2 August 2013

Tour Of France

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!


xxx

19 comments:

  1. What a fantastic road trip you all had! I have only been to France a couple of times, but really enjoyed it.

    Helenxx

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  2. Oh! Thank you so much. Those wonderful photos have truly brightened my day

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  3. I am tres tres jealous Heather! Your pictures transported there, so thank you for that. The riverside restaurant looks divine, and the cottages oh my, and all the scenery you captured so beautifully, so breathtaking. What an epic road trip, but worth it for all the lovely memories you've now created. Welcome home x

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  4. Welcome home Heather! :D Oh you lucky girl! Your trip looked and sounded soooo nice. I haven't been on a vacation in years...I can't even remember what it's like to be on vacation! Your pictures are lovely, and your little girl is just adorable! Have a fun weekend recuperating from all that faraway fun! xo Paulette

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  5. Wow what a bloody lot of miles!!! Gorgeous photos x your daughter looks very much like you H. Love your sea glass collection <3

    xxxxxx

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing your spectacular pictures.
    irene
    xxxx

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  7. Beautiful, beautiful pictures. Holidays are lovely aren't they, but coming home at the end is just as lovely x
    Kate

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  8. Gosh what a stunning holiday, all looks superb! :) x

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  9. What a wonderful holiday you've had. We adore France and hope to go back one day. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos.
    Anne xx

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  10. So glad to see your holiday photos, and it sounds like you had a magical time! :)

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  11. Hi There, What an amazing holiday!!!!A dream holiday!!!You're so lucky!!!Hope you are fully rested and relaxed!!!Have a great weekend!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  12. Such wonderful photos, it looks like an amazing holiday, Heather!
    Helen x

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  13. It looks so good. Your photos totally capture France and it sounds like you had a wonderful time. And wow, you drove a lot! We're going toFrance in a few weeks and your photos have made me really excited. x

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  14. What a lovely holiday ! I wish I was there now :-)

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  15. Your holiday photos are gorgeous. We holidayed in France last year and your photos have reminded me what a lovely place it is.
    M x

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  16. Goodness, you did drive far didn't you?! It looks fabulous though, you have some gorgeous, gorgeous pics. Hubs wants to drive right down to the South but I'm not sure I'm ready to be in the car quite that long. Almost La Rochelle was far enough for me!! Glad you had a lovely time though :)

    S x

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  17. That sounds like a very nice trip Heather!
    We have family in the Alps, near Grenoble and it is certainly a beautiful area.
    Love the sea glass you found!!!
    Am back from Spain for a quiet study time at home before I go back there again to pick the kids up from my parent's. It is odd not to have the kids around but lovely to have a bit of time with the hubby at home in London.
    Glad you enjoyed your holidays!
    Pati x

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  18. It looks like the perfect holiday! And what wonderful, but also wonderfully different places, Volonne and Port Grimaud look to be. Green with envy here ... I could so use a holiday just now, although that heat would have been too much for me.

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  19. Wonderful...sigh! It looks like you had a wonderful holiday, as all holidays in France are to my mind!
    Over the past 20 odd years we've driven all over France too, down to the South many times with our daughter (her first taste of France was at 11 months old), and we love it.Long drives but so worth it.
    What could be more perfect than enjoying a meal overlooking water, on a hot sultry, scented evening in the South of France can you?
    Thank for sharing a taste of your lovely holiday.
    Gill xx

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