Road Trip Around France for 3 Weeks
Paris is often a gateway to Europe for us. When travelling trans-Altantic, we often decide to splurge on business class. Booking longer and longer trips, I figure I can amortize the cost over a greater number of days! Flying business class lets us avoid the lines, gets us better food and drink and lets me relax on the plane. I am one of those people who can’t sleep on planes so at least I can stretch out and be comfortable. I could probably put David in cattle class behind me as he can sleep anywhere but it is more fun to enjoy a splurge with David.
Entering the business class cabin we found a regular seat configuration (not pods) and we played with the controls like children to see all the gadgets and adjustments we had. When we were all settled in the front row, we were unpleasantly surprised to be told we needed to move – still together but at the back of the business class section. It was only later that we found out that we were bumped to accommodate France’s First Lady and her hunky traveling partner but no cadre of close security. Since she slept the entire trip and ended up with people passing to the bathroom all the time, I am not really sure why the seat change was necessary.
It was a very enjoyable flight in business class. The seat reclined to a full sleeping position and I was nodding off before my movie was over. The seat on the Boing 777 was wide enough to let me sleep on my side. With about 2.5 hours sleep, I ended up much more rested than I normally would be when crowded into a regular seat. Deplaning first, we were pleasantly surprised to find priority customs lines and given the very long lines, this was almost worth the price of the upgrade and a definite benefit of flying Air France!
We were in France for 3 weeks and what better place to start than Paris!
Paris As Our Gateway To France
David and I have both visited Paris on many occasions. This trip to Paris we planned to visit some new spots and a few hold favourites.
On our morning to leave Paris, we got up and were ready to depart at 9am for a long travel day. After walking around Paris for days, I was ready for the indulgence of a cab for the quick hop to the Gare du Lyon. But I was shamed into the “short” walk, hauling our bags. This would be the first of the wrong decisions for the day. It took us forever to find the Hertz desk (next door to the train station), get the car and depart the station. The cars were parked on lower level 4 in a parking garage giving me my first driving test with my rusty standard skills.
We debated on the two routes out of town (N6 or N19), finally starting on N6. It took us awhile to get turned in the right direction on N6 and a few u-turns to keep on the route. But then we second guessed ourselves when we saw a sign for N19. After another quick u-turn we headed off – to be defeated by “deviations” (for construction) which turned us back around the same intersection 3 times. When we realized we were going in the wrong direction we finally asked for directions to get back on track. It was now past noon and we were still trying to get out of Paris!
Annecy In The Mountains
We finally hit the autoroute and got headed in the direction of Annecy. While we had originally planned to stop in Lyon for lunch, our long delay getting out of Paris left us little time for sightseeing along the way.
Once we finally navigated into Annecy, we found it to be a delightful town full of picturesque canals set against the backdrop of the mountains.
We had only planned one day in Annecy on this trip to France for 3 weeks. We would certainly return to explore more of Annecy and this region close to the Swiss border.
Exploring the French Riviera From Nice
Our trip from Annecy to Nice took us through the French Alps. It was a slow but scenic drive.
Using Nice as our home base when in France for 3 weeks, we drove the hill hugging roads and explored the town of Nice and did several day trips along the Mediterranean coast both east (Monaco) and west (Cannes).
On our trip to Avignon, we detoured to return to the mountains and tested our driving skills through the Verdun Gorge.
Avignon was used as a home base for our trip to France for 3 weeks. We could explore the beauty of the old town including the Papal Palace and the iconic Pont d’Avignon.
Marseille was a long day trip from Avignon but we did manage to get all the way to the top of beautiful Notre Dame church.
Staying in French Wine Country
From Avignon we did a small detour not to miss the famed Pont du Gard. This well preserved Roman aqueduct was quite amazing and a good setting for many dozen pictures.
On our way once again, we headed for the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region. We were lucky to be there at wine harvesting season. This was a part of France that I had visited many times and I enjoyed sharing the sights with David. This would close off our trip to France for 3 weeks!
Our final travel day dawned cloudy and rainy. Perhaps a good way to finish our visit in France for 3 weeks.
The trip from Toulouse to Paris and home was largely uneventful. The on and off entertainment system tried our patience since it was a day flight and we weren’t trying to sleep. We did however finally finish the novels we started the day we left Toronto.
We got home and unpacked. We had again used our tried and true method to counter jet lag, so we were somewhat perky until 8pm. The first morning we were up 4ish but we settled back to Toronto time quite quickly – especially given how hard I find travelling west.
Au revoir France! Until we return next time.
What was your road trip plan for France? Did we miss anything you would do in France for 3 weeks?