Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Our French Sunset

After a magical day in the Camargue, Caroline and I started the drive to England to see our families. It is quite a way, so we split in into 3 parts. The first day we drove from Carcassonne to Orleans, a long 6 hour trip. The second day was from Orleans to Boulogne, a shorter trip but we hoped to stop in Versailles on the way. Then on the third day, we were driving the short hop to Dunkirk, ferrying across the English Channel, and then up to Cheshire which was our first stop.

The old town of Brive, excellently maintained, as so many French towns are.

The beauty of a roadtrip is that during a long drive, you still get to see things as you're going along. Obviously the knowledge you gain of a place is not as detailed as if you just base yourself somewhere, but you get to see many different snapshots. On our trip from Carcassonne to Orleans we had planned a stop in the town of Brive la Gaillarde. Pretty much everything went to plan with the drive, and we were treated to views of the beautiful green hills of the Dordogne and then up through the centre of France to Orleans. Unfortunately we didn't have time to stop in Orleans, but we had to move straight on to the northern coast of France.

Louis XIV on horseback in front of  the Palace of Versailles

Even the gates at Versailles are opulent

We were wary of last drive through France as we were to come quite close to the capital, Paris, which I wasn't particularly happy about driving through. As such we came closer than we thought and were in sight of the Eiffel Tower. However, after some nervous moments we managed to work our way around the Periphique. We stopped for a short break in Versailles to see some of the amazing architecture. Personally, I couldn't stand the crowds at Versailles which was way larger than anything we'd experienced anywhere else along our roadtrip. Queues to get into the Palace at Versailles stretched hundreds of metres, and the coach park was packed. Still, we made the best of it, and went to the quieter Cathedral, and generally strolled around. Once back on the road, it was fairly straightforward as we headed to Normandy.We reached Boulogne in daylight and our hotel was parked right next door to the most amazing patisserie which provided our breakfast the following day. We treated ourselves to a meal out on our last night in France. It was a good time to reminisce about the good and bad times on the roadtrip around France, and to plan the second half of our European break with family in England.

The sun goes down on Boulogne harbour, and on our French roadtrip

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