EDitorial ± 24-Aug-2009
Have I Got Languedoc?
Back in palindromic 2002 we holidayed in France with the in-laws. Since we'd be (a) taking ferry to Calais then (b) driving to Brittany, we thought it sensible to break up the journey and stop overnight, halfway-ish, in Caen. All very sensible.
Seven years later and we (minus the in-laws) are doing a different bit -- the bottom bit -- of the same country. Since those cheap flights aren't quite so cheap with five of us, and to save on car hire, we decide to drive. Advice reaches us that bang-in-the-centre Bourges is a good place to stop. Hey, if we're being thrifty, do we really need that overnighter? Let's do the whole A to B in one day, un jour, and we can catch up once we're there. It'll be fine.
That'll be why we hit the A12 at 3:30am and were filling up in a Kent service station at 4:50am. Into the Eurotunnel shopping area for 5:15am ready for our departure at 6:20am -- windows half down, leave it in first -- then ejected onto the streets of Calais at 7:50am, French time. Sacred blue, it's early even with the extra hour.
Now half-nine-ish and a welcome break at the Wancourt Autogrill for PDJ. First driver switch: hoorah, my turn, and blow me down if that isn't Paris on the horizon. In from the north, play it safe on the peripherique and we scarily slingshot out the south. Finally the kids are asleep, so on we press. Waddya know, our 2pm-ish lunch stop turns out to be at Bourges. Are we there yet? Not as such.
Driver switch 2, and my turn in the back for a fitful nap, Eldest navigating. Down, down we go, and I'm at the wheel once more just prior to the spectacular Millau viaduct. Wow. Carried further south still to the holly-holiday sounds of Boney M, and not that long (relatively) until we're looking for an emergency 8pm loo stop near Clermont L'Herault. Temperature noticeably hotter.
What you don't really need at this point is a long and winding road over the hills looking down at the pylons. Stop the clock at 8:50pm, villa reached. Calais to Roujan, A1/A10/A71/A75, a mere 1000km. Tish.