In August, every French family is required by law to get into their car and drive somewhere. Additionally, all law abiding Dutch and German families with children - couples without children are allowed to wait until September for their migration - are asked to join in this pilgrimage to the sun, sea and fun by packing every last item they own into their camping cars and station wagons and drive as far away from their homelands as possible.
Everyone meets for this annual migration on the autoroutes of the south of France. The A7 and A9 become parking lots for the weekends of August.
So now that we feel quite at home here in the south of France, we decided to do right by our adopted country and take an August road trip. Thinking we would be clever and contrary and miss all of the traffic, we decided to meet Mike's parents in the Italian Dolomites. As the rest of the world was migrating south, we would be breezing past them on the northern route.
We left at the crack of dawn...with two teenagers this translates to 7 ish....and gleefully noted the already heavy traffic on the southbound lanes of the A9. In spite of the fact that we decided to drive right on the days of the most traffic for the entire summer, we were able to sneak out of town and up through Valence well before the northern migration had time to even rouse itself from the final night of their summer in the sun.
We decided to stop off in Annecy before heading to a one night stand in the French Alps.
As evidenced by these photos, Annecy is very beautiful but we also found the beauty to be tucked into certain corners or buried in the midst of some serious urban spread. Between the crowds, traffic and an awful lot of modern ugliness in architecture, we were happy to check it off our list of must-see towns and moved on towards Italy.