Paul and I entered France from the south-eastern coast and stopped first in Montpellier at free aire in town. We got in late and walked to old town to visit with Nick and Tais. We had a lovely dinner at a fancy, expensive restaurant and got back to the van around 1 am. Surprisingly a quiet sleep for being in such a busy city. We enjoyed running the next morning along the river Lez to the coast and back. Then explored the city till mid day.
Paul wants to take me to see the Verdon Gorge so we drive in that direction and stop at another aire, which is really a Carrefour market parking lot. It is raining and there are other campers around so we feel safe and sleep well. Next day we drive and stop in Moustiers-Ste. Marie. We park the van and walk around the interesting town set into the hills.
We decide to go for a run even though its a bit rainy. We run to the start of the Gorge and back. Just amazing. While driving through I took a few photos but it was hard to stop on the small windy roads.
Another free aire in Digne-les Bains by a river and cycle path. Quiet again and other campers. Grey clouds make the next day drive less appealing but its kind of misty and moody. We enjoy the mountains and climbing until the van makes a strange sound, It has little power and we are not sure what to do. We decide to try and make it to Grenoble and a Mercedes dealership.
We make it to Grenoble but we were sweating and the van was super loud and struggling to get power. In the end we had major problems…….
We stayed for the first 4 nights in the van at a popular aire in Sassenage, on the edge of Grenoble. I found a public pool to swim at and shower. Paul and I enjoyed runs along the river and a really long 26 mile run up into the mountains. It took us most of a day but we were in no rush.
We took the van into the shop on a Tuesday and got a sweet air bnb in old town. We thought it would be a one day job at this point. We play tourists and do the city walk, ride on the cable cars, check out the eco district and cool murals, and buy cheese from Les Alpages! A nice dinner at Le Gout Des Autres to finish off our day.
In the end we spend 11 days in Grenoble. We find a cheaper airbnb to hang at and wait out van repairs. Our hosts are nice and we explore new parts of the town. A festival called Detours de Babel was on and we spent time listening to music from the world. I loved the markets, parks and cyclable city. Plus you have a mountain view down every street.