the boarding and biking Alps as well as some good beach time.
Due to it being busier than normal, we’ve become glad we’re small and grey. There are far too many big white vans in France in the summer with horrendous driving standards (we’ve almost been hit when parked a couple of times) – and the hygiene around aires makes us glad we disinfect everything before we start! Though I did smirk after a guy rinsed his loo cassette on the “fresh” tap, then his wife filled up her water bottles from the tap a minute or so later without cleaning it.
Its hard to give an overall mark for the trip, as the biking was superb, a couple of the beaches and environment were great, but there were chunks of non-excitement inbetween. Probably 7/10 overall, but 9.5/10 and 10/10 in places.