Summer, Travelling

Trouble in paradise

IMG_2955After we endured Le Grand Schlepp aka 16 hours of driving to St. Tropez, I exited our car sans any feeling in my legs but avec a wealth of newly accumulated completely useless wisdom:

  • Traffic jams at 4am are not exclusive to London; the Route de Soleil is an excellent spot for some very early morning bumper-to-bumper fun
  • At 4am, there are more Belgian than French cars on French roads. Amazing, considering that there are almost six times more French people than Belgian. Oh, and that we are in France
  • Everything you ever believed to be true about France and the French will be challenged by a visit to Les Arcs Dors (McDonalds) on the A7 just South of Lyon
    • Being French gives you an instant air of sophistication: the only air that I noticed was a whiff of foul eggs that was breathed down the back of my neck from the guy queuing behind me
    • French children don’t throw food: tell that the little brat that emptied his entire bag of chips down the slide in the soft play area
    • French women don’t get fat: bwahahahahaha

I also had a few lightbulb moments like feeding the kids bananas in the car is a crap idea, but you can’t really call that wisdom. Once the dark brown stains of concrete quality are scrubbed out of the Maxi Cosy’s fabric, I am going to forget about the incident and repeat my mistake next year. What can I say, I am a creature of habit.

A mistake I am not going to make again is renting this house. Upon our arrival, the door lock conked out. According to the lady who let us in, the lock had made problems since the previous summer. No, I don’t know either why you would want to wait to fix it until it completely gave up – ideally when someone rents the house from you for a lot of money. A handyman had swiftly been called on Saturday, who screwed the door to its frame. ‘At least it’s secure now.’ Well, thanks for nothing.

I have spent the past five days waiting for a textbook rude builder to come back with a new lock, whilst only been able to exit the house via the back door and an extremely steep path down the hill. Impossible with babe in arms and small child on hand. With Big M in London, I have more or less been stuck in this house that could do with more than a bit of TLC and a lick of paint. And to add insult to injury, this is also the most expensive house I ever rented in the South of France. Ouch.

Whilst typing this, the kitchen lamp fell off the ceiling and landed with a thump on the floor. 


  1. Oh no! Not what you need at your summer retreat. Maybe this means all the troubles will be out of the way by the weekend and everything will be plain sailing, relaxing, lovely fun for the rest of the time you’re there. I’ll cross my fingers for you! xox

  2. cheryl says

    We Rented a 3 bed apartment in Majorca this summer and it was our 2nd visit, but on this occasion I wasn’t too impressed, the floors were so filthy (wood flooring) that my feet and the kids feet incl my babies hands from crawling were black! I would have thought they could have cleaned the floor but hey!

    And the 3 flights of stairs with two children, buggy, beach bags, nappy bag blah blah was to much

    I’m gonna stop in England next year and take them to Cornwall, lots of lovely beaches there and I can also avoid the flight with two small children.

    One thing I’ve learnt is not many people these days have any time for children and in fact dislike them….which stressed me out before I’d even landed at our destination…. At least I can contain them in a car without the horrid stares 🙁

  3. AaH I feel your pain. We too have done that road trip with children and stopped at the MCDonalds just outside Lyon AND got stuck in a bouchon from Lyon to Cannes which doubled our driving time. Horrific. We now fly and rent a car after the last drive but did it for 5 years when babies were small and you need to back the whole house to take with you. I hope you manage to get some kind of refund on the place you rented but whilst there, try enjoy the sunshine and beaches. Things can only get better? Xx

  4. That’s totally unacceptable! Sorry that paradise is leaving some to be desired for! That’s just bullshit. Those houses are expensive. 🙁

  5. This made me totally laugh! So so true, but the funny thing is most american s believe this be true given the books lining the shelves of the bookstore!

  6. Oh no! Did you drive solo to the South of France? Folks often drove us as kids and have so many lovely memories. Hope things improve pronto x

  7. Oh dear – I hope the house experience isn’t all awful. Funny about McDs – all those books about how the French are perfect really irritate me.

  8. I LOVE your new blog – and I did not know you did illustrations as well – novelist, glamour puss, Mum – is there anything you can’t do??? Anyway my Australian( I don’t hold that against her) Friend said French women DO get fat. And the ones that aren’t fat eat low fat yoghurt, smoke ciggies and drink coffee all day long – and that’s all!

  9. Sorry – my jaw is still on my chest after reading that you drove all that way, with two little ones. You’re either mad or a saint but one thing’s for sure – aint never doing that!

  10. Welcome to my home country! Why am I not surprised? You see, we French are not very good at customer service…Sorry you were stuck at home.

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