2006 was a great year for holidays and we managed to go to France 4 times. At Easter we went to La Rochelle for a spot of indulgence and sunshine. It's that sort of place. Very touristy but nice. Lots of shops, cafes, restaurants, boats, the harbour, a good aquarium, a fishing museum and a craft market on Easter Sunday. With all of that and reliable sunshine, what's not to love? And not far away is the Isle de Re and the lovely little town of St Martin, with more shops, restaurants..........
However, a few glances in estate agents windows confirmed that property was probably too expensive for us in that area.
Nick showing how cool you can look standing next to a wastebin in St Martin harbour
After Easter I bumped into my friend Bev who had bought a house in the Auvergne several years ago. I had seen photos and it was barely habitable when she and her partner, John, got it and they were slowly doing it up. I asked her if they had finished it yet.
Food for thought no.1: "Good grief no - if we do that people will want to visit us or stay in it."
The conversation continued and she dropped in this:
Food for thought no.2: "All my work colleagues are busy worrying about what they're doing for their holidays and we just know where we're going. Why would we want to go anywhere else?"
A bit later she said;
Food for thought no.3: "Of course, we're not tied to the place, we do sometimes do something else for a change."
That evening, I recounted our meeting to Nick and thought I heard a little penny drop somewhere.
The next trip in June started with the War Graves visit. On our way to Pete & Cyn's we stayed at Millau so we could take a look at this.
Millau is a lovely old town and we used the same hotel as on our previous visit about 10 years before. The bridge wasn't there then but the hotel still had the same woolly wallpaper -just a few more layers of cobwebs. The motorcycle parking was especially scary too. A ludicrously steep ramp and a tight turn into a very cramped and crowded sou-sol.
All of our trips to France seem to involve staying in hotels with woolly wallpaper, scary plumbing and dodgy electrics, not to mention the interesting parking arrangements for motorcycles. Adds to the ambience, I suppose.
From Millau we went to Carcassone and spent two nights there. This was the view from our hotel room:
We enjoyed Carcassonne very much. Some of the newer bit seemed a bit down-at-heel but the old town was charming. Important, though to get there before 11.00 am. That's when the coachloads of tourists arrive and swamp the place.
Not many tourists here yet.
Not many here, either.
More food for thought to follow....