Day 53 – Friday 29-08-08
After a wonderful night’s kip polly was as usual whistling away & me 1st cuppa of the day was soon ready to be drunk. We spent the morning cleaning the inside of the motorhome & replenishing our water supply & by 11.30 we left the campsite heading for Vers. From there we then followed the scenic route to St-Cirq-Lapopie stopping of at St-Gery to stock up on some supplies & of course have a cuppa. St-Gery was a nice little village & they have signs up saying “they try to talk & understand English”. We arrived at St-Cirq-Lapopie early afternoon & it was getting rather hot. Today the weather had reached the early nineties & it was a bit hot for walking around. We enjoyed our visit to St-Cirq-Lapopie which is a hilltop village with some great scenery. From there we took the scenic route to Cajarc & then onto Figeac. We found Figeac to be just like Cahors but bigger, we didn’t like the place so we headed for Boisse-Penchot Aires no: 74 page 244 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N44º.26.420 E001º.26.468 for Google earth). The aires is in good condition with 8 well spaced parking bays.
There are no views of the river from the aires but it’s only a 2 minute walk. There is a brasserie on the corner where you can get the tokens for the service point or you can get tokens at the bar / tabac, there are a few picnic tables by the river, a children’s play area & a public barbeque point. The scenery is nice & there’s plenty of walking, cycling & fishing in the area. We had a peaceful night & there were 6 of us parked there.
Day 54 – Saturday 30-08-08
Today is our 5th day of continuous sunshine & already it’s getting hot. So after cooling myself down with the usual morning brew it was time once again to hit the road. We left Boisse-Penchot & took the scenic road via Montbazens, Villefranche-De-Rouergue, Lagupie, Cordes-S-Ciel to Albi.
The scenic drives here aren’t as good as the ones we have taken in the past & even though the roads are good the scenery seems to be mainly farmland. Cordes-S-Ciel is a fascinating fortress town built on a hilltop, well worth a visit. We arrived in Albi early afternoon & found the allocating parking for motorhomes without any problems. There are no services here but at least we are parked within a stones throw of the cathedral. After another well earnt cuppa we headed into Albi. Our 1st stop was the Sainte-Cecile Cathedral, fascinating, amazing, a true work of art & craftsmanship.
The Cathedral is a one-of-a-kind monument & it’s the world’s largest brick cathedral. It’s one amazing place to visit. To see the entire Cathedral you have to pay €2 to enter each of the two parts known as the Chancel Screen & the Salle du Tresor (treasure room), well if you have come all this way you gotta see it. The cathedral was the main reason we came to Albi & believe you me, it’s totally amazing & should be on everyone’s list as a must place to visit. After coming out of the cathedral it was now late afternoon & the sun was getting hotter, 92º F. Here in Albi there are loads of shops, bars, cafes & restaurants. The city has some great architecture in its old red brick buildings & there are plenty of places to walk around. Our visit coincided with a BMX festival & there were lots of people doing things on bikes & there were some climbing activities going on in the square at the back of the cathedral along with some kind of dance stage. We had a good walk around Albi & the best part for us was the walk along the river. There just happened to be a bar there so after a nice refreshing pint we walked along the rest of the river & back to our motorhome.
In the evening there was a concert nearby & there was plenty of partying going on nearby. It was very noisy here until around 5am this morning. On the whole we really enjoyed our visit to this wonderful city & would recommend that Albi should be on everyone’s list as a place to visit.
Day 55 – Sunday 31-08-08
Today started cloudy but dry & after me usual morning cuppa we left Albi heading for Millau.
We stopped at Roquefort Sur Soulzon Aires no: 9 page 228 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N43º.58.867 E002º.58.867 for Google earth). We stopped here because there is a tourist office by the aire & I needed a well earnt cup of tea. The parking here is sloping, there are nice views, a few picnic tables & of course you can buy Roquefort cheese, which is lovely.
After our little break we headed for Millau. Just after the Millau Viaduct 1st came into view we found a turning where we could pull into, take some photo’s & of course have a quick cuppa.
We drove into Millau & briefly stopped at the Aires no: 4 page 226 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N44º.05.750 E003º.05.133 for Google earth). The aires is not in the best of areas, there’s plenty of parking places & it’s probably okay as a night stop over.
We drove around Millau took the A75 south over the Millau Viaduct which cost €11 & we were disappointed with the views from the viaduct, but glad we drove over it. We then came off the A75 at junction 47 & headed back into Millau via the D809. By doing this we had now seen the viaduct from all views & coming into Millau this way there is a terrific viewing point to stop at.
We then drove back through Millau & took the D809 scenic route to Le Rozier then the D907 through the Gorges Du Tarn. What a fantastic choice of route & what fantastic scenery. The Gorges Du Tarn is a great place to visit the drive is great the scenery is fantastic. We saw loads of birds of prey, at one time there were about 25 – 30 flying overhead & the river in the gorge is crystal clear.
There is so much to see & do here it really is a must place to visit. There’s canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting, walking, cycling & of course fly fishing. We spent a long time here & as time was now getting on we needed to get to our overnight stay at Florac.
So I punched in the sat nav co-ordinates picked the roads we would drive along & off we set.
Now as some of you may know, the aires are not always near the named places. We carried along the D907 through Ste-Enimie until we reached the junction of the N106. We turned right heading for Florac turned left onto the D998 drove through Le-Pont- De-Montvert, nearly there. Then we turned right onto the D35 only a couple of miles to go, sat nav tells me to turn left. It’s now getting rather dark & I can’t turn left as there is a dirt track road in front of me. Something not quite right here I’m thinking, okay carry on & let’s see if we can take the next turning, another dirt track road. Now it’s getting very dark & all we can see are the shadows of the mountains & occasional lights.
Each time we turn the sat nav tells me I’m further away & the mileage is more & so is the time it’s going to take to get there. Well after driving now in the pitch black on mountain roads with some very nasty bend we end up at Tavernole. This place is no where near the aires we are trying to find & it’s now 9.45 pm. So what do you do? You turn right heading for Ales & just up the road on the left hand side is a big parking area for a château. So we’re now in a place called Portes & are now parked up in the car park of a château. So what happened to the aires & where is it?
Well it’s now 10.15pm & all I can think of is a nice cup of tea & then bed.
The château we parked at overnight at Portes I logged the co-ordinates as Nº44.16.089 Eº004.01.559. It was very peaceful there & it has a picnic area, toilets & public barbeque. The château is open from July to the end of August & costs €4.80 per adult. The views there are very nice & when you walk around the château you can see the restoration work they are carrying out.
Day 56 – Monday 01-09-08
After yesterday’s long hard day & frustrating drive into the darkness of the night, today we are on a mission, to find the aires we seemed to get lost trying to find last night. We didn’t have much sleep last night as we were up at 7.30 this morning to admire the views & take a good walk around the grounds of the château. So after several morning cuppas we looked at the map, re checked the sat nav co-ordinates & off we set to find the missing aires. From Portes we re-traced some of our route & the sat nav still told me I was only 4 miles from our destination & to turn right. No can do it’s a dirt track road leading into the mountain. We drove & we drove & we could now see what we drove through in the darkness of the night, twisting mountain roads & narrow bridges along with some very narrow streets to drive through. After driving through Vialas & once again through Le-Pont- De-Montvert we pulled over to have a cuppa & to think about what was going on here. In the aires book the co-ordinates are Nº44.19.517 Eº003.52.400, well that seems to be the middle of a mountain & I ain’t driving through it. Now we have the Camper Stop Europe book & up to now we haven’t really looked at it. So out of curiosity Sonia had a look through it & found the aires we were looking for which is actually at Florac. Camper Stop list the co-ordinates as Nº44.19.32 Eº3.35.25 bingo, on the sat nav I am now looking at Florac. So after reaching the end of the D998 we turned left onto the N106 took the 1st turning to Florac, followed the motorhome sign & we were soon parked up having a cuppa at Aires no: 104 page 211 in the aires book. I logged the co-ordinates as Nº44.19.548 Eº003.35.406. So from this we have learnt always park up before it gets rather dark & don’t go driving through the mountains at night if you can help it. Also check & re check your co-ordinates, destination, route even if it’s getting late & you are feeling tired because of the wonderful day you have had. At least we had seen some even more great scenery whilst on our aires chase.
From Florac we drove to Aubignas Aires no: 40 page 377 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N44º.35.236 E004º.37.899 for Google earth).
Day 57 – Tuesday 02-09-08
After a wonderful relaxing evening & a very peaceful nights kip polly was busy whistling away.
After a couple of tough driving days we decided to stay at Aubignas for the day & have a nice peaceful & relaxing day. Once again the day had started bright & sunny & it was getting hot. So I decided to have a good sort out in the garage, change a few things around & clean the motorhome.
After lunch we went for a walk around Aubignas & thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful panoramic views this hillside village has to offer. This place nearly has it all. It has wonderful panoramic views, birds of prey, wild blackberries, figs, mistletoe and fresh spring water, properties with character, no shops, lovely walking & cycling routes. So what’s missing? A river, if this place had a river I would have probably stayed there for a week or two. Oh well you can’t have it all but in our opinion Aubignas is a lovely place to visit & the aires is in tip top condition.
Day 58 – Wednesday 03-09-08
Overnight we had a spot of thunder & a few showers but the morning started cloudy with sunny spells. After a few morning cuppas we left Aubignas & drove to Montelimar & then we took the scenic route to Dieulefit, Bordeaux & Saillans. We then headed for Die & stopped at the lovely le Claps which is a kind of place created from fallen rocks. Le Claps has some great scenery & it’s great for walking, rock climbing & watching birds of prey. There is also a river which runs into a beautiful sea green pool which turns into a mini waterfall the other side of the gorge. Unfortunately motorhomes are banned from parking there over night so after spending quite some time here we headed for Gap & when we saw the aires we quickly drove on by & headed for the parking spot at Col Bayard which is aires no:24 page 191 & is listed without co-ordinates. To find this ideal parking spot when you leave Gap you take the N85 Grenoble road. You go past the D944 on your right, past the Col Bayard resort on your right & as you start to drop down the hill you will see a small church on your right & on the left hand side of the road is a restaurant. Just as you approach the sign for the restaurant turn right & you will see the communal parking area on your right. Just find some where to park, enjoy the mountain views & have a very peaceful night’s kip. Even though the church rings its bell until 10pm & the N85 is close we found the noise was minimal & it was very peaceful & quiet all night & we were the only ones parked there for the night.
I logged the co-ordinates for here as: Nº44.38.415 Eº006.05.170.
Day 59 – Thursday 04-09-08
After a wonderful night’s kip & the usual morning brew we left Col Bayard heading for Orcieres.
We have decided that as we’re in the Rhone Alps region we might as well look at some of the ski resorts while the weather is still good & take in some hopefully breathtaking scenery. Orcieres is at an altitude of 1850m & is apparently one of the top ski resorts in this area. So here we are driving up these steep winding mountain roads & I’m scared of heights. Well at least I have me cups of tea & plenty of fags to calm me nerves. The scenery certainly is well worth the effort to get to theses places & I’m now probably turning grey before I should be. Seriously the drive to the resort was great & even though some parts of the road was a bit tight it was well worth the effort to get there. We arrived at Orcieres Aires no: 81 page 206 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N44º.41.704 E006º.19.562 for Google earth) by mid morning. To get here you just follow the D944 to Pont Du Fosse & keep going until you reach the ski resort of Orcieres. Motorhomes park on the top level of car park no: 5 & it costs €12 per day with electric hook up. There are instructions on how to enter the car park outside & the machine only takes French credit cards. There is a warden who comes around to collect cash but as it’s out of season we parked in the car park by the tourist office. There is a service point in the car park & those who arrive early I’m sure get the best views overlooking the mountains. The tourist office told us that most places are shut until the ski season starts in December & there is extensive work going on in the resort as they are putting in a brand new ski station & chair lifts. It all looked great & I’m sure those of you who know this resort can tell us what a great place it is in the winter. We had a look around the resort & after a nice cuppa we took the scenic route to La Rochette. From there we stopped at Lac De Serre Poncon which is a 3,000 hectare reservoir & claims to be the largest lake in Europe. The water is an amazing colour & there are the usual activities associated with this type of resort. From there it was back up the winding mountain roads to Les Orres Aires no: 105 page 212 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N44º.30.010 E006º.33.371 for Google earth). The drive up to Les Orres was very scenic & it’s at an altitude of 1564m. The aires is well sign posted & the parking is on a large gravel area behind “Salle de Hors Sacs”. It’s right by the ticket office & chairlift & even though these resorts are also advertised as good summer walking resorts everything is closed until the winter season starts. The views of the mountains are great & we were lucky enough to have 5 birds of prey circling overhead. Tonight we have had some thunder along with some great streaks of lightening & it’s fascinating to watch the mountains appear & disappear under the clouds as they roll in & out of the valley. I’ve managed to calm me nerves a bit by relaxing, having a few beers & plenty of nicotine. In the morning I know I have to drive all the way back down the mountain road but at least I’ll be back on the ground.
Just to make myself feel good we are heading eventually for Mont Blanc.
Day 60 – Friday 05-09-08
After thunder storms & heavy rain overnight the morning started bright & sunny. After me usual morning cuppas we decided to leave Les Orres & head into Embrun. The aires no: 19 page 190 is listed without co-ordinates is at the Intermarche supermarket off the main N94 road. The LPG is expensive here & you get it & pay for it in the Roady tyre garage which is also handy for any motoring accessories you require. There is a Bricomarche next to the Intermarche supermarket & there is also a McDonalds there. After getting some supplies ready for the weekend we drove into Embrun to have a look around. The town has an interesting cathedral along with quite a few shops & the usual bars & restaurants. We left Embrun heading for Mont Dauphin; from there we took the road to Guillestre & then the D902 Combe Du Queyras road which is amazing. This was the most scenic & amazing road we have driven along so far. There is a dam & river gorge running all the way along this stretch of road & the scenery is amazing. We stopped at nearly every opportunity to admire the surrounding scenery. We stopped off at some of the Kayak launching trails & the water here was ice cold & very refreshing. We were very lucky at one point as we could sit & watch Salmon trying to jump up the river. If you love rafting, kayaking this is a great place to visit.
We eventually arrived at Château Queyras where we found a nice parking area next to the river.
We stopped there over night along with a few other motorhomes & it was very peaceful & quiet.
Day 61 – Saturday 06-09-08
The morning started bright & sunny just what we wanted as we were heading for Casse Deserte.
So after the usual morning cuppa we set off along the D902 heading for Arvieux. The road is a slow winding climb & there are plenty of altitude markers just to let you know how high you are climbing. This is also I believe a Tour De France route as there are plenty of cyclists pedalling their way up these steep hills. After passing through the ski resort of Arvieux we headed up for Casse Deserte. There are quite a few places to stop & have a picnic on route & the main parking area for the Casse Deserte is marked at an altitude of 2360m. After a well deserved cuppa we headed for one of the view points. There are plenty of walkers along with cyclists in this area & the views are fantastic with Mont Thabor which stands at 3181m visible in the far distance. Sadly there was an extremely ice cold wind blowing here so we cut our walk a bit short & headed back to our motorhome for a cuppa & to get warm. We left Casse Deserte heading for Briancon & stopped along the way to admire more amazing scenery & to taste the fresh running mountain water.
We drove through Briancon & headed for our overnight stop at Le Montier Les Bains. We found an area which has a large parking area & services which is near one of the ski lifts & I have logged the co-ordinates as; Nº44.58.256 Eº006.30.760. There are about 25 of us parked here & there is probably parking for around 100 motorhomes here. This parking spot has plenty of mountain views & we could see 2 mountaineers walking along the top of one of the ridges. The weather has turned a bit sour with heavy rain & low rolling cloud but it’s still great to be here.
We are heading for La Grave which has an Ice cave at 3200m & some terrific views of Mount La Meije which stands at 3983m & from here you can also see Mont Blanc which stands at 4810m.
La Grave has cable cars to get you to the 3200m point & from there you can take breath taking walks to Puy Vachier Lake, refuge Chancel & there is even mountain biking here. I don’t think we’ll be visiting the glacial crevasses but we’ll definelty be visiting the ice cave with its amazing ice sculptures.
Here are some useful websites for you to look at:
Grotte De Glace: http://www.grottedeglace.com
Excursion onto the glacier, mountaineering & hiking: http://www.guidelagrave.com
For now its time for a cuppa then off to bed & we’ll hopefully wake up to another beautiful day.
Day 62 – Sunday 07-09-08
Just what we ordered, the day has started dry bright & sunny. So after the usual morning cuppa we left Montier Les Bains heading for La Grave. The drive on route provided the usual good scenery & after a few stops & a few cuppas by mid-day we had arrived at the Telepheriques De La Grave.
So here we are parked in the large parking area just past the cable car lift where there’s a bar & a rafting centre with some gites above & I’m wondering what on earth am I doing here looking at the height of the mountain & the route the cable cars are taking. So after a cuppa & a few fags we walked to the entrance of the cable car lift. You can take single trips or return trips up to either stage 1 which is at 2400m or go to the top at 3200m. Single trips, I want to come down not be stuck up there. So after looking at the information which is at hand we decided to buy 2 return tickets to the 3200m stage at a cost of €36 for the 2 of us. So here we are getting in to the cable car which is going to whisk us up to 2400m & then we have to change cable cars to reach the 3200m summit.
Well I must admit the trip up was great, the scenery was fantastic & the weather was dry & bright.
When we departed from the cable car at 3200m the wind hit us & it was time to get the jackets on.
So what’s the 1st thing you do when you get to this height? You go into the restaurant & order 2 coffees & a large plate of chips along with bread rolls so you can make a chip butty.
After our meal at 3200m it was time to explore this glacier. The views were great from here & the tables of orientation show you where the different mountains are. I must admit I was a bit disappointed with the view looking from the restaurant to the ice cave. I thought it was going to be a fantastic see for miles type of view instead of being in a kind of dip on a glacier view. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean from the pictures. The glacier with its crevasse’s looked mean & if there would have been the opportunity to hire the necessary equipment & the guide we would have paid the €85 each to walk out onto the glacier. We believe the glacier walk has to be arranged a few days in advance of your arrival & there is a telephone number for you to ring to arrange the glacier walk.
So we headed for the ice cave, easy access & safe. Well the route to the cave is a bit tricky especially as its quite a steep walk down & the snow is quite deep in places. I trod in one part & my foot went down to my calf muscle. As you start to head towards the ice cave there are ropes which you need to hold on to but if your unfortunate like Sonia was then you just slip up on your bum.
Of course I rushed to help her after I stopped laughing & took a photo.
The ice cave costs €4 each & as your there it’s worth seeing. It has matting laid down inside & it’s surprisingly warm inside. You can see & hear the glacier melting in some parts & one part of the cave was closed as it was underwater. The sculptures are interesting & were well worth visiting.
At 15.45 it was time to depart the glacier & take the 30 minute trip back down to earth. By now the cloud had come over the mountain & there was very little to see. Back in the cable car I put the camera into movie mode & videoed the whole trip down. On playing the video back it seemed like we were hardly moving but believe you me, the trip down was scarier than the trip going up.
Safely back on the ground it was time to get back to the motorhome & put polly on. Sitting there reflecting on our trip to 3200m all we can say was it was brilliant & I’m looking forward to the 3,842m trip when we arrive at Mont Blanc.
Hang on; did I just say I was looking forward to it? I don’t like heights & I want to do it again.
Must be the air I’m breathing here, making me think strange things.
Where we had parked the motorhome we had fine views of Mount Meije & we decided to park there overnight. I logged the co-ordinates as Nº45.002.643 Eº006.18.044 it was very quiet & peaceful parked there overnight & the mountain views were great. Funny enough we were the only ones parked there.
Day 63 – Monday 08-09-08
After a very peaceful nights kip the views of Mount Meije at 07.30 in the morning are great. Polly was busy whistling away & it was time for me morning cuppa. We left La Grave heading for Vaujany which is aires no: 88 on page 386 & is listed without co-ordinates. I was going to take the scenic D211 to Alpe d’Huez but with its 21 hairpin bends Sonia was looking a little pale as some of the mountain roads we had already taken were a little bit on the dodgy side. So after leaving Le Bourg D’Oisans we took the D44 & then the D43A which was a steep climbing winding road.
We arrived at Vaujany late morning & this aires should be prominently listed. I logged the co-ordinates as Nº45.09.415 Eº006.04.793. There is parking at this ski resort for 15 motorhomes & some of the parking is sloping. The aires is free & there is electric available for each of the 15 parking bays with tokens available from the hall in the centre of the village. The scenery is great & there are 3 cascades in the mountains in front of you. There was plenty of construction work going on as with all the ski resorts we have so far visited as perhaps they are preparing for the coming season. We can only presume that people who go skiing know about this lovely place & to get the best views you probably have to arrive early.
Now one thing we would like to know is that do all ski resorts have major construction work carried out in preparation for each season? Some seem to have new cable car stations along with chairs, chalets etc being built in the resorts. So is that why skiing is so expensive & do people really travel up in those chair lifts. Some of them really do look scary so I think I’ll stick to the cable car.
If we would have arrived at Vaujany later in the afternoon we would have stayed there but as it was late morning we decided to move on. So after a good look around Vaujany & a well deserved cuppa we decided to head for Barrage De Grand Maison. The scenery on route was great & we found a nice place to park by this massive lake which I logged as Nº45.13.479 Eº006.08.755.
There is plenty of walking, cycling, fishing & birds of prey in the area & with fresh running mountain water all around you it was a great place to park up overnight. So we decided to have a bit of a lazy afternoon here as it was a lovely hot sunny day & to just chill out. There are some decent size Trout here & even though I could see them we didn’t have fresh Trout for tea. We enjoyed our stop here & I even done my good Samaritan bit by jump starting a car which had a flat battery.
At night the mountain views were great & with a half moon shining bright in the night sky the views were awesome. It was very peaceful here & there were 5 of us parked there overnight.
Day 64 – Tuesday 09-09-08
After a little spot of rain overnight the morning started dry bright & sunny. After me usual few morning cuppas we left Barrage De Grand Maison still heading for Mont Blanc.
We followed the rest of the scenic D927 heading for St-Etienne-de-Cuines. On route we stopped at St-Colomban-des-Villards where I tried out a bit of mountain climbing. Now for someone who is scared of heights I think I must be either going mad or it’s the water I’m using for me cuppas that’s making me do these strange things. As you can see from the pictures it was tough & I didn’t use the suggested safety equipment. I don’t look that scared in the pictures but believe you me that was quite a high climb. Well it’s a start, who knows perhaps one day I’ll try a much higher climb.
From there we followed the N6 going through Modane to Lanslebourg Mont-Cenis. From there we took the very scenic D902 which is a rather steep winding road where we reached the Col de L’Iseren at the altitude of 2770m so we thought it would be a good time for a cuppa & a photo shoot. Now as you all know polly has been working rather hard throughout this trip so I thought it was about time I showed her some of the sites. So with polly in hand I showed her around the summit & even took her photo at the 2770m marker point. I think the French thought we were mad standing there with what they must have thought was just a kettle. But polly is no ordinary kettle, she’s a trophy of British tea.
After polly was safely back in the motorhome she was happily whistling away & after a quick cuppa we left Col de L’Iseren heading for Val-d-Isere. On the drive down from the mountain we spotted a lovely parking spot at a place called St-Charles. So under the mountains watching the Lammergeier’s flying high we decided to park there overnight. There is plenty of walking routes in this area & I must admit the road across from Lanslebourg to St-Charles was pretty scary in places.
So after a great day’s drive we spent a very peaceful night parked here along with a few other motorhomes & I logged the co-ordinates as Nº45.27.284 Eº007.02.230.
Day 65 – Wednesday 10-09-08
After our morning cuppa we left St-Charles taking a rather interesting drive to Bourg-St-Maurice.
From there we took the D902 to Beaufort which was once again another scenic steep winding mountain road with a peak at 1969m. We stopped at Les Saises Aires no: 4 page 368 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N45º.45.749 E006º.32.024 for Google earth).
This aires is at an altitude of 1650m there is a large parking area where you have to pay €7 to park overnight & there is no Flot Bleu service machine here, there’s nothing apart from the parking area.
You only get good mountain views from the other side of the road so after a quick cuppa we decided to head for Les Contamines – Montjoie Aires no: 7 page 369 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N44º.18.872 E005º.06.004 for Google earth).
From St-Gervais-Les-Bains we took the D902 & drove past the Montjoie aires to a large parking area on the left before you get to the no through road sign. There is a WC there, lovely views & plenty of walks, cycling & climbing in the area. If you walk up the road there is a bar restaurant & a fantastic Chapel to see. If you take the river route you will come to another fantastic chapel built in the rock face. So after a good walk around we decided to park in the car park overnight instead of going into the aires & paying €15.50 to stay there. We were fortunate enough to take some pictures of a squirrel very close up & the river which runs next to the car park was another great asset.
I logged the co-ordinates as Nº45.47.678 Eº006.43.069.
Day 66 – Thursday 11-09-08
After a very peaceful night’s kip & the usual morning cuppa provided by polly, we decided to carry on & head for Mont Blanc. We stopped in St-Gervais-Les-Bains Aires no: 9 page 370 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N45º.53.250 E006º.42.783 for Google earth).
This aires requires a jeton which is available from the tourist office. So we walked to the tourist office picked up a few tokens & enquired about trips to Mont Blanc. Now it seems funny to us that a lot of the tourist offices have a lot of information in French, German & Italian & hardly any in English. Do the English not travel to many of these places or are they trying to tell us something.
After we looked around St-Gervais-Les-Bains we went back to the aires, serviced the van & left.
I couldn’t think why anyone would want to park at this aires overnight unless you really needed to.
By mid afternoon Mont Blanc was in our view & it looked great. There was a rather large traffic jam waiting on the tunnel approach road so that gave us the opportunity to take some photos & look through the binoculars & what was in store for us. We parked at Chamonix Mont Blanc Aires no: 27 page 374 (if you have the all the aires France book or sat nav co-ordinates N45º.55.150 E006º.52.133 for Google earth). The parking area here is large & it’s a chargeable car park costing €5 for 10-15 hours & €10 for 16-24 hours.
There is fair ground people occupying one part of the car park & no one can get to the service point.
So after a cuppa we decided to go to the Telepherique office & enquire about the trip up to see Mont Blanc. After getting our information we decided to have a look around. About 3 hours later we were heading back to the motorhome. There is plenty to see & do here & it’s a shopper’s paradise. There are plenty of shops, bars & restaurants here & there’s even an Irish Pub. So we decided to park at the aires overnight & after having dinner we set off back into town to have another look around & of course a few pints of Murphy’s & Guinness to calm the nerves before our very high cable car trip up to the 3842m view point of Mont Blanc.
You can get more information on the Aigulle du Midi & other Compagnie du Mont Blanc sites by looking at the following website: http://www.compagniedumontblanc.com
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