France
Nouvelle-Aquitaine

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Top 10 Travel Destinations Nouvelle-Aquitaine

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  • Day5

    When geese fly the other way...

    January 29 in France ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    ...we must be going into the right direction.
    I can't stop mentioning it enough. It is hard work. Keeping Lieske on the road. And not everybody on route is happy to see us.
    We drove a small 320km today in almost 5 hours.
    I am proud of Nika, who fought against the road raging French, and frantic Spanish and Portuguese truck drivers around the very, very,very busy road aroud Bordeaux.
    It was really a torture.
    But we survived.
    Picked a strange camper place in Morcenx.
    But our neighbours are funny. And really in for a chat.
    We noticed that the temperature is getting better. 15° And it was longer light. Hmmm. Or is it just imagination?
    Tomorrow we are going to try to crawl up the Pyrenees.
    Wish us luck!
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  • Day4

    The massacre of Oradour sur Glane.

    January 28 in France ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    Today we only drove 200km to the monumental town of Oradour sur Glane.
    It was wet and windy ride..
    The destroyed village of Oradour was impressive, it was unbelievable sad.
    Thinking about other places of this earth were this is real.
    Were today people have to live in the ruins of their homes, makes me believe that we need to do more to learn from each other and take care for the needing.

    We stay for the night. No use for pushing on.
    Going to cook our meal outside.
    And tomorrow,..
    Tomorrow we hope to pass Bordeaux. Than...the Pyreneeës. The barrier for Spain.
    Lieske will conquer!! 🤞
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  • Day10

    Onderweg naar Bordeaux

    September 16, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

    #freefoodforeverybody
    #Hi, Maschine is writing 🌻😃. As an advice for the evening : we prepare a BBQ and of course we have some meat and sausages, bread and cheese for you, but it's an entrée! So remember to bring your own stuff to 😊 There is a Super U seven min from from the location there you can get everything. See, I hope, all of you later on. Rock'n'Roll 🖖
    #krijgenwegodverdommeweernikstevreten
    #machinetriedtobenice
    #savingisforpussy
    #freefoodforeverybody
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  • Day10

    Euro5000: Pamplona - Bordeaux

    September 16, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    European5000 - Stage 10: After a nice breakfast 🍳 in Pamplona, up to San Sebastian... A few issues with a lost wallet, and we continued our adventure to Hossogor for a cosy dinner... finally we arrived in Bordeaux where a castle and his pool waited for us! #European5000 #PamplonaToSanSebastian #BiarritzHossogor #Bordeaux #UpToSaintMalo #E38 #728 #WhatABeachRead more

  • Day48

    On the Road Again

    October 7, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    Driving in a foreign country can always be a rather stressful activity. Not only do you have the challenge of driving a completely unfamilar vehicle, but you also have the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car and a wrong side of the road to drive on. When you combine this with the challenge of navigating out of a big city, it is not a job for the faint hearted.

    At least we knew that the rental car agency was not far from our hotel in Nantes. Or at least it wouldn't have been if we had taken the correct route. We had awoken to the unwelcome sound of steady rain and this was still falling as we headed out the hotel door in search of the Alamo car rental company. With a name like that, I half expected Davy Crocket to be waiting for us with the car keys.

    Although we had Google's navigator to assist us, for some reason the navigation seemed to desert us at the critical time, only to reawaken in time to remind us that we had taken a much longer route than necessary. We even managed to include a couple of flights of stairs and a bridge crossing, just for good measure.

    We were probably not a pleasant sight when we arrived at the rental car office. The rain had saturated our bags and made us look like drowned rats. At least they were expecting us and they actually seemed to think that we would be pleased when they informed us that they had replaced our selected car with another of about twice the size. There was a good reason why we had chosen the compact Peugeot. When you are driving through medieval villages with narrow cobblestoned steets, the last thing you need is a giant SUV. But that is exactly what we were given.

    I had never even heard of a Peugeot 3008, let alone know how to drive one. All I could see was that it was huge. Genuinely huge. I immediately had awful premonitions of trying to park it in tiny parking lots and trying to squeeze it down streets that were designed for small horses. On a more positive note, it was supplied complete with a fancy GPS navigational system, which was just as well. Although we had taken our faithful TomTom GPS with us, when we went to turn it on we discovered that the last person we had loaned it to had somehow switched it to Spanish and we couldn't figure out how to return it to English.

    I sat in the driver's seat in the driveway of the rental car depot for what seemed like an eternity, before I finally mustered the courage to enter the motoring maelstrom of Nantes' peak hour traffic. The first few km were the worst, but gradually I discovered what each control did. The car even had some sort of undercar cameras which showed what the car was currently driving over. That was a first.

    Before long we were hurtling down the tollway at 135 kph. The rain was still pouring down, but I had found the windscreen wiper switch, so it wasn't too much of a problem. I still haven't discovered how to turn on the adaptive cruise control.

    Our destination for today was the moderate sized city of Rochefort. We safely arrived there around 3 pm and found that the city looked like it had been having a hard time of things. The shops were invariably run down, as were just about all the other buildings in the town. It was a far cry from the magnificent buildings we had seen in St Malo.

    The most amazing attraction we discovered in the city was a full size reconstruction of a sailing ship. We thought it was just some sort of museum piece, but it was actually intended as a playground for children. In case the thought of having your child swinging through the rigging about 10 m above the deck was enough to scare you, the sign did clearly warn that "it was only for children 6 years or older". I guess they do care about safety after all.

    We had booked an apartment for the night and were relieved when we were able to find a parking spot right outside the front door. A visit to the supermarket and boulangerie gave us all the ingredients we needed for a delicious dinner. We were even able to take advantage of the washing machine to catch up on our laundry.

    Tomorrow we continue our drive another 340 km to the Dordogne Region.
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  • Day49

    Down to the Dordogne

    October 8, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Clockmakers might try to tell us that all days are the same length. Of course that is demonstrably incorrect. Today was a day that was obviously much longer than the preceeding days.

    We always knew that it was going to be a long drive from Rochefort to Salart la Caneda. Of course we had the advantage of a very sophisticated GPS navigation system in our oversized Peugeot 3008 to assist us every cm of the way. When we entered the destination details into the unit, it thought for some time and then presented us with a range of options to choose from.

    There was a "FAST" option that promised we could get there in about 3 hours. That would have been utilising the network of high speed toll roads. It would also have been extremely boring, but the real reason I rejected that option is that it would have cost almost 40 Euro (about $70 AUD) in toll fees.

    There were also a range of other options, including "SHORT", "ECOLOGICAL" (whatever that means) and "COMPROMISE". After due consideration I decided that it is always good to be able to reach a compromise, so selected that option. We were finally on our way.

    The skies opened up as we left Rochefort and almost immediately we began following a very complex set of navigational directions. It quickly became evident that selecting the compromise option put us onto the most complicated set of back roads and cattle tracks that would be possible. Not to mention the inevitable roundabouts at about every 200 metre interval. It was going to be a slow and tedious drive, but at least the scenery was glorious.

    We could certainly see why the Dordogne is such a popular region for travellers and also for expatriate English couples to settle. The rolling green hills, tiny villages and vineyards tempted us to stop every few minutes to take pictures. We would have taken more pictures, but I was starting to worry that, at the pace we were travelling, it was going to take us about 3 days just to reach the destination.

    The route did take us through the town of Pons. It proved to be something of a ghost town with most of the crumbling buildings looking like they had been abandoned decades ago. The only shops that were still open were the Tabac (tobacco shop and bar) and the boulangerie (every French person needs fresh baguettes twice a day). There was one other type of business that appeared to be still operating - the ladies hairdresser. In France these places are strangely named "Institute of Beauty", leading me to wonder whether the hairdresser in Pons could rightfully be called "The Pons Institute". Sometimes my mind works in weird ways.

    We were glad to be back on the move again, albeit at a glacial pace. The tiny roads twisted and turned manically, and every time we met an oncoming vehicle, I had to almost leave the road and drive along the side ditch. On each such occasion, Maggie would scream loudly, indicating her complete lack of confidence in my driving skill.

    An even more stressful event occured when we found ourselves driving through the tiny town of Aubeterre. We entered the place without undue difficulty, but soon discovered that the roads in the middle of the town were fashioned like a lobster pot. You could drive into them, but there was no way out. I circled around the tiny central square, giving great entertainment to the coffee drinking locals who obviously welcomed such an amusing diversion.

    The only obvious way out of the trap was through what looked like someone' s front door. Although the GPS told me to drive through the doorway, every natural instinct told me that it would be a one way end to the day's driving. I circled the bemused spectators a couple more times, weighing up my options.

    I eventually stopped in the middle of the road and sent Maggie to ask for directions. She came back a few minutes later with the advice that I had been dreading. The only way out was through the doorway and out via the living room. Apparently they assured her that the path does "eventually widen a bit".

    What ensued next was a terrifying series of low speed turns, interspersed with forward movements of about 5 cm at a time. Maggie stood in front of the car and tried to issue coherent instructions. I sat behind the wheel, almost soiling my pants. Why did Alamo think they were doing us a favour by giving us such a HUGE car, instead of the compact one we had booked ? I think I now know the reason - no one else would ever want such a liabilty.

    Somehow we eventually managed to get through the orifice, and I hope the damage will not be spotted when the car is returned. The road did eventually widen a little, but our progress was so slow that, a couple of hours later, we decided to abandon the COMPROMISE option and select the fastest route possible. It was a wise decision.

    Soon we were hurtling along at 140 kph and finally feeling like we were getting somewhere. We did get somewhere - the next pay station. I fed a handful of Euro into the machine, but by that time I did not care. I just wanted to get there.

    We eventually arrived at Sarlat at about 4.30 pm. It had been a very long day. I would estimate that at least 14 hours had passed since we left Rochefort at 9.30 am that morning.

    Our final challenge was to find a spot to park our (huge) car and then find the apartment we had booked for the next four nights. The owner had not returned the messages or calls we had made during the day, but fortunately he had emailed directions as to how to open the door.

    To our relief we did find the address and gained access to the building. Not so welcome was the two flights of steep, narrow stairs we had to carry (ie drag) our luggage up to the apartment on the second floor. Fortunately the unit itself was magic - spacious, clean and almost new. The views from the windows were wonderful. As for me, I was just relieved that we had arrived safely and that I did not have to drive anywhere the next day.

    Another most welcome development that had taken place during the day was that the wet weather had passed by and been replaced by beautiful blue skies and warm sunshine. The further south we travelled, the warmer it became. I almost thought that I would have to retrieve the pair of shorts that I had packed away somewhere deep in my lugagge.
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  • Day50

    Sarlat la Caneda

    October 9, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    It is a powerful feeling to be walking alleyways and staircases that have been trodden for hundreds of years. Since time immemorial (or maybe even longer) Sarlat la Caneda has been a centre of worship and trade. Much of the old city that you see today was constructed between the 13th and 16th centuries. It has also been a part of the French Camino pilgrim trail to Santiago, so it has been well visited by pilgrims on the way of St James.

    When we chose to spend four nights in this city we did not appreciate just how magical the place would be. Our first challenge on arrival was to find a place to park our rental car. There was no way that I wanted to accidentally get stuck with it in one of those tiny winding alleyways. That was a terror that I never wanted to experience again.

    To our relief we did find a public car park only a couple of hours walk from our apartment. Getting our luggage from the car park, through the city and up the 40 steps to the apartment was quite a physical challenge. Whoever said that holidays were meant to be easy ? I think that, by the time we get back to Melbourne, we will need another holiday, just to recover from this one.

    On our first full day in the city we decided to leave the car exactly where we had parked it and do our exploring on foot. It is always surprising that a place that looked so confusing on arrival, quickly starts to feel familiar. It did not take long for us to note a few significant landmarks and then to begin to build a mental map of our new surroundings.

    After a day of walking exploration, we retreated back to the apartment with a pizza and tartiflette purchased from the shop across the road. It was a lovely end to a glorious day in Sarlat.

    Tomorrow we plan to explore a little further afield, that is if our car is still there when we wake up in the morning.
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  • Day52

    An Indian Summer in Sarlat

    October 11, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    I have to admit that we both believed that the balmy days of summer had passed by for another year. Over the past couple of weeks we could feel the increasing chill in the air and the skies were almost invariably overcast. It was certainly a far cry from those initial couple of hot and cloudless weeks we had spent in Provence at the start of this trip.

    You can imagine our surprise when we awoke to find that the clouds had all disappeared and the sun had regained some of its former sting. We had no ambitious plans for the day, since this will be our last "day of leisure" before the pace of things increases as the day of our return to Australia draws close.

    After a somewhat slow breakfast, we wandered back to the centre of the old town. Now that we have learned our way about we have discovered that there was a much quicker route than the one we had first followed. The place really was quickly beginning to feel quite familiar. We eve found ourselves referring to our rented apartment as "home". That was how we felt.

    By the middle of the day the temperature had risen to around 25C and the sun actually felt hot on our skin. I guess we were experiencing something of an "Indian summer" in France. At one stage while we were walking in a narrow alleyway, we heard an earsplitting noise overhead. It really took us a moment to figure out what was happening. It was a very low altitude flyover by some mighty fast fighter jets. I have no idea what type of plane they were, but the sound was quite terrifying. This is a spectacle that we never experience in Australia, I suppose because the few planes we possess are all situated somewhere in the north of the country. In France, the locals do not bat an eye when this happens.

    In the afternoon we decided to follow a quiet walking path up the hill to gain a panoramic view of the town. It went quite well until we realised that we had ended up in someone's private yard. Fortunately they did not send the dogs after us and we were able to safely retrace our steps.

    Tonight will be our final night in Salart as tomorrow we begin the long journey back home. By tomorrow evening we will be back in familiar territory in Tours as we return the rental car. On the following day we will continue our way to Paris by train.
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  • Day20

    Bordeaux, France

    June 11, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    Bordeaux 11-13 June
    We had 2 full days (3 nights) in Bordeaux. Our accommodation was in a great location - near bridge Ponte de Pierre, the first bridge built in Bordeaux (on the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte).
    We walked the UNESCO Heritage trail - highlights: Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, Place de la Bourse, centered on the Three Graces fountain, overlooks the Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool. Ponte Chaban-Delmas - 77 metres high, highest lift bridge in Europe. Grosse Cloche, historic town belfry and only remains of the old defensive gate of the 13th Century.
    We drove the wine-growing region.
    The Bordeaux region is naturally divided by the Gironde Estuary into a Left Bank area and a Right Bank area. We only had time to drive a small part of the Left Bank but it was a beautiful drive. A few samplings along the way but we found that most chateaux were closed unless you had booked a tasting.
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  • Day78

    3000 km französische Atlantikküste

    September 4, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    ...solang ist es von der Bretagne bis zur spanischen Grenze, wo wir bald ankommen werden. Wir waren in der hübschen Stadt La Rochelle, natürlich bei Arcachon auf der größten Wanderdüne Europas (110 m hoch!) und leben nun ein paar Tage am südlichen Küstenabschnitt unter den typischen hohen Pinien an breiten Dünenstränden. Im September hat die Nachsaison begonnen: die Strandhütten kommen schon ins Winterlager, es gibt immer weniger Kinder um uns herum (was Bruno ärgert), entspannte Senioren und surfende Hippies. Davon werden wir uns nun mal einen zum Malen schnappen...

    ...as long as it is from Brittany to the Spanish border, where we will arrive soon. We were in the pretty town La Rochelle, of course near Arcachon on the largest shifting dune of Europe (110 m high!) and enjoy now the southern coastal section under the typical high pine trees at wide dune beaches. In September the off-season has begun: the beach posts are already coming to the winter camp, there are fewer and fewer children around us (which annoys Bruno), relaxed seniors and surfing hippies. Of it we will grab now times one for painting...
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes, Aquitania-Limosino-Poitou-Charentes

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