France and The UK - 2012

 

 

What's covered?

Many of my professional friends will know the name "John Daigle". Gill and I have been trying to get John to visit the UK for some time after we enjoyed a holiday with him in Colorado in 2009. I enlisted the help of his sister and brother-in-law to nag him into submission and this year he agreed to visit us. We then had the idea that he join us at the end of our French holiday so that he could also see some of that country. Thus it was arranged that we pick him up from Geneva Airport just inside the French Swiss border.

Before meeting up with John our journey took us down to Montpellier so that we could visit the mother of my wife's school penfriend, the families have kept on touch for nearly fifty years. After that we went on to my sister-in-law's French cottage before heading on to Annecy, our base for meeting John.

These pictures show our holiday in France and the parts of the UK we were able to show John in the limited time available.

5 September

Our first overnight stop on the way south was near Evreux. Bed and breakfast was at Les Granges - Minelles. The location was lovely but we found that every restaurant in the nearby village closed on Wednesday so we had to head into Evreux for dinner. Breakfast the next morning was french bread and local jams.

6 September

The second overnight stop was in the Clermont Ferrand area at Chateau de Vaulx - Sainte-Agathe which was easy to reach from the A71. The chateau has been in the same family for over 800 years (yes, eight hundred) and is now run by the daughter and son-in-law of the current owners. Martine and Philippe are excellent hosts. Before dinner everyone was shown around and then taken into a lounge for pre-dinner drinks. It was a mixed group with a couple from Australia, a local couple who had just come for dinner and ourselves, plus Martine and Philippe. The meal and wine were excellent and we wished we had been able to stay for a few more days. Highly recommended. See Trip Advisor for more, the worst review rating is Very Good, the rest are Excellent!

7 - 9 September

The next day found us crossing the Millau Viaduct, the tallest bridge in the world and with the twelfth highest road deck, on our way to Villeveyrac to stay with Francoise and her daughter Marie-Noel, Gill's school penfriend.

Millau Viaduct

 

 

Gill and myself at the Abbaye de Valmagne

Marie-Noel

 

Francoise

Meze

10 13 September

La Dalmerie is a hamlet of half a dozen properties, one of which is owned by my sister-in-law. It is only an hour or so from Villeveyrac and it provided a very nice base to explore the area.

 

 

 

Just before going on holiday I ordered a new car. The garage gave me a good price for my lovely old CL420 provided they took it immediately, even though it was to be a couple of months before my new one arrived. We took Gill's B Class which soaked up the 2,500 miles we travelled with complete ease.

View from terrace near Dargilan's Cave.

14 -17 September

Next it was on to La Veyrolaine, Veyrier-du-lac, near Annecy. Annecy is less than an hour from Geneva so the location was ideal for meeting up with John. The first couple of hours driving were hard work as I have never experienced such side winds.

La Veyrolaine is owned and run by Veronique and Markus Hoffman and was yet another find in Alastair Sawday's French bed and breakfast guide. The photos are of our room and the views from it.

The first evening we booked a table for dinner at the nearby Hotel La Villa Du Lac. We understood it was only about a twenty minute walk so off we went. Somewhere along the way we took a wrong turn and after a tiring forty five minute walk, we arrived at Auberge Du Lac. We thought perhaps we had got the name wrong so we apologised for being late and asked for our table. When the mistake was realised, the waitress saw how tired we were, it had been a long day. She got her husband out of the kitchen and told him to drive us to the hotel! Needless to say we went back to the auberge the next two nights to repay such exceptional help.

 

After picking John up from Geneva, we walked around Annecy and then took a boat trip around the lake. As you can imagine, John was pretty blown away by what he saw.

Next day was a tour around the area.

 

On our last day we drove to Chamonix to take John on the Auguille du Midi Cable Car. We were so lucky with the weather, the sun shone and even at 1913 metres, a light fleece was sufficient. This gave us excellent views across to Mont Blanc, wonderful for John who had not been here before.

18 September

The first leg of our two day journey back to the UK. It could be done in one on autoroutes but we wanted to meander and show John a bit of old France. Because we did not how far we would get that day, we had not booked an overnight stay. Alastair Sawday to the rescue again. Compared with Chateau de Vaulx this is a modern property, being only three hundred years old!

Chateau de Juvigny was yet another find and the hostess was charming. Dinner was not provided but we were given several recommendations. We settled on Les Temps Changent where we enjoyed an excellent meal and service. Breakfast next day at the chateau was also excellent and was another mix of nations.

John liked to take pictures as we drove.

A church in a small village en route.

Our overnight stay.

As you can imagine, John was delighted to stay here.

 

 

Us posing as the owners.


19 September

Finally, back to the UK.

John's first sighting of The White Cliffs of Dover.

Our garden and house.

 

No, not our garden. This is Wisley.

 

Hampton Court

 

London, mostly museums and galleries but no photos.

 

Windsor Castle