France. November / December 2016.

We spent 12 days in France in November and then returned in the middle of December and spent Christmas in the South of France before carrying on to Spain.

We mostly used ' Camping-Car Aires' which are areas in towns/villages where motorhomes can park overnight. Some are free, some charge if you want water or electric, others charge for stopping overnight. There's a book which lists all the Aires and some Apps that can be downloaded.

We know France quite well as, for 20 years, our summer holidays were spent touring France on a motorbike, staying at campsites. When the ground started getting too hard we bought a camper-van - an Autosleeper Duetto - which we had for 10 years prior to our retirement and we travelled to several European countries. We're most comfortable in France because we both speak enough French to get by!

One reason for our November trip was to try and make contact with our friend Jean-Paul (he lives near Chalon-sur-Saone) who Kevin used to work with on tripartite exchanges. We avoided using the autoroutes, moving on each day and enjoying travelling slowly through the countryside.

We did meet up with Jean-Paul and he took us along to his local 'Cave' where we tasted some of the wines - a bought a few bottles of course!

November route:

We sailed on the ferry from Dover to Calais with DFS. On both trips there weren't many passengers so we were able to find a quiet corner for the 2 hour journey.

Chateau Thierry. We stayed here for a couple of days and were able to walk into the town alongside the river.

In Autun we visited the Roman Amphitheatre.

The River Rhone, next to the camspite in Tournons.

Dole has an old town with narrow cobbled streets and a large cathedral.

 

The River Meuse, near the Aire in Maxy-sur-Meuse.

Our first stop in December was in Long, a village next to the River Somme.

The Aire at Turenne has a lovely view of the Chateau and old town.

December route.

Once again we only used toll free autoroutes, apart from driving over the Millau bridge, and stayed at Aires each night. Only 1 of the Aires had electric so we were using the gas for heating, which we found to be very effieient despite the cold nights. However we did find that the 2 leisure batteries had most of the charge used overnight. This was fine while we were travelling each day but become more of a problem once we were in the South of France and didn't want to drive long distances each day.

The Millau Bridge was constructed to avoid the necessity of all traffic having to drive down into the valley, through the town and then back up the other side. It was completed in 2004 and is a beautiful bridge. We crossed it about 10 years ago but at that time you were not able to stop on the bridge. Now there's a visitor's centre so we decided that we'd like to go there.

At midday there was still plenty of mist in the valley. This photo was taken from the viewpoint which you can walk up to from the VIsitor's Centre.

After crossing the bridge we drove down into Millau by which time the mist had cleared so we had a good view of the bridge.

We were lucky enough to spend the night in Millau when they had their Christmas Parade through the centre of town. It lasted for an hour and must have involved well over 200 participants in costumes and all choreographed. Very enjoyable.

We spent the next week in the South of France, most of the time in Villeneueve- les-Maguelone, to the south-west of Montpellier as we found an Aire with electric for 9 Euros a night. We were able to walk or cycle into the town for shopping and used the cycle routes around the nearby Etang to visit the local area.

In the middle of the lake is the Cathedral de Maguelone.

The Canal du Rhone a Sete runs through the lakes.

There were lots of flamingoes on the lakes.

On a couple of occassions we cycled to Pavelas-les-Flots, the harbour...

On Christmas Eve Kevin noticed a screw in the front tyre. We ended up calling out the UK breakdown sevice who arrived within a couple of hours and sorted it outbefore it became a blow out.

... and the beach.

Lunch on Christmas Day. This was the first time that it was warm enough to sit outside.

We stopped at an 'Aire' just outside the walled town of Aigue Mortes and spent the afternoon strolling through the narrow streets and outside the walls. You can walk all the way around the top of the walls but we didn't as we've done it before and thought it was rather expensive at 7.50 euros each.

We visited the Roman aquaduct at Pond du Gard. Very impressive. It was part of a 60 km canal which took water to the Roman town of Nimes.

The top tier carried the canal. You can walk across on the first tier.

The view from the aquaduct.

Our final stop was at Istres. We wandered up through the narrrow steets of the old town until we got to the church at the top. Below is the view from outside the church.

 

 

 

 

 


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