petite anglaise

August 1, 2004

crafty buffalo

Filed under: french touch — petiteanglaiseparis @ 3:43 pm

There was me lamenting that Paris is no place to be in August, but I’d rather be in the metropolis than trapped in an overheating, non air-conditioned car on a French motorway…

Weekends in July and August are colour coded (orange, red, black) by the bison futé (literally the “crafty buffalo”, and no, I have no idea why a government traffic observatory would choose a name like that) so that you can plan ahead and know how many hours you can expect to spend gridlocked in traffic jams on the nation’s motorways. Yesterday was rated orange, but there were still 300 km of bouchons.

Holiday rentals in France tend to run from Saturday to Saturday, and in peak season many hotels operate the same system. So whether you like it or not, there is no escape from this motorway purgatory. Imagine if you will the queue for the toilets in ‘service’ stations (think petrol station with a small shop) up and down the country.

Over two thirds of French people choose to holiday in France, many staying with family or friends, or in their residence secondaire. Not particularly adventurous I grant you, but I can see the logic: if all you want out of your holiday is farniente and skin fried until à point, there is little point paying more to go further afield. The thing I have never been able to understand is why people who live in blocks of flats choose to go and stay in resorts in the South of France in an identical block of flats with (or without) a sea view.

I’ll keep you in suspense about my plans for this summer, but it’s safe to assume it won’t involve Palavas Les Flots.

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