Climb every mountain… in the French Alps

Lunch in the French Alps. An enormous roquefort and walnut salad. Sadly no wine as I’m en route to Monte Carlo.

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I love food.

It’s been a difficult couple of days, widow wise. When I’m not on the road I have time to think and time to miss. So I check in with friends, feel the love and pick myself up by my bra straps…

I went sailing past the Furnicular railway at Saint Helene-du-Touvet, on my way to Monaco. I was half an hour off  my route. I seriously contemplated giving Mont Blanc a miss, feeling tired and a bit deflated. Then I remembered that I probably wont get another chance in the next few years to come back. I shouted at myself, turned up Clapton’s Layla, reset the sat nav (obviously, I was looking for a little village, not a bloody town). And I’m so glad that I did…

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Hmmm. Yup. I really am going up the side of that mountain in a rickety carriage…
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At the top of the mountain was a fine little inn where I sampled a (small) beer and lots of cheese 🙂

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Moral of this holiday…. keep going. Even when you think you’ve had enough, just push on. The results are usually worth it 🙂

I rode the furnicular railway withsome trepidation. I’ve not got a particularly good head for heights, and this railway is practically vertical. It’s a half an hour ride on a rickety (although I told, safe) truck with windows…. thats the only way that I can describe it.

The little single gauge carriage rattled and clanked its way slowly up the side of the mountain. Mont Blanc hover into view, in all her majesty. We passed waterfalls and streams gushing down the mountain sides. No Eidelweiss but maybe it’s the wrong time of the year

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It was as rickety as it looks, but great fun!
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A world away from reality…and I liked it…

This region of France probably has more in common with it’s Swiss, German and Italian cousins, than its distant relatives in Paris. The people look different – definitely the darker Italian types around here.

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Hang gliders leap off the top of mountains surrounding Mont Blanc…one day I might join them…
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Definitely more Swiss than French. At the top of the mountain…

I chose the day well. Hot and sunny with a little mist and cloud grazing the top of the mountains.  I was glad I had taken the detour. Another part of France which is so completely different to other regions.

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In France and wishing I could get that Bonnie Tyler song out of my head…

french road tour map

Why a French road trip?

Well, first and foremost, I wasn’t planning on doing this road trip at all. I inadvertently ended up with a return ferry ticket for myself and my Mini, and had shelled out too much to cancel/change the details. So, Newhaven – Dieppe was my destination, whether I liked it or not.

I decided to take the opportunity to do another of many firsts since Mr T left me…take a ferry from my fair isle, cross the channel and drive around a country. Since I had some spare time, and a spare ticket for France, it seemed logical. 

Except… in theory, yes, why not? Just mosey on down to the south coast of England, starting at 3.30am in order to catch a boat (do we catch boats?) in some torrential rainstorms following a heatwave. (Ok, we’re talking the UK here, so in reality we had some heavy rain after two quite warm and sunny days). Drive through France from  Amiens in the north to  the French Riviera in the south, via the French Alps (no snow at this time of year but some dodgy hill starts might still be the order of the day at some point),  in a car whose steering wheel is on the wrong side, on the wrong side of the road. Without anyone being there to back seat drive for me (sometimes this can be useful), or see around lorries/tractors/blind bends when attempting to turn right. For 3 weeks. By myself. Using another language. Extremely badly. What could possibly go wrong?