Edit Blog Post
Published: August 5th 2013
Our first view of Mont Blanc
We loved the holiday to Austria two years ago so much that we decided we would do something very similar (albeit not exactly the same) for our holiday this year. We picked another winter ski resort, this time Chamonix in the French Alps, and set about driving there again, this time directly with no overnight stop-overs. That way we have the freedom to do what we like and, after the Ryan Air experience for the Morocco holiday (We Managed to Get There Without Any Extra Charges
), we don't have to worry about luggage limits, bag sizes, bag quantities and all the grief.
We had a roof-box delivered the day before and we then spent the evening filling and filling it some more, and then a bit more just to make sure we had everything we might need and a good load more that we almost certainly won't need. As we were arriving on a Sunday, we also remembered the experience of Austria, where we arrived and the whole country was closed (It’s Sunday and Austria is Closed
). We therefore packed some food so we wouldn't go hungry if that happened again this time.
The ferry across was the same experience as other times we had used it. We had looked at taking the tunnel, but it was more expensive and has got to be better than being cooped-up in a box for the crossing.
As an unexpected bonus, we were given two £10 vouchers to spend in the shops on the ferry as we checked in. And these were not those "save £10 when you spend over £100" type deals - there was no minimum spend and no catches. My wife and I used one towards the covers that need to go on the car headlights (as we are going to be driving on the other side of the road) and the kids used to other one to buy a rather large quantity of chocolate, which was unlikely to last until we got to Chamonix.
The roads were full of British cars, but they gradually started to disperse, the further we got from Calais. As we remembered from the drive last time (The French Roads Were Quick and Empty But at a Price
), the motorways are a lot quieter than those in Britain, although there are the tolls to worry about. In all it cost about €80. It wouldn't take much driving in France before the British road tax seems like quite a bargain in comparison.
As well as the services, which are similar to those in Britain (although I can't see the French tolerating the kind of food that we get at motorway services), there are also a lot of little rest areas, with just some parking, toilets and picnic benches. Ideal for us, since we had brought some food with us.
We needed to fill-up a lot sooner than expected, probably due to the drag of the roof-box and the weight of all the stuff we had brought with us.
The surroundings gradually changed, going from flat and dry to hill and wooded to mountainous and lush. As we were getting close to Chamonix, there was a place to pull over and checkout the view of Mont Blanc. Some compulsory photos were required.
We had a bit of a shock when we arrived at the apartments. Our parking space is in an underground car park and it was immediately obvious that the entrance was lower than we had been told and there was absolutely no way that we were going to get in there with the roof-box. We unloaded in the street and then had to find somewhere else to park - luckily not too far away. Hopefully the car will not get towed-away in the night.
There is a fantastic view of Mont Blanc from the apartment balcony, so those earlier photos are now obsolete. As it was late however, we needed to get straight out for something to eat before everywhere started to close.
Tot: 0.204s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 25; qc: 86; dbt: 0.1255s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (10.17.0.13); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb