The Aires of France

Friday 24th October

We are back in France for ten days and I have survived the journey.  Survived?  Well, we do it one go, driving 665 mile from London to Eymet.  My partner drives and I am the passenger, but it is that inactivity that I find to be the hardest.  I am getting used to it but it still makes me incredibly tired, or maybe it is that all that adrenalin from rushing about working and packing in London has now dissipated and suddenly sitting for hours doing nothing tires me out.  The saving grace though are the Aires.  I can remember our UK service stations which were a by-word for poor quality though they have improved of late, but there still aren’t that many – you can die of thirst between stops for coffee.  On French motorways there are plenty and almost all are excellent.  The French tend to place far more emphasis on eating anyway and come breakfast lunch and dinner they expect to be able to eat decently wherever they are.  Even just having a coffee and croissant is always an option but a full meal (at meal times only) is also available.  There are always little shops too selling essentials for travelers.  There are also plenty of simple Aires which have a toilet and a few tables and chairs and parking places to take a break from the rigours of the road.

One thing I always notice is a proliferation of little birds hopping about and picking up crumbs.  They dart about among the tables and near the cars where they know humans will be carelessly eating and dropping bits of bread or cheese.  These tiny birds hop around and seem incredibly plump on their pickings.   Sometimes especially in the summer while my partner takes a nap I take a book and lay on the grass with the dogs reading and taking a break from the tedium of the journey.  Thank Goodness for these Aires, else I might go totally mad driving down here.