Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Uk vs France - a trip report with comments & comparisons

Ok, we're back from a 3 week trip to the Uk. We all enjoyed ourselves, dog included, but we're glad to be home & glad we live in France. It didn't hurt that we came back to fantastic weather, sun & 60's for the past week. Here's the report with a few asides.

Its a long way from Parisot to Calais; 935 kilometers roughly (about 600 miles). Fortunately its almost all autoroute. We cruise along at 130 kmph taking turns driving, the dog sleeps except when we make our fairly frequent 'rest' stops for him. (A comment why can't other countries have as many nice parklike rest stops along their autoroutes? France is terrific for this both the stops with gas & food & the stops with just restrooms & a place to streach your legs. Finding a place to stop so the poor dog can do his stuff is a hassle in the UK!) We pass through beautiful countryside, the Dordogne, Limosin, Cahors, hilly & green with cows, sheep & fields. As we approach Chateauroux the countryside begins to flatten and we see huge fields of grain. You begin to understand the rich agricultural heritage of France as you take these long drives.
We reach Paris. Fortunately, I know Paris fairly well & we have a good quick route through. Head for porte St Cloud via Orsay & Sevres, hit the peripherique & go West via porte Maillot then onto the A1 towards the airport. Piece of cake. Except, this time we missed our turn for the D104 which would take us over to the A16. Much wandering ensued, but 1 hour & numerous sets of directions from friendly locals got us to the autoroute.
We then had a nice run up the autoroute to our hotel which was named "The Auberge De La Dune" We'd chosen it because it looked very close the beaches & our plan was to give Rupert a good run in the moring before the tunnel & long trip. WRONG! It turned out to be at least 6 km to the nearest beach & that one had NO DOGS signs all over the place. He ran anyway as it was very early in the morning & nobody was around. We almost didn't get in the hotel to begin with. When she made the booking Linda had told the owner that our dog was a canishe royal (standard poodle). When we arrived Madame freaked out; she somehow hadn't realized the Ruperet is big! He weighs about 80 pounds. With some sweet talking we got in & were put into the handicapped room, not great, but Ok. The dinner was nice, not great, but perfectly acceptable.

On to England in the next installment.

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