Waking up this morning was horrible as we knew it was our last day in France, our last morning with our new favourite doggles and most of all this beautiful little house we have called home during our house-sitting mission.
With this said, it has been a wonderful experience. We have successfully completed our first house sit, the dogs are still alive, and we have made friends for life with our hosts so overall it has been wonderful. As our flight wasn’t until 7pm we made the drive to Les Baux-de-Provence which is a very picturesque Medieval village at a fortified rocky site between Arles and St Remy-de-Provence.
Nimes & Pont Du Gard
We were up bright and early this morning to head 40minutes West to Nimes, the biggest city in the area to pick up Leo’s friend who was in France for work. He hasn’t seen him for a couple of years so I knew that today would have been wonderful for me and much needed ‘boys time’ after spending 5 months with me every.single.day.
Nimes is the capital of the Gard department and VERY historic, full of beautiful ancient architecture and roman buildings. It has existed since the 2nd century b.C. In Roman times, Nimes was called Nemausus and was a Roman colony, which was a privilege given to only to some cities. This is main reason for which there are that many Roman monuments in Nimes. But after the Roman Empire disappeared, Nimes began to lose population and importance to other near cities. Nowadays, it is the perfect place to enjoy history and sunshine alike and most importantly, take a whole heap of touristy photos, enjoy a glass of wine, an espresso and people watch while soaking up these city vibes.
Our first stop however, was Pont Du Gard, located in between Nimes, Uzes and Avignon, it’s the most visited ancient monument in France, listed a world heritage site by Unesco, the Pont du Gard aqueduct remains one of humankind's great masterpieces! It took us a little time to get there as there was a political issue so the army/police closed off one of the entrances but upon arrival (eventually) we arrived and 5EURO each later we were situated in front of this stupendous site which was simply breath-taking.
From there, we hopped back in the car and came home to enjoy some wine, an anti-pasti platter and to soak in the sun before an afternoon of adventures. Back to Nimes, we had been told that we simply cannot visit Nimes without seeing the Roman Amphitheatre or Les Arenes. This is the most important monument in Nimes and probably the best preserved Roman theatre, or coliseum, in the world. This is because when the Roman Empire disappeared, Les Arenes was used as a fortress, in which a whole neighborhood was established. Nowadays, the theatre is used as a bullfighting ring.
It is pretty great to be honest, we never ventured is because we are cheap but we did walk the city, exploring the streets and finished our evening with a coffee, wine and an hour of people watching before home to Uzes. Budget wise, Pont Du Gard usually costs 9.50EURO pp but as the museum was closed we managed it for 5 EURO pp – winner! Food and drink wise everything is pretty cheap here, wine was 3 EURO a glass and you can pick up and espresso for about 2 EURO so if people watching is your thing then you can easily have a cheap afternoon of walking and enjoying this city.
We have spent the past 2 days exploring the beautiful little village of Uzes, Saint Quentin La Poterie and most importantly … THE HARIBO FACTORY!! Did you know the Haribo factory is located in France and … in this tiny little town of Uzes where we are staying… who would have thought?
I should mention that we are in love with Uzes, the town, it’s beauty, the fact it is SO FRENCH and the little shops, bakeries, alley ways and beautiful architecture has really made this trip a once in a lifetime adventure.
The Haribo factory, located about 5km’s outside of Uzes is impossible to avoid as it is signposted for miles and probably has the biggest car parking area in the region AND I am huge lover of sweets. The museum and tour teaches about the history of candy and the methods used to make it but for 7.50EURO pp we opted for the massive sweet shop and a few photos of the random statues littered all around the garden instead as we found it to be a rip off.
10minute drive from Uzes, located in the heart of Uzège is the small quaint village of Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie built of narrow streets and old stones - a historical and cultural heritage of the ordinary and a great place to snap some wicked photos.
A background of this beautiful pottery filled town is since the fourteenth century, the village has managed to sustain its business and gain international fame in the world of ceramics. There are now there twenty pottery workshops and many craftsmen that are sure to open their doors. There is also a market here every Tuesday and Friday but we managed to miss it both days.
Another beautiful walk that we did was the Vallée de l’Eure, located just South of the town and super popular with locals and National tourists to go for picnics along the water. It’s a brilliant walk, filled with ruins, a nice stream way to walk along and shaded by large trees which can be a god send to get out the sun! IT’S SO HOT IN FRANCE!
What I need to mention is La Fougasse D'Uzes, a local bakery in town which you 100% have to visit. It has quickly become my go to in Uzes and I go there everyday, even just for a look at all their cakes, pastries, savories, freshly bakes bread and delicious treats! I actually bought 3 cakes yesterday which I managed a taste of each before I turned my back and our bloody monster giraffe of a dog hopped up onto the cabinet and ate them all. Tried and tested, humans and dogs alike, love these cakes!
Our favourite aspect of this trip however, is having a home to come home to, somewhere where I can cook nice meals, we can sit and watch t.v with the dogs and in the afternoon I can lie by the pool, topping up my tan, listening to podcasts and overall having not a care in the world (apart from the fact that this week we have to book Africa, so no doubt that will be stressful)
The start of House sitting
Thank god we are out that Air B n B, shockingly on our last night it was the noisiest it has ever been so we both never slept a wink! Great news is that we are off today to the South of France for our first every housesit! We are part of trustedhousesitters which I have written about before, allowing us to watch people’s pets/houses while they are on holiday. Pretty much apart from work.away these are the 2 companies we are using to keep costs down while traveling, while also giving back and meeting some amazing people.
On this particular house sit, we would be staying in Uzes, South of France about 40 minutes from Nimes. We hopped aboard a beautiful train from Gare De Lyon in Paros and 3 hours later we were in sunny, hot Nimes waiting for our car rental. After our disaster in Iceland with our rental, I can honestly say that this experience was perfect. We hired for SIXT and the girl that served us was ace, and she even changed our drop off to the Airport for Sunday to save us some time and cash.
The drive to Uzes was picturesque - rolling hills, vineyards and orchards for miles. The small towns we passed were so ancient and med evil that my smile reached ear to ear as we got closer to our destination. We were so early upon arrival that we spent some time in the town to grab a bite to eat and explore. A question I asked myself when walking this small town was ‘Have you ever experienced the real France?’ Because while wandering these streets, I can now say I have.
I’m not talking about the sidewalk cafes of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, or candy-coloured pastries stacked prettily in a window. What I mean is the baguette-in-a-handbag-on-the-way-home-from-the-markets kind of France, usually found in tiny towns in the countryside. As it was Monday and lunch time, the town was deserted so we could walk aimlessly, totally alone, snapping photos and peeking in the windows of small shops and galleries.
We arrived at our house sit around 2pm as by that point it was literally too hot to explore any more. Our hosts Johnathon and Alice welcomed us with warm hugs and smiles. They were off to Barcelona so we would be looking after their 2 poodles – Chauncey and Maggie. Beautiful dogs but holy fuck, Chauncey is a horse. This dog is a fluffy monster whereas Maggie is smaller, and certainly the cuddliest of both. The house is amazing, located 5kms from the town of Uzes, it’s a lifestyle property with a pool, vines, fig orchards and it just perfect for our first sit. Take a look for yourself, isn't it nice?
We spent the afternoon enjoying getting to know our hosts, the doggles and tasting some of Southern Frances best Rose which was delightful before heading into town for dinner that evening. We were both exhausted and when we heard that the reservations was 8pm, I nearly died as we were starving and exhausted. After a tiki tour of the area and being totally overwhelmed with the beauty of the surrounding towns however, I caught a second wind and we sat up drinking wine and eating A LOT of food for hours then strolled through the beautifully lit town.
We had a long lie for the first time in about 4 months. I woke up at 7.30am and Leo not until 9am – how dreamy! I reckon after walking the city yesterday, our bodies were kindly telling us to fuck off if we even thought about getting up early. On the road by 10.30am we planned the Louvre, a creperie that I have read/drooled over for a while and then hopefully meeting Leo’s family in Paris for a catch up.
Day 2 of transport in a new city is always way easier so getting into town was a breeze this time. Our first stop (after I inhaled a gigantic coffee) was the Louvre. Instead of a 5km walk we opted for the Metro, taking about 10 minutes and much more convenient than walking. To my bloody despair, upon arrival I realized I hadn’t charged my GoPro though, so I was one unhappy bunny. Regardless, the few snaps we took on the phones were still fantastic as despite the trillions of other tourists the site and gallery are truly spectacular, and I found myself completely immersed in the beautiful architecture.
My goodness though today is hot. Yesterday was hot as we hadn’t been in temps over about 12 degrees in 3 weeks but today is burny skin hot.
However, that wasn’t going to stop us and our mission to get to Au P’Tit Crepe – located South of the Siene and about 3kms from Notre Dam (which we passed with sadness and regret that I never witnessed it in it’s glory days) . Now, I had read about this creperie on Buzzfeed, I know, it’s very millennial of me but I decided it was on my Paris bucket list, so I made Leo trek after me for quite a large walk to find it.
The crepes for 1 are the biggest I have ever seen as was the queue in the melting hot sun outside. After getting Leo a wee table in the shade, I waited patiently in line and 30minutes later I was attempting in my best French to order us 2 deliciously large, filled with goodness crepes. For $6Euro each we could have easily shared but with that price we wanted to try 2 different kinds and my good god they were worth it. So delicious, filled with cheese and Parma ham, salad and seasoning, I have to say I was in HEAVEN.
Be prepared to queue as its never quiet here but 100% recommend! We both unfortunately never managed to finish them as when you are profusely sweating it kinda makes the hunger disappear so after a strong attempt from both of us, we felt physically ill and gave up.
Next stop was the gardens of Luxembourg which after arriving I realised is how every public gardens should look – impeccable, beautifully coloured and well maintained. Truly worth a visit and there are a lot of places to stop with a picnic which looked fab as well. It’s 3pm by this point and we are exhausted, so after the ‘lets go for a beer’ look, we headed back to the Siene to go to Fluctuart again. On the way we stopped at this amazing little bar Mozza and Co, to watch the long boarders and with Peroni for 4.50EURO we decided this would be perfect for the afternoon.
Leo’s family came to meet us here which was a win, as we know how to get home from this location and it meant no fucking around on trains like last night. I know it meant a lot to him as well to see him family in Paris so it was a great way to finish what can only be described as a wicked weekend in Paris. 57000steps we walked in 2 days, and only spent $130Euro which to us was a pretty good budget.
Tomorrow, we hop on an early morning train South to Nimes, to grab our car and head off the Uzes for the start of a new adventure – Housesitting! Stay tuned and wish us luck!
Bring on Paris
So, we are 160 days in to the Big adventure and we are now I France, Paris to be exact but only for a few days before setting off on our very first house sitting adventure in Uzes, near Nimes down South!
We arrived late last night and to our upmost joy straight into a 1 day transport strike. As we were staying OUTSIDE OF PARIS you can only imagine what a massive pain in the tits that was. Nearly 3 hours after arriving at the Airport we made it to our Air Bn B in Rosny-Bois-Sous. The apartment itself is nice, but our ‘superhost’ couldn’t be anything further from. The space itself , apart from boing modern has NADA. No tea, coffee, towels, soap …anything, so she will be losing that superhost badge fairly rapidly I imagine. It’s also ridiculously hot and we have no fan or A/C. JOYFUL!!
Moving on, we have 2 full days to explore the wonders of Paris, a city referred to as the ‘city of love’ due to its fantastic sights, incredible food scene, language and beauty which can be seen as you turn every corner. It has been welcoming tourists for centuries and after a short visit about 10 years ago I was desperate to see more.
I’ll start buy saying the train/metro system here is hard, it’s confusing and the best way to think of it is like London on steroids. A great app to have is ‘citymapper’ and also, I highly recommend Google offline maps - download the full map of Paris on your phone beforehand, you will not regret it. On our list today was the Sacré-Cœur, Moulin Rouge, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and potentially the Louvre Museum if we hadn’t died of exhaustion by then as FINALLY we are back to warmth at a sunny 29 degrees.
Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!