May 18, 2024

France – Driving to Nice (20-22 April 2018)

The bus trip from Andorra to Toulouse airport took a little over 3 hours and passed through some beautiful mountain scenery.

In Toulouse, the rental car company, SixT, upgraded us to a bigger car with no drop-off charge because they needed the car in Nice. Turns out a bigger car is not necessarily a good thing in a country with narrow roads designed for smaller cars. Fortunately, we made it to Nice without any dents or scratches (there may have been a few indentation in the interior from us occasionally gripping too hard).

We had decide to drive to Bezier for the first night. We had been on the Midi Canal through Bezier on the hotel barge Anjodi in April 2008! Obviously, this visit would be considerably different, seeing the city from dry ground and on foot.


Our guest house, Rêver à Béziers, was not easy to find, even with our GPS, and there was no convenient parking. After going up several dead ends, we thought we had found a place to park. Unfortunately, as we started to leave the parking area, a person who worked close by, informed us (through gestures and French we didn’t understand) that the gate would close in an hour and not open until the following Monday morning! Since this was Friday, that would not work for us at all. I can’t imagine what we would have done if our car had been held hostage when we went to pick it up the next morning. Of course we moved the car and after driving around another 15 minutes, found a spot between our guest house and this parking lot. We unloaded some of our luggage and walked a couple of blocks to the place we were staying.

Rêver à Béziers

Once we had checked in, we walked to the Fonserene Locks, where we had come through on the Anjodi. The walk was further than I had anticipated and the temperature was warmer than was comfortable. We made it to the locks, walking through some side alleys and back yards, but there was almost no one around and the first eating place that showed up on our Google maps didn’t seem to actually exist. It was not easy convincing Pat to continue walking all the way back they way we came and go the other way to the top of the locks (of which there are 7) to see if there was a restaurant that was open, but when you are hungry anything is doable. Fortunately, there was a nice restaurant, Le 9, at the top and we had a fine dinner.

The next morning, our breakfast was brought up to our room. We then packed and started back to the car. When we got outside, I tried to find the car keys, but they were not in my pockets or in my backpack. I began to panic. As calmly as we could muster, we walked back to the car – probably hoping I had dropped them under the car. I hadn’t dropped them, I had left them on the center console in plain view, with the doors unlocked! Boy had we been lucky…

Our next destination, half way between Bezier and Nice, was Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer. As Pat had driven from Toulouse to Bezier, it was my turn – so off we went.


We had never been to this town, but it was on the Mediterranean Sea and I had been able to secure a hotel on the water. The trip did take us near places we had been 10 years ago, such as through the Camarague.

Saint Cyr sur Mer is a very touristy town and arriving around noon, parking was difficult. We found a parking lot to temporarily drop the car and walked to the Hôtel Chanteplage. It turned out the hotel had a few reserved spots in an area off the lot we were parked in, so it was back to the car to move it.

It was back to the hotel to check-in, drop our bags and check out our room and it’s balcony, what a view!

Then we went to find lunch and walk the beach. Unfortunately, none of the restaurants on the beach caught our fancy. I had seen a small place near the hotel, but a block from the beach and that’s where we went. It was not only cheap, but it was good.

After lunch, we spent most of the afternoon on the beach.

When it was dinner time, we ate at the restaurant attached to the hotel. We watched a group of young guys next to us playing cards but using an odd shaped deck. They appeared to be about an inch longer than the cards we are used to. Pat said she wanted to tell Drew, our magic and card trick-loving grandson about them.

After dinner, I wanted to let the front desk know that we would be leaving around 6 AM, the next morning, however, the desk was closed for the evening.

The next morning when we left, the front desk was still closed, so we left the keys on the counter with a note and 3 euros (to cover what I remembered the cost of our parking space). I later was reminded that the charge was more, so I texted the office and apologized with an offer to let them add to the credit card we had used. They replied that it was not necessary and thanked us for staying with them.

Our plan was to get to the Nice airport by noon. Jenny (Pat’s daughter) would already be there, having dropped her husband Tom off for his flight back to the U.S.A. for the week. She and our grandsons would hang around the airport until we arrived, then drive us to Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, where we would be staying for almost 2 weeks. That part of the trip is the subject of the next post.

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