1.433 miles in 5 days. 286 miles a day. I never realized how big of a country France is, until my mom and I went a French road trip for 5 days.
The five days went by SO FAST, too fast and in the moment I knew it. Some days I would close my eyes so time would slow down and I could enjoy every second.
The moment we picked up our little Black Fiat from the Orly Airport, we set sail for the West of France. Mainly, we just really wanted to get out of the city and go anywhere. We found our rest spot at a nice lil Airbnb on the 4th floor of a cute Maison in Rennes, France. The owner was very nice, super cool with her punk aesthetic, chucks taylors and 3D portrait of the Sex Pistols on the second floor of her home. We got in around 6pm, we mainly just walked around Rennes which was super empty because of the French Holiday called Assomption which in English is Assumption of Mary to Heaven. We did our thing and walked around, ate a bunch of bread and cheese (I broke my dairy rule for France, it was GLORIOUS), watched a bit of Malcolm in the Middle in French then fell asleep.
The next day, we set off for the ocean. I didn’t know what ocean town we were going to stop at, I just wanted to see the ocean. Living in the desert is hard because all I ever crave is the ocean. Cacti is cool and all (and “très chic” these days,right?) but it will never replace my love for the water. We stopped at a little ocean town called Saint-Jean-de-Monts. The little ocean town was very cute with its Ferris Wheel on the pier and Oceanside eats. I had a feeling my mom wasn’t feeling it because it was so crowded and the Bay of Biscay didn’t have big sufer “hang ten” waves. JK. But it was still enjoyable to eat some raspberry ice cream, rest for a bit and watch the Ocean. Then we were off to Bordeaux.
We didn’t really do much sightseeing in Bordeaux but the Airbnb couple that hosted us were very friendly. On the way to Bordeaux, I ate half a baguette and had a TON of crumbs on my dress. I thought “ehhh, I can shake it off when we get to the Airbnb and when I step out of the car, no one will see what a slob I am.” hahah, once we get to the house, the nice wife greeted us before getting out of the car and all I kept thinking about were those damn crumbs. So I hurried up and shook them off on the floor before getting out. Classy, bread eating Amber…
The night was quick, I think the couple may have overbooked (I don’t know the technical terms of Airbnb hosting) so they let us sleep in their room which was very gracious of them. This halfway point in our trip, we were able to do laundry and eat a homemade breakfast which is nice. One part of the Airbnb that was funny was the owner never closed the front door of his house or bedroom. My mom found this odd and kept asking him questions about it, with his limited french, I think he was just as confused about us crazy Americans and why we lock our doors and shut our bedroom doors. I guess, it’s something I never really thought about. But we are a country that runs on fear and coffee. We slept with the doors closed but we kept the windows open that night. I’m pretty this is the night I got all my mosquito bites.
The next morning we awoke to the sun shinning into the bedroom the beautiful bright coral flowers beaming. We had a quick breakfast, met another airbnb-er who happened to be visiting from Rennes. As a thank you ( a goofy thank you) I gave the air bnb host some black Hanes socks and shoelaces from tha motherland. Back in Paris, I was suppose to meet my co-worker’s son and deliver some socks and shoelaces to him. For some reason, I thought he was going to be in Paris longer so I procrastinated on meeting up. In result, he told me to give it a random homeless person (whoops!). I rebelled and gave it our Air bnb host 🙂
So socks given and goodbye kisses kissed we set forth for Marseilles.
I thought I would be prepared for the possibility of butting heads with my mom on this trip but after a 6 hour day (We did however make an awesome pit stop at a village surrounded by a french castle called Cité de Carcassonne) on the road and 3 of it in traffic. Woo! I was not prepared. I tried to lighten up the mood by playing George Strait on Spotify or try to pronounce French road signs the best I could to impress her. She was just not having it. I knew she was culture shocked and she missed my dad. But that night once we got into Marseille to check into our hotel, it kind of just exploded in our face all because of parking. There was no parking at the hotel so we chanced it and parked in some random part spot which I didn’t think was a big deal but I guess it was. Before I knew it my mom was crying and talking about wanting to go home. I felt bad but I was just so confused. Then the front desk lady/demon incarnate didn’t help. She saw two tired, oily, sad looking brown women and dug deep. She gave us the hardest time about our rate and could care less about our parking questions. She then was very sarcastic about any questions we had. I didn’t care. I just wanted to sleep but I know it made everything so much worse for my mom. My only hope was for us to sleep it off. This may have the first of our hardships of culture shock and fatigue but it was most certainly not the last.
The next day was a little more relaxing, oh wait no, after making 15 calls to our Car Rental place (never rent from interrent, they are impossible to get a hold of) to ask if we could extend our car rental we drove to the Marseille airport to wait in the longest car rental line I ever seen. Eventually, I got through to the car rental people at the Orly Airport. It was ridiculous how many times I called and he finally answered extended the agreement in two minutes and that was it. I got out of line, jumped in the car with a smile on my face and was excited to head to Aix en Provence and be serenaded by fields of lavender and raspberry jam. Nope. The little toll gate was down and we needed a ticket. And to get that ticket I had to wait in the line that never ended, this is finally when I got my first feeling of being homesick. I wanted to scream or yell “GUHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” (yes, with the 11 H’s). I was about to go back to that horrid line when a very friendly car rental man used his card and opened the gate. I began to feel cross eyed and anxious thinking about all of this and the phone call that solved the problem in 2 minutes.
We went to Aix en Provence first which was super underwhelming (sorry, Aix en provence) then opted for a day at the beach instead which was the best choice and highlight of the trip. We went to a little beachtown called Cassis. GUH, I cannot describe how breathtaking/beautiful/serene the little town of Cassis and the Mediterranean Sea is. The sea was a turquoise color then blended outward to a deep blue. The best part was swimming in it, I could feel the undercurrent of warm and cold water blending as I paddled my feet. Little kids were screaming in French when the waves splashed onto the sand and sucked back into the Sea. It was definitely worth the endless roundabouts, parental culture shock, cursing google maps every hour and paying the 20 pay tolls.
♥Kraftwerk- Tour De France Étape 2♥