Our French adventure

What an adventure it was. It wasn’t at all the holiday we’d planned, but we learnt that LR is so much more adaptable than we thought. We wanted to take her along with us so we’d worked out rental cars, Euro Tunnel times and hotel bookings. But disaster hit on day one.

Day one – It seemed like it was going to be a long trip with LR whining for about two hours before she resigned herself to car travel and snuggled into her big grey blankie. The Euro Tunnel train was delayed by over an hour but it all worked out okay and this gave us more time to explore the designated pet exercise area and grab more coffee. No pet checks required this side, we just breezed through onto our coach.

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We got back on the road pretty easily and it was smooth sailing until about 6pm, twenty minutes outside of Versailles, when the car came to a grinding halt. Luckily there was a lay-by on the motorway which we managed to pull into as the front wheels refused to turn any further. It was panic stations as we searched the car for numbers to call. Who would come and save us? I even tried to call emergency services. Eventually a tow truck arrived and all three of us climbed in the front with our worldly belongings, blankets and two larger than average dog beds. We drove into Paris in a tow truck (so stylish), dropped the car at a depot and then taxied back to the hotel before collapsing into bed.

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Le Louis Sofitel Versailles. A great, centrally-located hotel, minutes from the gates of the Château de Versailles. There are some tree-lined green spaces along the side of the road that work well for pit-stop walks. Dogs are welcome and well-catered for (bed, food and water bowls) at a small surcharge. LR and I hung out in the lobby and bar area a lot!

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Day two – It was a day of phone calls and frustration. We now had to arrange somehow for the car to be moved to a BMW garage. We were stuck at the hotel most of the day. It could have been worse I guess.

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Day three – This was a day of hurry up and wait. No news came and no-one could tell us what to do next.

Day four – We finally managed to convince Sixt’s insurance to arrange a replacement car for us, but had to make three trips to different depots to get one of an equivalent class i.e. big enough for LR’s multiple bed options. By 2pm we were on the road again but sadly it was going to take too long to get down to the South coast and had to spend the night in a roadside hotel. This being our wedding anniversary, it was more than a little disappointing. 😦

Day 5 – We finally arrived at the sea in the afternoon and took a trip to the beach to show LR the waves for the first time before checking into our Airbnb home.

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Cap d’Agde beaches – our closest beach was la plage de la baie de l’amitié. It’s quite a deep stretch of sand when the tide is low and great for dogs who like to run. LR ran into the ocean for the first time while chasing a seagull and got a bit of a fright when the water got deeper. Having never visited this area before, it turns out we were really lucky as the beaches and suburbs to the right further along the coast, Plage de Rochelongue and then Richelieu, got busier and more built up.

The house was beautiful and exactly the same as the photos on Airbnb. The weather was kind to us and it was great to just chill out at the pool or nap in the sun.

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Going home – The trip back was less eventful but seemed longer in the car, as it always does. One more stop en route. Another night, another chaise longue for LR.

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The Trianon Palace Versailles. The main hotel is gorgeous and the ‘pavilion’ extension is lovely too, but has more of a corporate feel with loads of luxurious meeting rooms. We were in the pavilion but LR seemed right at home amongst all the suits. (The hotel also has a Gordon Ramsay restaurant which we were sorry to miss out on but LR’s table manners were not deemed adequate.) This hotel has a slightly more expensive doggie surcharge but what an amazing location for a dog! The hotel gardens are gorgeous and very convenient for early morning or night time walkies. Dogs to be kept off the grass and out of the beds… this applied most of the time. However, the real perks of this hotel are the green fields, tree lined paths and bridal ways that begin just next door.

Before we left, we explored the park areas surrounding the hotel after meeting the goats in the field opposite. LR didn’t know quite what to think!

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We did a drive-through at the Calais pet reception area where LR had her passport stamped and then we were on our way home, all of us feeling excited to see the kitties again. No place like home!

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