After spending several weeks in France in our new home, it was time to leave and head back up to Germany. My mother-in-law lives in Kassel, Germany, which door-to-door is about 1,450 kms from our place. We decided to throw a few detours in by doing a bit of sightseeing and visiting friends along the way.
Our first stretch break was in Saint-Pierre-La-Mer, so I could see the coast. Pierre had been here before, and he wanted to show me this stretch of beach. I think it had more to do with the town being named after him, but I got to see and smell the Mediterranean Sea!
France is a pretty country to drive through, and after a few hours we drove over the Viaduc de Millau. After crossing the bridge, we stopped at the visitor center to look at the side view, and to learn a little bit more about it. Construction began in 2001 and it was opened to traffic in 2004. It’s the tallest bridge in the world, with it’s highest point towering 1,125 ft. above the ground. It’s considered by many to be one of the greatest engineering achievements of all time.
Pierre knows that I have a “thing” for Gustave Eiffel, the engineer and designer of the world-famous Eiffel Tower and the inner framework of the Statue of Liberty, so he wanted to show me the Garabit Viaduct. This wrought iron railway arch bridge was also designed and constructed by Gustave. It was completed in 1884 and for many years, it was the tallest bridge in the world. Gustave was a busy, busy guy during this time—the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889 in time for the World Fair in Paris.
If you want to read a good book about Gustave Eiffel & the Eiffel Tower click here…Eiffel’s Tower.
On a whim, we decided to stop at the Puy de Dôme, because among other things, it’s a famous flying location and Pierre wanted to see it. We enjoyed watching the paragliders, but it was too late in the day to take the train to the top of the lava dome. We visited the Visitor Center and found out that the train runs year-round, so maybe next time we can go to the top.
The Puy de Dôme is part of a chain of 80 dormant volcanos known as the Chaîne des Puys. The entire region, stretching over a 45 kms, is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. France is home to 45 UNESCO World Heritage sites.
We stayed on the outskirts of Dijon after our first day of traveling, and no, we didn’t buy any mustard, but we thought about it! In the morning, we traveled about an hour off-route, so I could see the town where Chocolat, one of my favorites movies was filmed.
The movie starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche was filmed in the village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in the Burgundy region of France. For those of you who saw the movie, I’m sure that you would immediately recognize the shop where Binoche‘s character, Vianne, sold chocolate to the villagers. Over the years, I’ve probably watched the movie 5 or 6 times. It’s dark, sensuous, and delicious, just like the chocolates in her shop!
The store front is empty now, and just like in the movie, it’s located across the courtyard from the church. I was hoping to peek inside the church, because several scenes from the movie were filmed there, but there was a funeral being held. Bummer—maybe next time!
It was a beautiful town and well worth the drive, because the scenery on the way there was magnificent as well.