Posted by: jimndianne | November 15, 2009

Paris, here we come.

15 November 2009 France

Off we go today, on our way towards Paris, 600 kms away. Along the way, we see many rolling green hills, brown as well as white cows and a few sheep.  There is a large gypsy encampment tucked up a small side road with many of them busy tending their caravans and other assorted vehicles as well as plenty of junk lying about. Not far away from this encampment are numerous very attractive stone houses with nice gardens.

We are now noticing a quite different style of home in some villages, really fairytale houses, with grey and white stone walls and with lovely slate roofs. It is interesting to note the number of small hamlets, where a group of 4 or 5 houses are close together, possibly part of the same family. Once again, we see ruins of fortifications as high as they could possibly be on the hilltops here and there.

The French are, for the most part, careful drivers who generally obey the speed limits. There is also a little snow ahead on the high mountains as we climb from Aurillac to Clermont. The mountains were high enough to support ski fields one of which can be seen in the photo. Now and again we stop for a break at a large service station complete with cafeteria selling the most tempting food but we try to contain ourselves and just have a coffee (or water) and share a raspberry tart, which are a decent size. From now on we will most likely stay on the Autoroutes in order to make short work of the 300 kms we intend doing today. As time wears on, we decide it’s time to find a place to spend the night so leave the Autoroute to drive into the small town of St-Almond Montrond, not far away. However, just as we do this we notice a place called FastHotel, all brightly lit up and looking inviting, so we drive on in. There are no other cars here at all and the door of the “Reception” is tightly locked. We then notice a free-standing machine, not unlike that of an ATM just near the reception, where you choose your type of room, order breakfast if required, load in your credit card details and then, voila, it then drops out your numbered room key! What next – an automated motel! As I write this we are the only people here in this ‘ghost’ motel. It all seems a bit weird but the room is clean as is the toilet and separate shower room but we have SINGLE BEDS – we don’t do SINGLE BEDS!! Too bad…  A typed note on the Reception door informs us that someone will come at 1830hrs, maybe to cook (?) as a restaurant area can be seen through the reception area. No-one came so we drove off into St-Almand Montrond where we enjoyed very nice food at a Brasserie. Upon returning to the motel, we found we were still the only residents but Jim didn’t seem fazed by this. I did have a few slight fears though…

At around 11.30pm a couple arrived, peered at the machine for a while and then drove off, but within about 15 minutes they had returned and eventually did move in to one of the units. Some time later we were awakened by the sound of a door closing nearby when another traveller moved in. Phew, safe at last.


  1. Hi there, This sounds like the script of a movie, spooky………oh well it is France – Viva la difference.
    How long are you in ” gay Paris” for – so much to see there as you would know as you have been before I bet. Much cooler here today after around 40 yesterday and big storm last night. My daughter has a land line now so if you go south I can give you both numbers. Bye for now have the palm lopers coming in a mo.

  2. Just a quick note for Jimmy…….I must say how very impressed I am to note that you have ( so far ) managed to negotiate all of those narrow winding hazardous roads in Italy and France without reporting so much as One minor scrape or injury to the rental or need a change of underwear ! WELL DONE ! Keep it up.

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