Abandoning Paradise

Chapter Four     Crossing France

Some Pictures from Montelimar

As soon as I get off A7 (Autoroute), I start seeing photo opportunities.  I'm not actually in Montelimar but rather I'm about ten kilometers north.

I was too cheap for breakfast here at the motel so I went searching and a Boulangerie / Pattiserie is a place for pastries and sandwiches.  The conversations when I visit places are always comical as I know so little French but the request for a sandwich was handled quickly:  no!  But she could offer me a piece of pizza for €2,20 and it was quite a large piece.  OK, breakfast is handled.

The picture of the nuclear reactor cooling towers amused me for multiple reasons.

What is the picture of a baby on a nuclear reactor tower supposed to tell us. The wind turbines next to the towers give an interesting twist too. Maybe next they will put solar panels on the sides of the towers.

What is most amusing / troubling is that they are so out of place.  It's a lovely quiet community here and its biggest occupation is making nougat.  Who in the world would choose that as a location for a nuclear reactor complex, the biggest I have ever seen anywhere.  I have never seen one before with four cooling towers.

The river behind the cooling towers is, I believe, the Rhone and N7 follows it.  N7 is the equivalent of a German Bundestrasse or a U.S. state highway whereas A7 is the equivalent of the Autobahn or an American Interstate.

The latest thinking is that I should look for another tent and a cheap sleeping bag in Lyon.  It's about one hundred kilometers from here and getting a tent means I would be able to go with camping again for a tremendous reduction in costs plus staying with N7 means there will be no tolls.  I learned a great deal yesterday and first is that the Autobahn is fast but boring and it's also the most expensive way to travel in France which is very expensive in any case.

I know some of you are looking to what I encounter to plan your own trips so consider well about using the Autobahn.  You will not see France any more than traveling the Interstate will show you America.  Plus it will cost you about a euro for every ten kilometers while the state highways cost nothing.  The speed limit on the Autoroute is 130 kph but the limit on the Bundestrasse is 90 kph.  If speed is your only consideration then the Autoroute may be of value to you but it doesn't seem a very good way at all to experience France. It’s probably the worst way unless you just fly across.

France is on the whole very expensive, particularly next to Italy or Greece.

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Looking North from Montelimar

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