Ever driven down to France? It’s fun!
I went last year with some friends, We were en route to Barcelona for the Sonar festival to see Kraftwerk but stopped off on a couple of places along the way.
We left at 6am from a sleepy south London. I was picking up Rob and Kindl from Brixton. We were due to depart on the 8am car train in Folkestone Kent.
I was driving so I’d scoped things out and we were aiming to stop off at Millau for an overnight rest
Distances and travel times from London, Great Britain to Millau, France
What Is The Straight Line Distance from London, Great Britain to Millau, France 858.43 km 533.4 miles
Calculated The Driving Distance from London, Great Britain to Millau, France 1,092 km
The Estimated Driving Time from London, Great Britain to Millau, France is 10 hours 51 mins
Eleven hours seemed doable and I figured I’d probably make better time than that. We had a comfy car (VW Touareg V6 ) and plenty of rations to keep us going. The drive down to the shuttle train took about 90 minutes and we arrived in good time to check in and get on the train. The train is great as you just drive on and 25 minutes later you drive off.
Sat nav is a must when travelling abroad IMO as maps are just a pain in the arse and it’s easy to get distracted and even worse if you have a not very map savvy person in the passenger seat.
Anyhow, the night previous I’d not had the greatest of sleeps so was a tiny bit grumpy (poor Rob and K) It’s surprising how long drives can take their toll. I know I know Americans do them all of the time etc blah.
By the time we hit Paris I was beginning to flag a little and driving through unfamiliar underpasses and roundabouts on the wrong side of the road was taxing my tired brain. Rob was totally in to one and tech and I recall myself glazing over trying to keep focused without being impolite. I think he might have gave up in the end and sensed I was a little frayed. to say I was relieved to exit Paris would be an understatement. We were 5 hours in with about 650 km to go (5 hours more driving )
Driving through, we didn’t see so much; mainly town signs which sparked various conversations around prior knowledge and discussions around possible detours on the way back.
We stopped off for fuel once and had a half hour break or so, taking on fresh coffee and stretching our legs.
It was great to see the temperature gauge of outside slowly rise as we went further south. We’d left England where it was around 17c and gloomy. By the time we arrived in Millau at around 5pm it was about 25c and beautifully sunny taking the edge off my huge desire to sleep.
Pro tip: Share the driving, especially if you’ve had a crap nights sleep previous! In any case I did enjoy a very cold beer or two and slept like a log that night.
All in all it was a good drive up and we made great time knocking about 90 minutes off the estimated driving time. We used toll roads as these were faster but they did top up the costs a bit adding about £180 to our eventual costs. My gas guzzler averaged around 25 MPG but this was because I may have floored it a few times so fuel costs to Millau were about £230 at the time. I think diesel was about 1.40 a litre then so…
From memory, I slept like a log that night and was suitably refreshed for the next stage of the journey which was to be Millau to Perpignan via the Gorge Du Tarn and the stunning medieval village of La Couvertoirade, but more on that another time!