Followers of mine on Twitter must be wondering what on earth I’m doing posting photos from the length and breadth (almost) of France recently on Twitter, well here is why.

My husband is newly retired and as a pair of rabid francophiles we promised ourselves a good round trip to France to celebrate. A sort of ‘adventure before dementia’.

I finished this book on the last day before the trip. Angling Bumateurs from Lesley Krier Tither aka Tottielimejuice. The fifth book in the very enjoyable Sell The Pig Trilogy Love the title! Feel like an Angling Bumateur most of the time 😮 My Review for the book is Here

Family had rented a caravan on a camp for a week in Frejus down in Southern France, so we decided to join them but drive down, stopping overnight twice, stay for ten days renting our own van, then travel back home with two more stops for us on the way back. We’d be away for two weeks in total. We loved Provence, had spent quite a few holidays there but had not stayed in that part of Provence.

The trip out didn’t start very well, it has to be said. The ferry crossing from Poole to Cherbourg on board the Brittany Ferries ship Barfleur was the worst I’ve ever had. Very rough crossing. Churning seas and stomachs, Husband was sick, which is a virtual unknown for him. I usually suffer from seasickness and can’t even stand on a floating pier without wanting to vomit, so wore sick bands (acupressure) which worked so I was a little bit smug about the whole thing. Unfortunately though there was a party of schoolchildren on board, most of whom were prostrate on the floor of a lounge clutching sick bags bless ’em. I had planned to read from a kindle but couldn’t really take my eyes of the horizon because regardless of my magical sick bands I felt queasy too (but wasn’t going to admit it of course 😉)

On the journey down in an overnight stay in an Campanile motel I had an email from David Videcette, the former Scotland Yard detective, now author and anti-terrorist advisor. As I’d shown him a lot of support for his previous book The Theseus Paradox would I be interested in having an exclusive cover reveal for his new book The Detriment. Would I? Hell yes! Now even though the internet service was very poor and I virtually had to sell my soul to get something uploaded to WordPress. I did it! I wasn’t going to miss out on the cover reveal of the year. Finally late at night, it all uploaded. Cover reveal blog post is Here

We spent another night in a B&B motel that had no tea making facilities, which for anyone who knows me understands that I love my cups of tea ☕️ I also can’t function without three cups of tea in the morning or I can be very grumpy! (Take a travel kettle if planning a similar trip)

At Frejus, the caravan we were allocated had dirty, smelly seating, the couriers put it down to “high turnover”. We stayed five days, two of which we couldn’t sit down in the van on the awful seats and ate our meals in the bedroom. We decided enough was enough, abandoned that holiday (still waiting for a refund from the travel company: update – they have now offered a decent refund) and booked a gite further up in the Rhône-Alpes.

During the stay in Frejus, it rained a lot, which was virtually unheard of at that time of year (May). The rain meant that I had plenty of time to read. First up was the book Exquisite by Sarah Stovell. A debut thriller published by the great Orenda Books, that was a really fascinating read. Review to come later.

I’m on the blog tour for this one, so decided to do a bit of a #booktour with it and take it with us on our road trips.

At a rainy Frejus beach where a fire plane practiced scooping water from the sea to put out forest fires in that region. Exquisite is with me.

On the road to the alps 

Up to the Rhône-Alpes to our lovely little gite up in the hills in a little village called Glandage. Beautiful scenery and the gite was tres rustique but lovely and clean with a massive log burning stove if we were cold.

It was here snug as a bug up in the hills that I started to read Valerie Poore’s book Faring to France on a Shoe. I’ve read and really enjoyed the other books from Val’s series about life aboard her live on barges on the canals of Holland and Belgium but this one was about a trip away in a canal boat to northern France made by her and her partner Koos.

My Review is Here 

Stunning scenery but extremely hairy roads up in that part of France with tunnels through the rocks and steep drops if there is even the slightest error or bump with another car.​​ The nearest town to us was a place called Die. Yes you read that correctly – a place called DIE!! They do produce a beautiful sparkling wine in this region that we couldn’t get enough of  called Clairette du Die. We certainly needed it to calm our nerves every evening. A video of us going through very narrow tunnels cut through the rock with hairpin bends would not upload. We had to go out and return through the tunnels each day.


More scenery (if bored by holiday snaps look away now) These beautiful wild flowers were growing in the mountain scree at the side of the road.

This particular colour of Iris are growing everywhere in this area.

A Poilu stands guard over the very well – maintained memorial in a tiny village in the alps. A reminder that like ourselves, the French lost loved ones in both conflicts during WW1 & 2, from every part of their country.
What the French are apparently reading. I haven’t heard of most of those authors, oh except of course for the La Fille du train from Paula Hawkins.

During this time and greatly influenced by Val Poore’s book (see above) where they decide to stay in France an extra week, we decided that life was too short, and as we had a decidly bad first week we thought we’d defer our ferry crossing and book an extra week somewhere else in France. So we did just that and booked another gite up in the Loire Valley for the following week.

Bought this book during the above week and I’m really looking forward to reading it.Buy it here

Read all about our stay on the Loire, me having seven litters of kittens preparing for my Peter James (yes THE Peter James) blog tour in Part 2 coming soon….,