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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TTF - How we go tripping

Tripping Through France - Epilogue

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Now that you've seen what all we found interesting along our round trip to Paris, I thought you might enjoy the way we saw it all.

We can be fairly unconventional when we travel (just ask our kids), born out of financial desperation then continued through personal choice.  This is our typical modus operandi.

For many years in the US, we had a tiny little travel trailer (we were a tiny family when we got it, then we usually only had relatively tiny cars to pull it with).  As we traveled the country, we found lots of out-of-the-way places to stop for the night (old country church yards were often good).  We just needed somewhere to sleep before carrying on the next day, official campgrounds were turning into expensive resorts, and we never left any traces that we'd been there.

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Too typical European campground
When we moved to Europe, we had to go back to tent camping.  We checked out the European campgrounds, as they were much more reasonably priced.  But they were crowded, often full without a reservation.  There was absolutely no privacy, you usually had to pay for every minute in a shower, and you couldn't even talk to anybody.  I used to think they all were just unfriendly, then I realized that nobody knew what language anybody else might speak, so people just didn't even try. 

More and more, we started shunning official camping and looked for hidden corners to just do our own thing.  Over the years, it's become a real game to see just what we can end up with, and we are getting really good at finding some first rate places.  Often, people with land will let you use a corner of it, provided you can find anybody to ask.

Also, in the US we were mostly aware of people lunching either in some rest area or just in their cars as they traveled.  We certainly never noticed people just pulled off on the side of the road, any road, with a full set table (I've seen tablecloths, wine bottles, real dishes, and even a vase of flowers), totally oblivious to the rest of the world passing by, as we've encountered quite often over here during the summer season.

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Waiting for lunch
As we think we camp and lunch in fine style (as those of you who've camped with us can attest to), I thought I'd show you what we do.  This particular day, we also just lunched on the side of the road, not finding any designated spot with any kind of ambiance, but it was on a road basically not traveled.  This beats grabbing a fast-food meal (as if such a thing could be found on the kinds of roads we took), don't you think?  (Yes, that's a tablecloth!)

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Just take the silly picture so I can have my lunch!

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Heating water for the morning coffee

One of our less exciting places to stay was just down this dead-end road, amazingly out of the way despite being outside a major city. 

But nobody was around anywhere, and it was quite peaceful, and we were able to have a nice enjoyable breakfast before carrying on.

We made up for this lack of ambiance experience by finding a sunflower field behind a stand of trees another night.  I tried to capture this view from inside our tent in the morning, and the Doc continued playing the airplane game he learned in Paris.

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A beautiful view to wake up to
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It was such a tranquil location, far away from anybody, we took advantage and had a really nice leisurely breakfast, not being in a hurry anyway, then I had wonderful ambiance doing kitchen clean-up.  We are really pleased with the camping supplies we bought way back during our first European camping trip, they are still in brand new condition besides having gotten a lot of use, and they are a real pleasure to use.

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Breakfast and sunflowers
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Not bad ambiance for cleaning up

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Just a typical lunch spot
Remember that castle through the trees?  That actually provided the backdrop for lunch in an official roadside rest area.  We don't always find it, but it's always fun when it's lunchtime and we pass cool ambiance, and then can take full advantage of it.

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Listening to the corn grow
Another less than glorious spot we found to spend the night but totally away from the beaten track was this tractor road in a cornfield.  We knew it wasn't harvesting season, but we don't like being on an apparent road that we don't know for sure isn't going to be needed, so we made sure to keep everything as portable as possible.  As we figured, that wasn't necessary, but it's not fun getting surprised.

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Enjoying the lunchtime pause

I thought you might enjoy this last lunch experience being surrounded by the Alps.

I always take a tablecloth for the often not-so-nice tables we might come across, but I'll use it on our own table just for pretending to be in style. 

It seems like every time they put an official rest area in the middle of beauty, they always install the tables where the trees completely block the view you stopped for.

We knew we were surrounded, but I wanted you to know, too, and it was difficult capturing that.  In this case, we had to make a hasty retreat as we finished lunch as the storm coming in actually happened.

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Lunching in the shadow of the Alps

So there you have it.  Some of the many sights possible on a few of the routes between the south of France and Paris, the way we saw and perceived them, and the style in which we experienced it all.  I hope you've enjoyed our little trip as much as we enjoyed taking it.
Thank you for coming along on the ride with us.  Please feel free to let us know what you thought about it all, either in the comments box below or in a personal email (box in the sidebar).  We certainly had a great time, both in taking the actual trip and then sharing it all with you.
But don't forget that you can also keep up with our everyday experiences as they happen!
Remember, you can always tap a smaller picture to get an enlarged view.


  1. What beautiful lunch and camping spots!

  2. I have so enjoyed your trip! We camped for so many years when we were first married and all the kids were small but camping is so different here, as you point out. Reservations months ahead when we used to just pull in, pay our $3 and put up our tent in practically any campground. Not anymore. We actually quit camping when the RV became so popular. When you're in your tent and a hug RV pulls in next to you and runs it's generator for A/C and so forth 24/7, it's less than pleasant. We had wonderful times, though, and I look back at them fondly. Good for you finding all these off the beaten path sites.

  3. No rain... no sheep... no boy scouts... What a dull experience. LOL.

    Lovely photos you have here. That's a beautiful sunflower field. "Man thru the tent screen" looks like a painting, except the screening is just a touch too dark.


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