352 – 355: The Long SLOW Road Home – Part 1

352 – Thursday 7th April 2016:  The Long Road Home

We are now on our journey north – home.  We are booked in for catching up with friends and family, as well as maintenance work on Chardonnay and us!

We decided to avoid EXPENSIVE French motorways and enjoy the cross country route … and we sure are.  Other than a circuit of Grasse where we initially missed a sign post and then a following the said signpost, ended up down a road that banned motorhomes as being too narrow … actually no problem.  Guess they were concerned in high season when every other vehicle may be wide.  But a minor panic moment, as I consulted Maps.Me on the iPad and could not see an alternative route, even had we been able to do a 13 point turn!

I had completely forgotten how stunning parts of Provence are – the mountains through Dignes les Bains, Sisteron and up to Grenoble demand a re-visit. Great rocky peaks and gorges … hiking country.  Pix taken on the hoof …

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A chapel atop!

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A geologists deam.

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I thought the cloud looked like the Pillsbury Dough Man climbing over the hills!

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You can just make out the tendrils of snow!

We stopped at a small town called Laragne-Monteglin – pretty with mountains in the hinterland.  An evening wander and I bought a French book.  I had eye balled a book some days ago on the bus  (leaning over my neighbour’s shoulder) and understood most of it so thought a similar book would help my French.  On seeing a book shop I entered and requested something well written, current language and no technical words.  The owner embraced my request and gave me a local Provence writer – however, I have had to download a French English dictionary … perhaps too well written.  I have promised to let the book shop seller know how I get on with it.

Pitch was flat and safe with other motorhomes, toilet emptying but water replenishing switched off!

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353 – Friday 8th April 2016:  Driving on

A run along the back roads of Laragne-Monteglin, followed by Pilates (in the car park!):

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Fruit growing territory 

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Spring blossoms.  A lot of Forsythia and the hills in the background.  Our run was along the flat valley 🙂

Another biggish driving day and we stopped at an free aire in Cuiseaux – a little north of Bourg en Bresse (spotted the cathedral multi coloured roof as we drove past).  A notice declared the free electric was low ampage and not for heating, just lights.  We tested it at the risk of having no electric as the fuse box was locked … no worries … heating, cooker, lights all on.  Thank you Cuiseaux.

354 – Saturday 9th April 2016:  Grr Wifi and Aah Dole!

A circular run past the sawmill (la scierie) and the very smart and gated abattoir – a perfect 4km.  I left J to the washing up and ventured to the tabac to purchase a wifi top up.  The assistant kindly agreed to telephone to validate the purchase … the recorded instructions spoke to fast for me in Antibes and the shop assistant there had validated for me too.  Code validated, but a technical error.  Need to ring to sort out.  Not possible on my English phone though, so the lovely lady rang on the tabac phone … 20 mins later (J had washed up and made Chardonnay moving off ready), it was established she had sold me credit for voice not just data.  I know damn well I’d asked for seulement data, pas d’appel; c’est pour un domino!  GRRR!

We had identified two aires in Dole:  one noisy, no services but central and the other further away but with services and a river side view.  Who minds a shortish walk!?  Gypsies on site all cabled up together with large dogs, but they seemed harmless and there were other vans there.  After lunch we walked into town.


Waterside pitch.  All the other motorhomes were huddled in the bus car park … not sure why when we had the sound of the weir and the view!  People sculling in the morning.

Dole is on the river Doubs, which runs through the centre.  Gray slate roofs over mellow amber stonework.  And the birth place of Louis Pasteur.  His father was a tanner with a shop near the river:  you can peer through and see the works.  M. Pasteur even returned in old age and placed a plaque on the wall.


On the outskirts.  Every Italian town or village has a Piazza Garibaldi … can’t seem to get away from him!  Not sure what he was doing here.





Louis Pasteur birth house.


In search of free wifi, we even forced ourselves to stop at a bar ….. J consumed a couple of pleasant Cotes de Rhone, and I quaffed stirling Macon 🙂  And only EUR3 per glass.  Bonus.  Used to paying EUR4 in Italy, but you do get a load of nibbles there.  We miss them, but perhaps better for our calorie intake!

355 – Sunday 10th April 2016:  Troyes Joy

We both ran … short: K as she also did a Pilates session, but J short as he has a twinge in his calf again :(.  Just hope this will not keep him off running.

A short drive up to Troyes.  Scenery is getting more interesting … it had gotten a bit flat – industrial sized fields.  Some pretty villages along the Seine.  We are parked up in a large car park, no services, but only a short walk to the old town.  The guide book describes Troyes as:

“Troyes is a delight, a city of magnificent Gothic churches and charming C16th courtyards … The city is famous for its heritage of stained glass and sausages (andouillettes), its knitwear industry and factory shops.”

Well, we saw a number of churches, but the cathedral was about to start a service so we could not fully appreciate the stained glass.  Lots of wooden leaning and overhanging buildings.  No sausages!  But we saw factory outlet shops on the drive in, including a McArthur Glen sign!  A really large old town centre and well worth the stop.


Fish scale wooden tiles.


Eglise St Pantaleon: exterior.


Eglise St Pantaleon: interior.  A really different quirky feel to it … wooden roof, statues, unusual stained glass.


Eglise St Pantaleon: quirky!


Eglise St Pantaleon: and more quirky!


Not camera tilt … these wooden houses are supported by stone bookend buildings.


Part of the finely restored St Peter and Paul Cathedral.


Haven’t seen many language faux pas recently!  I’m booking in!


Glorious sunshine.  A lovely town.  End of the day and my new favourite Beer!

My Aged P’s are nearly always away and have travelled extensively.  I’ve never met anyone else who has visited all bar one of the states of the USA.  Usually when I say I am visiting a place, I get the response that I have already been there as a child with them …. this is the email correspondence – start at the bottom!  They are in France.  Can we NOT do anything first?

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And finally a joyful Jade reunited with her duck (replacement one)

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