From Home to France

Monday, 15 May 2023

Our taxi arrived, ahead of time, and had us in Cardiff by 4:45am (Yes! am; morning; before dawn) to meet our first transfer vehicle. It, too was 5 minutes early and so we arrived in Magor a little early, where our main transfer coach was ready and waiting. We were away by 6am.

The usual tour of places on or near the M4 motorway and a 45 minute comfort break saw us at Stop24, Folkestone, for 11:10. The transfer process to our tour coach was the fastest we’ve experienced; all done in 30 minutes and we were away.

And then the border at Dover. Les français sont aussi rapides qu'un vieux escargot 🐌. One coach at a time. Everyone of the coach. March through, Stared at. Passport stamped. Back on the coach. The Brits weren’t much quicker, but at least they boarded the coach and scanned passports with portable scanners. And smile. There was an outside chance we’d make an earlier ferry. Mais non! Still, we were comfortably seated, tea or coffee served and so the hour or so waiting to board the ferry passed easily enough.

We were on board the ferry by 14:45 (UTC+1) and had a calm, trouble-free crossing with time to enjoy tea & beer, arriving in France at around 17:35 (UTC+2).  Disembarkation was quick; we were parked right at the front of the ship. Bienvenue en France. 🇫🇷

A longish trip from Calais to Cretéil (a south Paris suburb) saw us arrive at a Novotel at 21:30. Not the usual “en route” lodgings. A 4-star premises that, at first glance, seems worthy of its rating. Our standard double room is large and comfortable enough for a longer stay (but - there’s always a fly in the ointment - its location is not vacation-friendly - an out of town commercial area).

We’re setting off tomorrow at 08:30 for Montpellier, so a chance for a much needed lie-in and leisurely breakfast.