Updated: Aug 10, 2019
We left Belgium late Saturday afternoon and headed south to visit my French Mum in Adainville. It was the first time I got to drive the camper and had to get used to travelling with a home behind me. The drive was fine, we were warned that the roads would be hell because the Belgium holiday started the previous day, but we had no trouble.
We arrived a bit later than anticipated but was welcomed at 11pm by a smiling Anne-Marie. We set up the camper and had our first official night in the camper under the old oak tree in Adainville.
The rest of the week was spent cleaning and stocking up the camper and getting the stuff we still needed. While we were working on the camper the twins were entertained by two of Anne-Marie’s grandsons Germain and Hector, who were visiting her. They were older than the twins, but they managed to all get along very well, speaking a French-Afrikaans type of English.
We also managed to catch up with my old friend Nicolas Bugelli and had a great evening with him.
On Thursday we took the twins to Paris by train to visit the Eifel tower, they were very excited to see it for the first time and they recalled how it looked in movies like Ratatouille and Ballerina. We went up the tower and Ben was a bit apprehensive but they both enjoyed it and has a million questions.
We were spoilt rotten and loved our place under the old oak tree, but it was time to pack up and head east. We tried to stay off the autoroutes and ended up travelling along small narrow road and trough little villages that you see on the Tour de France. Our first stop was a campsite in the town of Migennes close to Auxerre in Bourgogne region. It was hot and fortunately there was a swimming pool and playground for the kids, it felt like we were finally on our way after all the effort to do what we set out to do.
Our next stop was in Anse close to Lyon in the Rhone region, we again had a beautiful drive through mainly agricultural area scattered with small villages filled with old churches and castles.
The next day we headed to Murs-et-Gélignieux close to Chambery in the Savoie region, there were rivers and lakes everywhere along the road and we found a campsite next to the Rhone river. I tried a bit of fishing but with no luck.
Just a bit of explaining how the campsites in these touristic places look like, there are usually a swimming pool with all kinds of water activities and a huge children’s playground, then you find fully equipped mobile houses which you can rent and then the camper and caravan stands, filled with campers and caravans of all types and sizes. Looking at the registration numbers, the caravans are mainly from Dutch origin and the campers, German and French and ohh yes…South African. Most of these people spent the biggest part of their summer vacation at one of these spots and they are equipped to the teeth. There are all kinds of activities being held every day from a swimming pool gym session to kids painting classes to a DJ at night. We did send the twins to one of these activities and they seemed to like it, we did, peace and quiet for a couple of hours.
Our last stop in France was in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, it is a cycle crazy area, the 2019 Tour de France will pass a few kilometers from here and there are already shops with TDF merchandise, I have to admit, I already bought my TDF cap and wear it every day.
The drive from Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne through the still snow-covered mountains of the Savoie region was spectacularly beautiful. We passed Aix-les-Bains that is situated on the shores of Lac du Bourget and then past Chambery the capital town of Savoie. We opted to cross the border into Italy via the Mont Cenis pass that reaches a height of 2081m. It was a beautiful twisting and turning road with ski resorts scattered along the route and beautiful lakes at the top of the pass.