Like ex-employers who insist “your cheque is in the mail”, I’ve always been suspicious of the proclamation: “Statistics don’t lie.”They are ,after all, the mathematical creations of Statisticians. The Human kind. Who have been known to”misspeak”themselves. And even, on occasion(shock horror)lie! Thus,it is a minor(personal)miracle I have no such qualms with the statistic that French Travel tops the “Travel Hit Parade” for North Americians.
My own humble(but authentic)experience confirms whatever the appropriate numbers are. Virtually every third person I meet, (especially during “The Season”) is a non- Froggie.
The attractions are the same ones the locals enjoy. Achingly beautiful nature. Food. Wine. Art. History. And culture with a capital”C.” The reasons the majority of the French holiday in their own country. They really do have it all! As they will inform you,without hesitation. And, since the classic “all-the-French-on-holiday”month is August, this is, bien sur, the perfect time to NOT be travelling in Europe’s premier playground.
How do you travel? – Let us count the ways:
Mr. Ford’s great little invention is great for getting from point A to point B, with a maximum of comfort and a minimum of inconvenience. Not withstanding occasional Summer maladies such as overheating, no garage open, and the number of other travellers who have decided(without consulting you!)to travel the same road to adventure.
2. Country Roads(work)
Another potential grain ‘o sand in yer gears, is roadwork.For reasons that defy North American logic, all seeing/all knowing French bureaucracy has decreed that Summer is the best time to make those highway”improvements.” Nationwide. In cities. Towns. And,sigh,yes, that perfect little village you’re trying to head to.
3. Something Hairy This Way Comes
But wait – there’s more! There’s something that could put a “crimp” in both yer holiday and yer car at the same time! It’s a uniquely French “speed bump.” Unique because – it’s alive!
“Sanglier”(-pro –”sang-glee-yah) is the French wild boar.(Think large hairy pig with dinosaur tusks) They sleep during the day. And hunt for grub at night. And, in hunting for said grub,cross roads running through the woods. You’re getting my drift,are you not,dear reader?
More comfort than the car. And, because of that, more”challenges.” The principal one being finding a place to hunker down for the night. With precious few exceptions, if you’re not in a designated/dedicated/definitive area – you’re up the creek without a paddle. Ok – you might, in this totally unfamiliar countryside, find a secluded spot. But, as “Dirty Harry” might say in this situation : “The question you gotta ask yourself is….Do you feel lucky tonight?…….Camper!!!?
more skill testin’ stuff…
Then there’s stove gas, water, sewage disposal, lack ‘o privacy/seclusion, plus all the same “blue meanies” that apply to cars.
Although(To use my Mother’s favourite phrase)in your “secret heart” you know this – DA BG(Froggie hipster to da world) is reminding you that anyone even remotely considering trying to enter a major French city in “The Season” in any type of four wheeled motor vechile, is not just a sick puppy, but a sick puppy with a death wish!
After football,the greatest source of French National pride is it’s rail system. Particularly the train known as the “TGV.” (“Tres Grande Vitesse” – very great speed) Clocking in on some routes at 500 plus kms per hour. This is the premier national service of SNCF, the French rail authority. And, bien sur, you pay accordingly. Basically 20% more than the regional trains.(TER)
THROW ME A BONE HERE PEOPLE!
What are ya thinkin’?