Friday, 18 May 2012

The French Pin

FRANCE (Wednesday, May 09 - Saturday, May 12 2012)

The pins: Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Marseille, Montpelier, Narbonne

Menton - Le Perthus: about 900km.. fast but not under pressure.. having already find our pace.. filled with tips and experiences from two other travelers.. full of Mediterranean hospitality.

Italian-French borders

Wednesday afternoon we arrived to Menton, the first French town after the borders from Italy. All provincial network from Pavia (before Genoa) till Monaco was overwhelming full of uphill and downhill turns, surrounded by green landscapes and having the Ligurian Sea on your left side... the ideal route for a motorcyclist. During driving, I remembered a very good friend, Elias Vrohidis who have crossed all Central Asia and India with a Honda XR250. 

We did a short break before Monaco just to get some rest and take some photos. We decided to go further to Nice. It proved to be a wrong decision since we got stuck for one hour due to traffic jam. Pissed off with the whole situation, we moved further and we "camped" in the first Service Area we found in the motorway to Antibes. We counted at least 20 public paid parking areas withing the Nice city center. 

Topless in Cannes
Next day we decided to visit Cannes. All the city was working on the forthcoming Film Festival. We enjoyed the sunny walk path near the beach and we walked till the Great Auditorium. At the end, we did our first bathe on the beach. The sea was relatively cold and dirty because of sunbath oils. After that, we moved further to Marseilles. A lot of traffic jam in the city center. No reason to stay.. We "camped" in another Service Area on the way to Montpelier. 

I was aware of the football team of Montpelier only but Georgia insisted in giving a short break to the city. Beautiful city, modern, with classic buildings, fortunately without traffic jam. At the end of the day, we camped in a small seaside village, La Nautique outside Narbonne. We found a  nice camping (La Mimosa), not too expensive with all the amenities. We filled up our batteries, literally and metaphorically and the next day we headed to Barcelona.

We had decided not to spend so much time in France as we spent in Italy. We did not want to look around or visit something significant but just pass through and move to Spain.


We liked: Nice and Cannes have an unparalleled glamor.

We didn't like: The French receptionist in the camping "La Mimosa".. "Maybe it's the last time you pay in euros" when we told him that we come from Greece.. just three days after the last national elections.

We saw: The French motorcyclists thank the car drivers when they open the road by lifting their right foot. Several prostitutes across the French province from Marseille to Narbonne (as in Italy). Countless public paid parking in all cities.

Driving in France: The French roads are of high quality on any network you move. French drivers are really good and they do respect the driving law. However, in Nice was the first city where the drivers made use of their horns. As in Italy, we moved on the provincial network and drove at medium speed. Zikos did not exceeded 80 km/h. 

The route from Cannes to Marseille (DN7) is wonderful and it is strongly recommended especially if you want to avoid tolls. Our friend Elias Vrohidis will definitely love this route.

Average price for diesel 1.36 euros. As in Italy, the job of gas-boy tends to disappear. Almost all stations are open 24/7 where you can be self-served.  

2.000km till Montpelier

Car: In general terms, we did not have any issues with the car. The average consumption has not been changed, as we did not change our driving mode and the road network was excellent.

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