A 6 day road trip through France with my Dad!
After coming out of a winter in lockdown, it was about time for another trip. As I learned from last year, the perfect time to go abroad is during the summer as I don’t have much hope going anywhere coming Fall.
For years I wanted to visit Mont Saint Michel, the city in the water that can only be visited during low tide, well at least back in the day. Nowadays there’s a bridge connecting the mainland to the city, but nonetheless it was still high on my bucket list! But with almost 800 kilometers (7,5 hours drive) from Amsterdam, it’s not a place to visit over the weekend. So let’s combine it with a road trip to France!
The day before the trip, I got my negative antigen test to travel across the border, at this time I only had one Pfizer vaccination and needed a test not older than 24 hours to get into the country. I didn’t see any border control, but better safe than sorry!
Our first stop was Rouen, here we stopped for lunch and grabbed a map at the tourist information for our own walking tour in the city center. I’m surprised not a lot of people visit this place, as it was quite stunning. Rouen has a beautiful cathedral, but also a weird looking modern church, quint streets with half-timbered houses.
Street art in an alley in Rouen.
Modern church on the inside.
Half-timbered house on a picturesque square.
Now it was time to continue our trip, as the final destination for the day was Pontporson, a small town just 10 minutes driving from Mont Saint Michel.
We got up early in the morning to visit Mont Saint Michel. At 8:30 we were at the parking lot and immediately could get the shuttlebus to the city. At this time there weren’t any crowds yet. Upon arrival the morning sun was shining beautifully on the island and I had the perfect opportunity to take my long desired photos.
To visit the abbey I reserved tickets online (€11 per person) and I could use my original antigen test from home, which wasn’t 48 hours old yet. My Dad’s QR code for his vaccination wouldn’t load at that moment but fortunately the international yellow vaccination booklet was enough proof too.
Mont Saint Michel.
People walking along the city during low tide.
When heading back to the mainland it was super crowded and the parking lot was full, so I advise everyone to visit early. We were also in luck, because it just started to rain heavily when we were leaving. Yes, I was granted that moment of sun during this highlight of the trip. Now we drove to Saint Malo, with umbrellas in hand we walked through the city and on the fortress wall. Yughh rain, let’s go have some lunch. Here we enjoyed our best lunch we had during our trip.
Saint Malo during low tide.
Let’s move on to Côte de Granit Rose, a part of the coast in Brittany with pink granite rocks alongside the coast. From the lighthouse Phare de Men Ruz there’s a walking path to explore the area.
We ended the day in Morlaix, a city with a railroad bridge right through the center.
First stop was Huelgoat, a place my Dad really wanted to show me as he knew I liked nature. None of the tourist guides of Brittany mention anything about Huelgoat, but I was open to the suggestion. And I wasn’t disappointed. Hidden behind a small path alongside a local café is a whole area with slippery rocks and green mysterious scenery to be amazed about.
Next stop was Carnac, a quick stop to visit the Menhirs. These straight lines of huge stones standing upright were placed here thousands of years ago.
Menhirs of Carnac
Menhirs of Carnac aligned
We finished the day in Tours. Walking along the terraces I felt like an old lady, it seemed that only students were out and about drinking in the cafes. Good atmosphere though, time to order a cocktail to make me feel younger too 😀
The Loire valley has plenty of beautiful castles and lovely towns. We visited Ambois with its namesake chateau, which is risen high above the town full with large gardens all properly maintained.
My static pose in front of Chateau Ambois
In the town we came across a Covid test area, since I really wanted to visit Chauteau Chenonceau, I decided to wait in line. With only about 20 people in front of me I stood there waiting for more than an hour before it was my turn, 30 euros lighter and a negative test by my side, we finally could visit Chenonceau! And it indeed is the most beautiful castle in the area.
Yesterday’s antigen test also had another reason, to visit the palace Versailles! We stayed the night in Orléans and drove in the morning to Versailles. On my previous visits to Paris I never had the chance to stop here, but now was the perfect time to visit this palace with all its grandeur. In the gardens we hired one of those golf carts (€36 an hour) to cross the terrain, as it is so big this is a nice way to explore.
Driving this golf cart through the gardens of Versailles
The last day of our road trip. This started in the city Reims from where we drove South towards Epernay, at one point on the road we saw a sign “Route touristique du Champagne”, yes lets follow that sign! And I advise everyone to follow that sign 🙂 It took us along all the vineyards and towns in the area. We stopped every few minutes to take another picture.
Our final stop was Lille, another big city where we strolled the streets, ate dinner before heading back home.
I loved to be able to have gone abroad during these times in between lockdowns. We drove 2600 km and saw a whole lot of places, but definitely worth it!