La Grande tour

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 29, 2009

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Flag of France  , Brittany,
Friday, April 17, 2009

I love France, if the Australians wont keep us I will be learning French and buying a stripy jumper and beret for sure. Stereotypes aside it really is everything we hoped, the laid back life style, good food, nice weather its all here. We have had a few short trips in France, I have also been to Paris but provincial France at a slow place has to be the way to get a real taste of this amazing country.

Its totally geared up for camper-vans for starters, we have been here nearly a week and there are loads of spots where for free you can sleep over, get rid of rubbish and waste water as well as get fresh water, thats right for free! The French think nothing of people just using a spare car-park and allowing campervans to stop over wether it be next to a national monument, a small village or even a big city. Even though its early season there are hundreds of big French campers everywhere, the people on the circuit are very friendly, and the sites are kept spotlessly clean.

France is as expected dear at the moment, but thats largely due to the exchange rate for brits, diesel is actually cheeper and we are mainly supermarket shopping and cooking some great food with brilliant local ingredients as well as drinking lots off cheep French table wine!

The roads are easy to drive, the French are really tolerable to other drivers, they can be a bit aggressive in there driving style, but they never loose there temper, after a week of driving on all types of roads I don't think I have heard one car horn used in anger, even after some of my stupid tourist mistakes!

We are in La Rochelle at the moment, we drove along the north coast through Boulogne, Rouen and Le Mont-St. Michelle, where for 8 euros you can park up for the night and watch the sun set over the very romantically French island. Then it was down to the prehistoric site at Carnac, through to Nantes and eventually here.

We have again found another brilliant free spot next the bay at La Rochelle, its a great little seaside town and we have used our bikes to there full potential pottering round the town buying a few previsions in the brilliant spring sun.

The weather has been mixed, from thick fog in the north, to big thunder storms on the west coast, but as we get further south its generally getting better. I don't have many funny travel stories as yet, as luckily its all gone quite well. The van is doing us proud, and living in a van four foot away from each other we haven't yet felt the need to kill, though the sat nav does! Its set to less traffic and no toll roads, while this means we are seeing the real France it has also taken us on some routes which are basically mud roads across fields, the locals don't seem to impressed and I'm worried its going to take us of the edge of a cliff one day soon!

All in all we are having a great time, getting use to being full time travelers and just enjoying the ride. After another day or two here I think we are heading to the dordogne and then further south to the Pyrenees then on to Spain, but there's no rush...
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