Paris to Provins

Provins to Dijon

Dijon to Montbeliard

Montbeliard to Obernai

Obernai to Pont-A-Mousson

Pont-A-Mousson to Epernay

Epernay to Armentieres

Armentieres to Ieper

Ieper to Paris


Paris to Amboise

Amboise to Angers

Angers to Mont St Michel

Mont St Michel to Arromanches

Arromanches to Brezolles

Brezolles to Paris

Paris to Pruzilly

Pruzilly to Chamonix

Chamonix to Cueno, Italy

Cueno to Antibe

Antibe to Cuges Des Pins

Cuges Des Pins to Pont Du Guard

Pont Du Guard to Mende

Mende to Paris

Paris to Auckland via Hong Kong

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Pont du Gard Pont du Gard Pont du Gard Pont du Gard Pont du Gard Jardin de la Fontaine Jardin de la Fontaine

We went to see the Pont du Gard 15 minutes before opening time to get a head start on the rest of the tourists. However while eating our breakfast we were outsmarted by four bus loads of mum’s best friends (Asians) who stormed the cheap attraction. To visit the aqueduct is free, however to visit you have to go through the car park which costs 5 Euros to get in. Even though the Asians had to take photos of themselves standing next to every tree they still managed to beat us by moving those little legs at running pace. The aqueduct was interesting, but obviously for 5 Euro you don’t get a guided tour, so you have to read about the amazing construction technique.

Jardin de la FontaineWe went on to Nimes to see some Roman ruins and gardens which obviously weren’t attractive to Asians as none of them followed us. Jardin de la Fontaine (Garden of the Fountain) The south of France is quite hilly/mountainous countryside compared to the north and we spent a lot of time in gorges.

As a different route home we went via Montpellier because the Williments book said they have a rugby shop that does World Cup T-Shirts. Montpellier also appealed because in the guide book it said that the town is closed to traffic, Montpelierthere is ample out of town parking and a tram that takes you into the city, but those who have spent most of their tour around France sitting on their butts walked. Every other town we go to has driving in the town but no parking. We had tried to find a recommended rugby clothing shop in Marseille but as mentioned tiny streets and campervans don’t go together. We got trapped down a one way street with a furniture truck on one side and a mini skip on the other, leaving a small gap for our oversized van. Neither the truck, half unloaded or the mini skip was going anywhere. We couldn’t back up because a lot of arrogant French had driven right up behind us Montpellierand weren’t moving anything but their hands on the horn and their vocal chords. With Roger’s good driving skills we finally got through unscathed. Montpellier is set up like a bicycle wheel with a hub and many spokes. Down each spoke is shops and cafes of every nationality. In the hub is a very well set up market stall area with food and craft stalls. We found the rugby shop and it was shut, gone to the stadium for the Coupe du Monde (World Cup). MontpellierWe should have got a T-Shirt that said “I ate my way around Montpellier”. Yum, chocolate, Paninis, chips, lollies. I would have had a tub of ice cream with chocolate fish swimming in it but they were sold out. In Montpellier there are hundreds of diners sitting around in outdoor cafes eating and chatting. More emphasis is put on talking than eating, food portions are not increased to compensate for the extra lunch period. Although the French love their food, they appear to love conversation more. The French communicate unlike New Zealanders who scoff and run or teenagers who spend all their time texting. We hardly saw any text mad people in France. On reading up on the French school system it became apparent why the French are the way they are. French college children do not wear uniforms and therefore have freedom of expression, and develop fashion sense and character for themselves. Their school day is not structured and they have large breaks in their longer school day. In this time they congregate and learn to socialise, dine at cafes and unfortunately learn to smoke. At some schools smoking is allowable, it’s a national habit which didn’t appear to be unacceptable. The French consumer just doesn’t do fast food eating or take-aways. I don’t even think you could educate them to, they wouldn’t know what to do with the other hour and half of their lunch break. Why would you want to destroy a culture of socialising and communicating.

Millau ViaductWe then went to Millau which is famous for a big modern Viaduct and then to Mende which is famous for nothing except that the bakery appears to stay open until she sells the last baguette. We bought number 4, only 3 to go. It was so crusty on the outside I imagine if we got mugged it would have made a good club. By going to Mende we missed driving on the world famous Viaduct, bugger, we did see it from a distance and it was very high up.

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