France
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Here you’ll find travel reports about Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Discover travel destinations in France of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

435 travelers at this place:

  • Day935

    Moulins, River Allier

    January 17 in France ⋅ ☀️ 7 °C

    We've passed into the Auvergne Region and settled ourselves for a few days under big old Plane trees, overlooking the wide River Allier
    at Moulins' aire. Winds have blown brittle brown leaves and heaped them into piles against the chainmail fence enclosing our grassy site. We've chosen a spot where we can see the arched, red sandstone Pont Régemortes crossing the water a little way downstream and giving vehicles access to the town, with its two, double spired churches.

    We set off this morning with the aim of getting a good number of kilometres under our belts but several things got in the way. We spotted a Netto, so stopped for supplies. Not much further on we saw signs for a Decathlon that would undoubtedly sell the fishing gear Will wanted for his birthday, in a few day's time. Will had fun choosing, but Vicky started to feel unwell and by the time he returned to the van she wasn't up to travelling far. A quick search of Park4Night came up with the Moulins aire, just 5 miles away. It had all the facilities and whilst not free, it was very affordable at just 10 cents an hour, costing only €4.50 for our two nights.

    Once Will worked out how to enter our details into the ticket machine, the barrier rose and we were in. It was a lovely quiet spot with plenty of space. There was a definate chill in the air so we took advantage of the electric hookup costing €2 for 4 hours and got the fan heater working away. When the sun came out, Will wrapped up and took his fishing gear down to the river bank. He managed to make it back in before the hailstones!

    The following day he made a couple of trips into Moulins' commercial centre. On the way he passed an art installation of cows painted by different artists and found a great shop selling organic foods, so filled our fridge with goodies for his upcoming birthday celebrations.

    The night was properly cold at -3°C, but the frosted sights we woke to were gorgeous, with ice crystals forming on tree branches and fronds of grass. Inevitably our waste water tank had frozen shut so we weren't able to empty, but the Flot Bleu service stands provided by the aire were heated and insulated, meaning we could still fill up with fresh water for a couple of euros.
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  • Day937

    Renaison. Happy 65th Will!

    January 19 in France ⋅ ⛅ -1 °C

    This is the first stopover of our journey south where we've felt a real change in the scenery. We are nestled by a clear brown brook that flows gently alongside the Renaison river, after which the town was named. We are in the valley floor with vine clad hills rising to one side and the infrastructure of the town to the other.

    On the drive here we saw more groups of Common Cranes and a dozen or so Muntjack deer grazing wild. The sun was out when we first arrived, although the soil under Martha's wheels remained frozen hard. The light warmed the sandstone bricks of the handfull of houses over the road, enhancing the colours of the painted wooden shutters; green, white and hyacinth pink. Will went to investigate fishing possibilities at the river and saw a bright flash darting along its course; a Kingfisher! We always feel so lucky to see one of these beautiful birds and over the course of 2 days Will was privilaged enough to see it a total of 5 times!

    Sunday 20th January was a special day for Will; his 65th birthday! We began with bucks fizz and croissants Vicky had fetched fresh from the boulangerie, dodging the black ice as she went. We were glad we weren't travelling today! After presents, we set out on foot along the country lanes and fieldside footpaths, roughly following the course of the river. The day was mostly cloudy and white vapour clung in drifts to the sides of nearby hills. In the far distance we could see the foothills of the French Alps, similarly shrouded in cloud, but with large pockets of snow visible in the dells. A round route took us back through Renaison, the streets quiet now all the shops had closed for Sunday afternoon. As Will has reached retirement age he will start picking up a small income from his work with the council, but because changes in the state pension age have begun to take effect, he won't get this until May. All the same, we'll have more financial freedom in 2019 than previous years, which can only be a good thing.

    Back home, we fortified ourselves with millefeuille birthday cake and a cuppa before breaking into the champagne while Will cooked a delicious chateaubriand. For him, cooking is enjoyable while watching Vicky cook is very stressful so we've long since come to an agreement. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, listening to Leonard Cohen and receiving birthday messages, videos and calls from family and friends. Thanks so much for these- we were definitely feeling the love!
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  • Day939

    Cornas, Ardèche - wine country!

    January 21 in France ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    Today has seemed like rather a long day. We moved on from the lovely Renaison, where we spent Will's birthday and have finally settled at a car park aire in Cornas. A road runs past the entrance and on each side are houses. There is only one other van here now but the motorhome area is separated from the rest by half logs and height barriers, reminding us that in high season, the demand for free van parking must be high. The perimeter is cordoned off with wooden wine barrels and beyond them, the view through our windscreen shows neatly trained rows of vines leading up a hillside with various winding farm tracks. We've reached the Ardeche and wine country!

    The day's travels have taken us over what seems like hundreds of roundabouts. We deliberately avoid the toll motorways when we aren't in a hurry, preferring to take things slow and have time to absorb some of the sights along the way, but at times these roundabouts prompted the idea that we were being made to pay penance for not forking out on the fast route!

    The air had an icy chill from the start of the day, but at Saint Étienne, the roads began to narrow and wind round tight bends, climbing and climbing. With each 100 metres we gained in altitude, we lost 1°C in temperature. We'd entered the Des Monts du Pilat and the sparse patches of snow we'd begun to encounter at the sides of the road soon built up to around 20cm. Thankfully the surface was well gritted, so driving wasn't too difficult and we got to enjoy the sight of a winter wonderland from inside a nice warm cab! Our ears popping, we peaked at 1157m above sea level, by which time the outdoor thermometer read -2°C. It was a little surreal to see the snow appear as we climbed, then disappear as we descended over a kilometre to the wide river channel carved for the Rhône.

    We decided against staying at the first spot we had found on Park4Night, between the main river and a managed channel that ran alongside. There were signs warning that only service vehicles were allowed; always a bit off putting! We used our watering can to top up with fresh water at Gervans aire. The town had a couple of spots for overnighting, but we fancied somewhere a bit more rural so left €2 in the donation box and moved on to Tournon-sur-Rhone. Here there was a grassy car park amongst trees, overlooking a small river. We hadn't turned the engine off when Will spotted a creature swimming low in the water. Vicky leapt out and began filming what turned out to be a coypu, as it swam right up to the bank we were on!

    Feeling excited at having been able to watch this, we settled down for a cuppa and birthday cake, but before the kettle had even boiled, a horn honked and a police car pulled up outside, knocking on our window. Vicky went out to talk to them but as suspected, they were there to move us on. They agreed to let us stay 10 minutes to drink our tea, so we used the time to find and program the position of Cornas's official aire into the sat nav. It wasn't too far away but we felt tired when we arrived, so didn't explore the location. The night was peaceful enough but the service point was out of action so we left as soon as we'd packed up the next morning.

    Out of all the countries we've visited on the continent, we've spent most time in Germany and France and have always viewed them both as quite liberal minded when it comes to camping. This is the only time we've been asked to move on here and whilst the police were courteous, an experience like this always increases the level of insecurity you feel travelling in a mobile home. We hope it is a one off anomaly confined to this area. 🤞
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  • Day106

    Mont Blanc

    September 20, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    On the way to Sallanches, we drove through Chamonix, a very popular winter resort near the junction of France, Switzerland and Italy. Here we got an up-close and personal view of Mont Blanc and its amazing glacier.
    Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps rising 4,808 m (15,774 ft). Glaciers cover approximately 40 square miles (100 square km) of Mont Blanc. I can only hope the photos show how beautiful it is.Read more

  • Day107

    Sallanches France

    September 21, 2017 in France ⋅ ☀️ 6 °C

    Sallanches is situated on the Sallanche river near Mont Blanc, west of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and north of Megeve. Our accommodation looks out to Mont Blanc. Seeing it from here without obstruction is very special. We did a quick tour of the town last night so today we are happy to stay here and enjoy this beautiful vista while we relax and soak up the clean mountain air. It truly is a hard life 😉Read more

  • Day110

    Lyon

    September 24, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We walked more of Lyon's beautiful Old Town today and joined a walking tour to see its hidden passageways or "traboules" as they are called here. There are about 40 traboules open to the public, winding their way through buildings and courtyards. Good tour. Time to leave Lyon and head to the UK.

  • Day111

    Au revoir Lyon

    September 25, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Today we leave Lyon, fly to London, pick up our hire car and drive 460kms to Whitby. By we, I mean Alan drives ... but he does get to drive on the correct side of the road again. More about Whitby in the next post - I have more photos of Lyon to share.

  • Day109

    Lyon

    September 23, 2017 in France ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Lyon is shaped by its two rivers, the Rhône River (to the East) and the Saône (to the West). We are staying on the left side of the Saône but can easily walk to Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon) on the right side by crossing the Bonapart Bridge, one of the many bridges in Lyon. Today we took the sightseeing bus for a tour of Lyon to get our bearings. It is a lovely city with many of its historical buildings preserved and the view over to the Old Town is beautiful. A boat ride along the Saône finished off a very enjoyable and quite warm day. The 24 degree-day took us by surprise.Read more

  • Day108

    Lyon France

    September 22, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Today, Alan drove from Sallanches to Milan, about 300kms. We took the quickest route through the Mont Blanc Tunnel (11.6km) which links Chamonix ( France) to Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley ( Italy). Although this was the longest tunnel, there were quite a lot more that we drove through. It saved us hours and ensured we made our flight to Lyon where we will spend 3 days.
    Lyon is much bigger than I expected and very busy. Cafes and restaurants were full...but it was Friday night. People, bikes and cars somehow miss each other as they all rush to get wherever they are going. Lots of pedestrian crossings and you need them! First impression is that it is a vibrant city and a popular place for young people - tourists too 😊
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  • Day99

    Lyon, Old Town

    September 24, 2017 in France ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    This afternoon we took a walking tour of part of the Old Town of Lyon. Lyon is where the 2 rivers, Rhone and Saone meet. It was a walled city, merchant town and the French centre for silk weaving. There are fascinating little hidden passages or 'short cuts' in the buildings to take you from one street to another. The passages are called La Longue Troboule and have a central courtyard where the house/apartment is reached by stairs. Lyon is the 3rd largest city in France and just a great place to visit. This is our last day on the Continent- fly over to the UK tomorrow to head up to Scotland!Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, Alvernia-Rodano-Alpi

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