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Monday, 18 January 2010 08:15

Turkey to UK - Aix-en-Provence to Dijon

Day 6

We enjoyed our evening in Aix-en-Provence.  We hope we get an opportunity to return one day.  As we don't have so far to go today, (Monday), we treat ourselves to a lie-in.

The plan is to head north to Dijon, in central France.  We had originally thought to stop at Nuits Saint Georges, just south of Dijon.  It's a lovely town, but we remember stopping there on our outward journey last year.  We arrived on a Monday and there wasn't much open.  So we figure that as it is Monday again, Dijon will be a bit more lively.

As we leave A-e-P, it is a glorious, blue sky, sunny day.  The temperatures start out at 5c, but get as high as 11c en route.  It makes such a difference from the grey skies of Italy.

As we drive north we see the odd reminder of earlier snow falls, with dirty piles of snow here and there on the roadside.  But so far nothing on the roads at all - glad I didn't buy the snow chains after all.  (I may regret saying that once we get to England).

The French countryside is looking good.  It is mostly rolling plains, much of it agricultural, with the occasional copse, and mountains in the background.  Every now and then, as we speed along at 130kph, a village will come into view, complete with small church, and then, in a flash, it is gone.  Some of them look so pretty, (think of the film 'Chocolat'), that it's tempting to turn off.

But we don't: we are as keen as mustard to reach Dijon in good time, so that we can explore.  We check in to the Hotel Republique just before 3 o'clock, and quickly hit the streets.  We want to make the most of our blue sky day, as we don't know when we will see another!

Below: Central Dijon on a Monday afternoon.

Dijon

Below:  A colourful florist shop.

Dijon

Below:  Stunning Dijon architecture, in the old town centre.

Dijon

Dijon is a large city, with a lovely historical centre.  It's an ideal place to meander, with lots of quaint side streets, and beautifully arranged shop windows.  And as you would expect, there is no shortage of places to eat and drink.

Below:  What Dijon is famous for - mustard.  It's very good.

Dijon mustard

We remark upon the fact that in Greece, Italy and now France, the towns we have visited still have their Christmas decorations up.  Somehow, they don't look out of place.  It's not something we have come across before, but in the evening, as we walked around A-e-P, and now Dijon, in temperatures so cold you can see your breath, these trimmings do create a festive atmosphere.

Below: Christmas decorations in Dijon, in late January.

Dijon

So far, our trip has gone pretty much to plan.  Not that there was much of a plan really.  We had a basic route worked out, but we booked absolutely nothing in advance.  We have the final leg of our journey tomorrow (Tuesday), as we head for Calais, the ferry and Kent.

À bientôt....

Start: 10.00
Stop: 14.50
Miles: 304 (490km)
Missed turns: 0
Directions asked: 0
Types of mustard sampled: 5
Snow encountered: none.
CD of the day: Michael Jackson - Greatest Hits

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