* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Monday, August 18, 2014

TTF - Along the route

Tripping Through France - Chapter 10

Along Route 01

As we traveled along the route, we came across a number of fun things, as one does when one travels the small roads, as we did.  I thought I'd show you some of the more interesting bits that caught my fancy.

For starters, here's an example of driving down one of Napoleon's tree-lined straight roads.  Such a pleasure!  Such current controversy!

We encountered these trees on our very first trip to France, and we loved them.  Now that we live here, we know more about them.  And why others do not love them. 

The classic story is that Napoleon planted them as shade for his armies.  Rather silly, since he and his army were long gone before the trees would have been big enough to provide any useful shade for anybody.  Another explanation is that the kings wanted shaded straight roads to protect all the food headed towards their chateaux. 

Whatever their true origins, they are well over 200 years old.  And planted way too close to the road for modern vehicles and speed.  And lack of driver responsibility.  So as drivers wrap themselves around the trees, the municipalities decree the trees must go, and they are being chopped down regularly at an alarming rate.  Apparently, the rest of us must enjoy these lovely alleys as long as we can; who knows if the madness will stop.

Along Route 03
Lentilles Verte
If you ever buy lentils, perhaps you've bought the little green lentilles verte du Puy .  They are considered the caviar of lentils, and we drove through the area they come from.  There is this fun sculpture in one of the round points celebrating them.  It looks like a lentil plant with a bean in it.

(Btw, this is where my camera broke, taking this picture.  Some things you don't forget.)

A puy is a volcanic hill, and this region is full of them.  This group has been extinct since forever, but they create an interesting landscape.

Along Route 02
Extinct volcanic cones in the Puy

Along Route 04
La bête du Gévaudan
Another fun sculpture we came across was this wicked looking animal.  I took a picture because I thought maybe it was made with local lava.  I don't know if there actually is any local lava, but I did find out by accident that there's a story that goes with the sculpture.

The Beast of Gévaudan was some kind of man-eating wolf that terrorized this region in the 1760's.  It could have killed up to several hundred people.  It is still a mystery as to what it was or what ever happened to it.

Along Route 05
Chateau de Montpeyroux XII century

This is another little curiosity we saw just driving down the road.  I'm sure you pass such 12th century structures all the time on your own commutes.

The locals probably don't even pay it any attention. 

We managed to find where it was on Google Earth when we got home.

Along Route 06
Attention:  You are entering Charm.

By chance we passed a charming little community that was appropriately called Le Charme. 

With a typically French-style flowered house, although most are not quite this decorated.

Along Route 07
Home of fertilizer magnate?

We discovered this quaint little 13th century castle a number of years ago as it's directly on our path to Paris even when we're not taking vacation routes.  Always pretty.

Along Route 08
Chateau de la Rochepot XIII century
Along Route 09
Sitting above the town since forever

Along Route 10
Near Chalon-sur-Saône

For those interested in photography, this is an interesting structure.  One of the headquarters of Kodak was also located here.

I had a chance to visit this town and the photography museum they have many years ago when Doc Leo had a job at Kodak.  He was very sad when it all went away, including the whole building.

Along Route 11
The chicken town
Along Route 12
Hiding from the Colonel?

Another oddity we passed were these chickens along the road.  They were in a town known for their quality chickens.

These appeared to be part of a restaurant, which must be newer than the last time we went through, as I don't remember them.

However, this one grabbed my attention years ago.  Isn't he magnificent?  The manufacturer gave it to the town in 1996.  The church is a bit older, I bet.  The area raises over a million chickens a year, all on small farms, with each chicken having a minimum of 107 square feet/10 square meters living space.  Of course , they don't come cheap!  The statue also represents France, being its national symbol.

Along Route 13
The Big Bird
Along Route 14
Le coq de Bresse

How would you like to have this wall right in the middle of your town?  It was really quite impressive as we drove by.

Along Route 16
St. Symphorien church in Morestel, XV century
Along Route 15
St. Symphorien, 1425








Along Route 17
Pretty town decor

As we were driving through the Alps, we got behind a certain crowd of vehicles.  A little bit later, we were still behind the same group.  Not much chance to pass or add to the group on a simple two lane mountain road.  And they were so obviously on vacation.

Along Route 18
Snaking through the Alps
Along Route 19
Still snaking along

Along Route 20
Rocky mountain high
And finally, two last edifices just standing there on top of a hill, not feeling out of place in the slightest.
Along Route 21
Le Château des Magnans, Jausiers

Along Route 22
After all the fun and interesting things to see and do along such a route, there is always one more very important aspect to pay attention to.  And that's these ugly nasty money makers now scattered all over the country.  The least they could have done was not make them look like they came straight out of an ancient B movie set.

There are advantages to not being young anymore and thus being more content to pay proper attention to the posted speed limit.  At least, the avoiding a fine part!

While this ends my travelogue of our fabulous trip up and down this country, I hope you come back one more time for the closing chapter.

Remember, you can always tap a smaller picture to get an enlarged view. (And please do, the details are so much better when bigger!)

1 comment:

  1. Seriously? Ticket cameras? Ugh! Loved all the castles and that house with all the flowers is charming. You are a splendid tour guide!


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