Sunday: Paris

It is the last leg of out trip. Today we drove to Paris to drop off the car we gave been driving for the past many weeks. That went smoothly mainly because it is Sunday and there are few cars on the road. During the week traffic amid the strike is said to be extremely awful. We will deal with that in a few days.

For now, we are enjoying Paris. We walked around this afternoon, found an open restaurant and had a late lunch, and went to one of the many Christmas markets in the city, this one by the Tuileries Gardens. There were crowds of people there but it seemed everyone was having a festive time.


photos: Paris this evening; a deluxe Christmas tree; a deluxe Christmas window

Monday: Vichy

We drove four hours northwest to Vichy today, a step toward Paris where our car is due back in a week. The massive strikes throughout France leave our exit plans somewhat questionable.

Regardless, we stopped in the town of Vienne, France for a long lunch and then drove on to Vichy – about three hours from Paris. We will spend a few days here and see how things go. The city is busy and nicely lit up for Christmas. We walked around a bit but since it is Monday most stores are closed. We will check them out tomorrow.

photos: Vichy’s entrance to a paet of the city; Vienne, where we stopped for lunch; interesting Julius Caesar chocolate heads being sold in a bakery in Arles this morning.

Thursday: Arles

We left Mantry, France early to drive to Arles. It was only intended as an overnight stop and there was nothing we were interested in seeing there – and didn’t want to wait for shops to open. We had a 4.5 hour drive ahead of us.

It was well below zero Celsius and there was frost all over as we drove south. I tried to assess whether the trucks on the highway were taking part in the strike here today and purposely slowing down – especially as we approached Lyon – or just driving cautiously. It didn’t really matter since there was little traffic on our route. It sounds like Paris is a mess.

We stopped for lunch in Flaviac, a small town on the Rhone River. The staff was so kind to us and I’m sure they rarely have Americans visiting. It was a treat for all of us.

We continued on to Arles and arrived in the late afternoon. After getting settled we checked out the city and will visit some of the many points of interest in the days ahead.

photos: an interesting wall a few miles from Flaviac; the Rhone River in Arles; a pretty area near where we stayed last night in Maltry, France