Descending down the French side of the Pyrenees (pictured above) was certainly a picturesque drive despite the intermittent showers, and we soon made our way to Carcassonne.
This large town has a very well preserved medieval chateau & ‘old city’ and is only about 10 minutes drive from Marseillette where Jason lives. He had arranged to meet us there upon our arrival and the central plaza was lined with restaurants serving the local specialty, Duck Cassoulet, a rich, slow-cooked casserole with white beans.
The following day Jason took us for a drive to the coastal town of Narbonne where, as usual, the cathedral was the main attraction.
Saying ‘au revoir’ to Jason we headed north through several national parks and stunning scenery. For something different we visited a Roquefort cheese factory and came away with some great lunch ingredients.
Further north to Millau we came upon one of the greatest modern engineering achievements in the world, the Millau Viaduct, please click the link if you wish to find out more about this magnificent structure.
Now travelling east towards the mediterranean coast again we stopped at Pont du Gard where the site of this Roman aqueduct also contains pre-historic cave paintings and river beaches.
At nearby Avignon I once again learnt something I hadn’t known before when we visited the Papal palace where the Papacy had resided from 1309 to 1377.
Hitting the Côte d’Azur at the southern end we drove to over-crowded St Tropez but found a wonderful €8-a-night campsite 50m from a wonderful sandy beach down the road at Pampelonne. We didn’t take any pictures here as various sections of this great beach were taken over by nude grey nomads and it was all we could do to walk along without giggling, pointing or throwing up.
After a few days of sunning & swimming we headed up the riviera and bypassed Cannes and based ourselves in Antibes. From here we day tripped by public transport to Nice and Monte-Carlo.
Eventually the lifestyle of the rich & famous became boring so we mapped a route that would take us along the scenic but dangerous corniche and then north into the alps following the border.
However due to a road construction we had to take an unplanned detour into Italy where we spent 1 night before crossing back into France and arriving at Briançon.
The drive from Briançon to Chambery took us through some of the most breath-taking scenery I have ever seen. Unfortunately there are no images of this as I was white-knuckled and in 2nd gear for most of this and Debbie was whiter than a Ukrainian separatist while leaving claw marks in the upholstery & dashboard. So I thought I would wait until we reached the summit before taking any photos but as you can see below by the time that happened we were in a white-out.
The thick cloud & rain followed us from Chambery to Annecy and so we have now camped at the beautiful nearby lake to wait out the weather before proceeding to Chamonix and Mt Blanc. Weather sites tell us this should only be a few days and so we have spent the last 2 days in a gilded (wet) cage catching up on chores and for the first time this trip, the blog is up-to-date.