We've just arrived home after eleven days driving through France.
When we were planning our trip, D was quite desperate to include a couple of days in the Alps. He loves to ski and has been there on numerous occasions but never in the summertime.
We stayed at a beautiful hotel in Les Arcs 1800 which had breathtaking views of the mountains, including Mont Blanc.
We pottered down into the resort in the evening.
Word of caution - if you're ever offered a constant flow of Juniper-flavoured drinks from a friendly restaurant owner with twinkling eyes, please say "no"! Silly D.
However, a trip in a clanking cable car is the best hangover cure.
Volonne, in Provence, was our next stop, where we camped for four days.
The campsite was perched right on the edge of the River Durance.
I loved the small medieval town of Volonne. Apparently Napoleon passed through in 1815 and stopped for a wee on his way to Sisteron! There's a war memorial in the centre, from which the narrow haphazard streets all spread like tendrils.
We sat in a small cafe where four local men were playing cards, gesticulating wildly, chain-smoking and drinking Pastis at 11 o'clock in the morning. I could have stayed there all day watching them if it wasn't so stiflingly hot.
One of my favourite things about camping is the alfresco eating.
I've come back with a new found love for spicy Merguez sausages and an addiction to salty samphire!
Our final destination and my absolute favourite was the south coast, on the French Riviera. We stayed in a small chalet on a campsite in Port Grimaud, a short walk from the beach. With temperatures of more than 35 degrees almost every day, the sea breeze was such a massive relief I can tell you.
The Blondies happily helped me scout for sea glass.
The town of Port Grimaud is often referred to as 'Little Venice'; it's a network of waterways lined with pastel-coloured fishermen's cottages, each with their own boat mooring. We fell madly in love with the place.
We took a short boat trip around the waterways which was wonderful. It being early evening, a lot of the residents were sitting on their tiny terraces with a glass of wine, doors thrown wide open, waving to passing boats.
When we win the lottery(!), the very first thing we'll do is to buy one of these cottages!
Port Grimaud is only a short ferry trip from Saint Tropez. We went there one evening but, frankly, it wasn't for me at all. I found it dirty and showy and quite suffocating. I wasn't inspired to take a single photograph and was quite glad to leave.
One of my favourite meals was one of our last, just here, in a restaurant in Port Grimaud, under a bridge, right by the water's edge.
We completed the drive from Port Grimaud back home in about 15 hours.
Before we set off on our holiday, we each had a guess at how many miles we'd travel. We all fell way short of the total which was 2099! Seriously. It was a loooong drive, albeit broken up into large chunks. I'm not sure if I personally could do it again. However, I adored the time with my precious family and driving really is the best way to see a country. I mean REALLY see it.
Oh it's so good to be home though!