South of France – Traveling with Dogs to Marminiac, France
This is about our going to the south of France, and our first week there, after 3 days of traveling and a few days of unwinding. We’ve been here for 7 days now. We left the US last Saturday morning (Sept 29) and flew through Boston to Paris.
The dogs have never traveled this far. And, of course, they have never been to the south of France. We wanted to give them a break during the flight, and so didn’t fly directly to France — we stopped in Boston. The flights were 5 1/2 hours to Boston, and 6 1/2 hours to Paris.
We originally were going to go through Miami, but the projection was that the temperature in Miami would be right around 84 at the time we took off, and the airlines will not let you fly if it goes higher than that. Therefore, it was not worth the chance that we might not be able to fly.
If you are going to fly with pets to Europe, you have to take into consideration the weather where you leave and arrive, and anywhere you stop along the way. Plannig is invaluable, becase we want to get everyone to the south of France healthy.
So, American Airlines was nice enough to change our flight, at no charge, since we were flying on frequent flier miles. Using miles is a good way to go if you may change your flight, because they are a lot more flexible than if you simply get the cheapest flight you can. Of couse, you have to have the points or miles in your frequent flier account!
It was enough of a challenge to do the whole thing with the dogs anyway, as we will describe in another blog post. The idea was that we would split it in two parts to minimize the stress on us and the dogs. They would get to rest and do their thing in Boston, on the way to the south of France.
So, Sunday Sept 30, we boarded our plane to Paris at 7pm and had a relatively short flight to Paris. It was actually a lot shorter than if we went through Miami. The dogs did great and so did we!
Once we landed, we got luggage and the dogs and then picked up our rental car at the airport and drove 6 hours south to our new home.
We are near a town named Marminiac, near Cahors, in the department of Lot (think “Lot/Dordogne area”), south of France.
After arrival we had to get cleaned up. Most people in the south of France, which is generally very rural, do not have driers, which are common in the US. Or they may have driers but not use them because most smaller houses do not have a lot of power coming into them, and power can be expensive.
Note JB hard at work on the laundry. Good boy.
This is what is called a “Gite” in the south of France. It basically means an old French farmhouse that has been fixed up as a rental house.
Generally a gite does not have great insulation, but that is made up for by the warmth of the atmosphere and the beautiful surrounding.
We’ve all been hanging around together, but they left yesterday to spend a couple days up in Paris before Sheila heads home. Barb and Craig will be back here on Wednesday.
We are loving everything about it here. Traveling is easy – much less fuss than in the US. When we arrived, they didn’t even scan our passports – just stamped them and you move through a very short line.
We picked up the dogs in their crates in the baggage area – and no one looked at them either.
The people in the south of France are very friendly, the roads are good (drivers are very scrupulous about passing on the left and then moving immediately back over to the right – very courteous), the weather has been sunny and warm. It’s been drizzling all day today (Sunday), but it supposed to be hot again this coming week.
This analysis of driving applies to the freeways, or “autoroutes” in French. Actually, in the south of France, like most of Europe, drivers like to go as fast as they can on the back roads, and courteously gete right up behind you, waiting for a chance to pass.
Main: Pork chops, pears drizzled with blue cheese, scalloped potatoes, broccoli and carrots.
Dessert: a lime no-cook cheesecake, cheese and grapes. It was scrumptious.
Yesterday was our one-month anniversary of being retired. We love it. Can you tell? Happy as can be in the south of France.
For more info on the south of France, see the Wikipedia entry on South of France.
Happiness to all,
Carol & JB