Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What a day to go driving in France - but had a worthwhile diversion

According to France Magazine that I was reading just before we went on holiday, the weekend of the 7th/8th August this year, and in fact the 7th August is precisely the worst of the "black traffic" days in 2010. The "black days" are those days highlighted by the French department for traffic information (or somesuch similar) as being those days that are particularly likely to busy, difficult to drive on, and prone to delays.

And of course the 7th August was the day that we were had inadvertently chosen to drive down from Calais to our Brittany Gite.

Oh well, we'd already booked and paid for the Eurotunnel crossing so we had to make the best of the journey.
Only 15 minutes after leaving Eurotunnel we ran into a traffic jam on the autoroute just south of Boulogne and I feared that the travel premonitions had come home to roost. Fortunately the delay was just caused by a small section of roadworks and after 5 minutes or so of queueing we were back on the move again.

In fact the motorway drive down through Pas de Calais, the topmost corner of Picardie, Normandy (both Haute Normandy and Basse Normandy) and into Brittany was fairly trouble free; the only other hold up was at the last toll booth on the Autoroute just outside Caen where they are building a new wider toll booth with more lanes and increasing the section of Autoroute to 3 lanes - and of course we got held up in the roadworks there for a little while.

The last section of the route we take down through Brittany is dual carriageway for almost the entire journey but there are 3 small sections where the N176 narrows down to single carriageway. At the first couple of these restrictions there were slight holdups but nothing to write home about (or at least to write a Blog article about), but at the third where the road narrows to a long bridge over the River Rance estuary I could see the traffic slowing down when we were 2km or so from the bridge and so elected to turn off and try to divert round the bridge.

Well the sat-nav tried to valiantly re-route us back back onto the N176 as we hared down country lanes, through villages and cross-country away from the traffic jam on the bridge until eventually it admitted defeat and selected a new bridge route further upstream across the Rance. As we got to the bridge between Lyvet and La Hisse on the D57 we saw it was a swing bridge which had just opened to let a number of tall sailing ships through into the harbour.
Boats waiting to leave the harbour lock

You don't see this every day - a boat's mast crossing the street!

Entering the lock beside the swing bridge

Next boat ready to pass under the swing bridge and enter the harbour lock

10 minutes later all the sailing boats had crossed through into the lock beside the swing bridge, the bridge closed again and we were on our way. No more holdups and we reached the Gite well before dark.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home