Two little Boston Terrier girls bring their Momo & Mr.Momo to Paris for a long stay. These are the tales of their very fine adventures.


On the Road with L&P

L&P would like you to know that dogs are quite welcome at any rest stop along the French highways to stop in for a cafe express, or a sip of water, or a croissant. The croissant is what L&P order most of the time and they do enjoy them a little too much if you ask Momo.

There are many boring hours spent traveling on these roads, like the A6 and A40 on the way to Chamonix, that is until you come to, voila - a tunnel. No one builds bridges much around here. They like tunnels, lots of tunnels under the mountains. Tunnels seem to liven up the drive.

Again, I digress. We were talking about rest stops. Anyone who has driven through New York State, for instance, knows the boredom of the Thruway. Think Thruway with a twist. A novel twist if you ask Momo when she is in a good mood. In a bad mood, like, oh, say she has to pee, and all that is available is a pit stop with toilets that are - wait for it - holes in the ground - will make her pretty annoyed. It is 2007. Do you think they could afford the whole freaking toilet with the tolls the charge? On the A40 things were a little bit more rustic than the A6. On the A6 you could find real toilets, and very clean bathrooms. And you could find decent coffee. Not so much on the A40. Mostly very bad coffee, very bad drivers, and a confusing lack of toilet facilities for human beings. Especially in a country where a bidet is a given, how could you substitute a hole in the ground with a pretty porcelain rim and call that a toilet?

On the A6 L&P lounged in the nice restaurant with Momo and Mr. Momo while having express and croissants and salad (with jambon of course). L&P had their own chair and were masters at getting a good deal of lunch out of Momo. In fact, many visitors came up to L&P and wanted to know what kind of dogs they were. BTs are rare around here and many tried to tell us our Bulldogs Francais were too thin....

There was plenty of grass for L&P, and even gardens to make it more enjoyable to stop and have cafe. Almost no one took a cup to go. The French are quite civilized about sitting down and drinking coffee. But Momo did see lots of Coke (no Pepsi here) leaving the building. Momo also said that you won't find Pelegrino or Perrier for sale in the cooler on the New York State Thruway for sure. Nor the bottles of wine that were for sale. Or the Camembert cheese which Momo hoped that no one bought because it really smells.

So if you travel on highways in France, give the A6 a try. Skip the A40. Take a train. You will probably have a better bathroom on the train.

Now, a word about French drivers. Please please please, try to put your foot on the accelerator once in a while. It happens that the speed limit, which is mighty stingy to begin with, seems to be a guideline. And thus, why the "right" rule is necessary. Almost no one speeds. And almost no one was on a cell phone. A contrast to everyone in Paris who walks around with a cell phone glued to their head, everywhere, above ground and in the Metro underground which amazingly has a signal always.

Perhaps they are just used to driving that slow in anticipation of the "traffic" cameras that snap pictures of speeders. How do I know this? Why because there is a nice sign warning you each and every time how far up exactly the camera is that will snap your picture if you are going over the speed limit. Only once have we seen the camera go off, silly driver. There were plenty of signs warning where it was.

And one more word about drivers. Specifically parking. I publicly apologize to the Frenchman I insulted at one of the A40 rest stops who double parked his silly car which was towing a boxy little trailer -half next to our car, mostly keeping us blocked in. What was I thinking when I asked him to move his car? Silly Momo. He was taking a break and not to be bothered. What the heck. Half double parked was ok by him (he managed to park the trailer and left the car in the roadway blocking us).

And I ask this question out of curiosity. Why is it that almost a third of those families heading out on what looks like holiday, tow a trailer behind them? Not the kind you sleep in, but the kind that holds stuff. Some are homemade, others are not. But so many of them were towing trailers you just have to wonder if there needs to be a book published in France that teaches people how to pack for vacation? It looked like they were taking the entire household with them. Seriously. What a curious thing. Can anyone explain that one?

L&P rate the A40 rest stops a big 2 along with Momo who rates that route a big fat zip. However, everyone rates the A6 a big old 6 because the express was great, the croissants were fresh and the toilets were, well, toilets.


Anonymous said...

Actually, using a cellphone when you drive is illegal in France. You can get a heavy fine for that. And speed limit is not monitored only by indicated traffic cameras. Highway patrols do monitor the roads from their patrol cars, motorbikes... and choppers.

Lulu and Phoebe said...

Absolutely right. Never did see a French driver on the phone. At least they pay attention to the law! There may be laws in several states in US about driving and cell phone use, but many people ignore them. Yes, we did see lots of motorcycle police monitoring traffic, but the cameras were kind of a novelty - so polite about warning everyone a camera is up ahead. Here, those kinds of cameras are primarily for red light runners.