Blogs from France, Europe


Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Taninges June 6th 2023

Today was an Alpine mountains and valleys day and it was wonderful. I asked at reception for a touristy map and armed with that and the French road atlas Bob chose a route through the mountains behind us. These are the French Alps leading eventually to Mont Blanc and Chamonix where we visited some years ago but on that occasion approaching from the south side. I had concluded that Mont Blanc, is pretty well due south of us here. We are at the far Eastern end of Thonon-les-Bains at the estuary of the river Dranse. Where it enters the lake there is a wetlands nature reserve and the campsite is located right next to that. The road Bob chose was lovely as the views were superb. Mountains all round and the view of the various peaks ... read more
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Europe » France June 5th 2023

Yesterday we took a breather, relaxing in our peaceful garden cottage the entire day. We both felt the need to recharge our batteries, so to speak, as we enter the home stretch of our 77-day odyssey. Late in the afternoon, we had a very interesting and enjoyable tête-à-tête with our charming hostess, Dominique, as she sat on the back porch of her home. Her English-speaking ability is far better than she's willing to admit, and it soon became clear to us that she is a well-educated, independent and gracious woman who has led a very full and active life. As It turns out, she is 82-years-old, worked as an architect before she retired, while her deceased husband was an artist; in fact, the guest cottage in which we are staying was originally designed and built as ... read more
Dee at the octagonal basin
Peek-a-boo glimpse of the Eiffel Tower
Chris, eat your heart out!

Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Thonon-les-Bains June 5th 2023

Up and away just after 9am and heading due South. Bob had carefully plotted a Tomtom route which very definitely avoided Geneva. Last time we went that direction, heading for France, we accidentally drove through Geneva at 5pm on a Friday and it was Scary. That route also involved some very windy mountainous stretches which we wanted to avoid if we could. We also have the complication of no Swiss Vignette this trip so if we accidentally stray across the border on a motorway it could prove very expensive. No problem and I can report that we arrived safely at our French campsite in Thonon-les-Bains without venturing into Switzerland. We will pop across later in the week in the Smart car but only on local roads. I want to revisit Villeneuve where we stayed in September ... read more
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Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Langres June 4th 2023

Langres is an amazing place. Fully fortified with a wall all the way round and lots of protective towers at intervals round the wall. A super view over the countryside below. It is entirely packed with old buildings. There are some new or at least newly renovated but all in keeping with the look of the place and nothing is over prettified as we find in so many places, like the Alsace and Dordogne tourist towns. Just plain old and interesting. We parked just outside and went in through one of the gates and quickly found ourselves on the ramparts so set off for a walk along them. Some fascinating buildings, all well labelled and in English which is always handy. Everywhere is just so old. Buildings which lean though the doors are straight. We found ... read more
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Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Langres June 3rd 2023

Driving day today and not sure how busy we would find the campsite we were heading for, being Saturday and weekend, so got up at a reasonable time and were on the way before 10am. We were not using any motorways but the road for half the journey was dualed so very few photos were taken. Still in the flat area of France. Very arable agricultural with vast fields spreading out to either side. Pleasant enough and a nice easy drive for Bob but not lending itself to beautiful photos. We passed through very few towns or villages, the road in places seemed quite new so was probably built to bypass. Just hints of church spires and a signpost to a town and the camera was ready to spring into action but quickly back to the ... read more
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Europe » France » Île-de-France June 3rd 2023

I recently wrote about preferring to use rail over planes. Here is the deal in France, though there are many exceptions. But the idea is a good one, in my opinion. In 2021, the French government url= to scrap domestic flights where a direct train journey of less than two-and-a-half hours existed. The move is part of a larger url= law that restricts polluting vehicles, encourages vegetarian meals in schools, and mandates environmental labeling to inform customers of the carbon footprint of their purchases. The European Union also added stipulations that reduced the impact of the law, and ultimately gave its th... read more
Paris train
Dining Car

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Malakoff June 3rd 2023

This morning we embarked on a kind of reconnaissance mission to locate the nearest bus stop from our cottage. Unlike previous visits, when we rented apartments close to the center of the city, this time we are staying in the southwestern outskirts of Paris (in the suburb of Malakoff). Some research revealed that there are two bus lines that would be helpful for us, both of which use the same stop, so we wanted to verify where that bus stop is located. We also needed to purchase some tickets, available from automated dispensing machines inside metro stations, which are valid for both buses and the metro (subway) lines throughout the city. In the past, buses have always been our preferred means of transportation in Paris, and even more so this year because of Dee's reduced mobility; ... read more
62, rue Vincent Moris, Malakoff
Wall mural
Lunch at Brasserie de L'Hotel de Ville

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne June 2nd 2023

I need to add that we are currently at Guingnicourt which is on the river Aisne but the town is not listed so can't select it for location of this blog.. Rather surprised when we woke up this morning. Our drop down bed (comes down from the ceiling to a comfy height so we can get in) is very comfy. Hadn't realised quite how comfy. Woke at 5am with my arthritic shoulder locked up so sorted it out, added a dollop of Voltarol and went back to sleep. Woke at 10am. Nudged Bob awake and he declared it was actually 11am .. as we hadn't got round to adjusting the clock time 😊. Oh well nothing pressing and we had planned a lazy day 😊. Fortunately the baguette and croissant I had ordered at campsite reception ... read more
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Europe » France » Île-de-France » Malakoff June 2nd 2023

Today was our first full day in Paris/Malakoff, and it would turn out to be magnifique! Both of us managed to sleep pretty well last night, considering we were in a strange, new place. We were awake by 6:00 AM, and our tentative plan was to visit the local produce market on the town square, Place du 11 Novembre, that opens for business three days each week. After Dee made eggs, sausage and toast for breakfast (and I downed several cups of Nespresso-brewed coffee!), we were ready to leave the cottage around 11:00 AM. As we were passing thru the corridor of Madame Dominique's house, which we must do to exit the property, we encountered her at the front door. When she discovered that we were heading to the market, she graciously offered to give us ... read more
Malakoff market
Fresh lettuce
Mouth-watering strawberries

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne June 1st 2023

And we were off. A leisurely start on the 31st May as only heading for just outside Dover to our Norlands CL we have stayed a couple of times recently. A pretty boring drive really as British motorways normally are. Lots of stop starts especially on the M25 and all the bunching up of traffic was caused by useless 'problems ahead' signage where, whatever problems there had been, were long gone in every case. Highways England really should get a grip ! As usual stopping for lunch at the services was a challenge and we drove into one and out again as no obvious place to park. We need a drive through spot... reversing back out is not an option with Smart Arse on the back. As usual we ended up squashed between two jugernauts in ... read more
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