Insiders Abroad French Road Trip Through Eastern France

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Insiders Abroad, Paris road trip, Julie Willard

Looking for a unique road trip route through France? I took a 2-week road trip through France for the second year in a row this past September and talk all about it in the FREE online magazine Insiders Abroad! I share some of my favorite locations, as well as some tips and tricks for surviving the French road trip (look out for those tolls!). Check it out by clicking on the magazine cover above.

Photos shared in the article are available in my Etsy shop, here.


Waterlogue Wednesdays: Magnificently Colorful Martigues

Julia Willard, Julie Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Holland photography, waterlogue, tinrocket, Martigues, Provence, colorful France, France photography
Julia Willard, Julie Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Holland photography, waterlogue, tinrocket, Martigues, Provence, colorful France, France photography
Julia Willard, Julie Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Holland photography, waterlogue, tinrocket, Martigues, Provence, colorful France, France photography

Today’s Waterlogue is from images from my favorite town in Provence, Martigues. I have held onto these photos for too many years and am inspired by Spring colors to share the beautiful and colorful images I have from my day trip to Martigues.

Whenever I’m down visiting my French family, I always feel tempted to travel to all the nearby towns and villages. After deciding on a day trip to Martigues (after it was described as the “Venice of France”), my family dropped me off at the train station and off I went to one of the most memorable places I’ve ever visited. The charming town is full of pretty boats, stray cats roaming the alleys and narrow streets, colorful façades, parked bicycles, and so much more. I can hardly wait to return. This is just a sampling of my images from that day.

Insiders Abroad Bretagne + Normandy Visit

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, paris photography, Insider's Abroad Magazine

Planning a trip to the Normandy or Brittany regions of France anytime soon? If you haven’t read it already, check out my previous article in Insiders Abroad Magazine about why camping is the best way to experience the regions. I also have a newer article in the Summer edition about specific cities and towns in the regions that will help you plan your visit to the area. It’s so rich in history and culture (think WWII for starters), that the article will be a good starting place for what you wish to see.

And good news… the magazine is free!

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Lavender in Bretagne

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, lavender Provence

Today’s Waterlogue is from an image not from Provence, but from the western region of Bretagne. I still dream of seeing fields and fields of lavender one of these summers in France, but this particular garden was just as satisfying with its impressive display of both lavender and hydrangeas. The bumble bees were having a heyday! We had picked up a brochure of the region somewhere along the highway and so I was directing us based on what looked most interesting… and colorful. Although this is only a small zoomed-in image of the incredible garden, I prefer to share this simple snapshot of so many consider quintessential French summertime.

Insiders Abroad Brittany Camping + Amsterdam Getaway

Insider's Abroad, travel abroad, Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles

Haven’t secured your European holiday yet for the summer? Looking for someplace great to go? I have two great ideas for you, and both of my articles are featured in the above FREE, gratuitgratis online magazine Insiders Abroad! Need a weekend away? How about making the rounds for some beer and great eats in Amsterdam? Want to get a little more outdoorsy with your vacation? Maybe even… CAMP?! Brittany, France is your spot. Check out both articles by clicking the image above.

Camping in Bretagne

Many years ago, my adopted French family, who live in Marseille, invited me to their second home in Bretagne, in western France. I had never been, and since I never pass up the opportunity to either see a new place or see this family that has been so gracious and welcoming to me over the years, I jumped at the chance.

Their home is in Quimperlé, not directly on the beach, but close enough to taste that intoxicating sea air that reminds you you’re close to the coast. It was on this trip that I discovered this gorgeous region of France and subsequently inspired me to make plans to camp there at my next chance. With the company of an expert camper European, we set off from hot and polluted Paris and headed west toward bluer (and damper) landscapes. Having been to enchanting Mont St. Michel before, we skipped it this trip, only just seeing its tiny silhouette in the distance out the right side of the car. Our destination (if only the first one) was clear: St. Malo awaited us.

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, St. Malo

Brittany and Normandy being so critically important in WWII, it is not uncommon to come across historic sites and markers in both regions. However, we were surprised when our not so advanced search for a campsite led us to one perched atop a German bunker from the War. We enjoyed a relaxed couple of days there, a fascinating tour of the bunker itself, and discovering (albeit a little late) the extraordinary walled city of St. Malo, very reminiscent of Mont St. Michel in many ways. Typical French charm oozes from this place not without tourists due to its historical significance and beauty.

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles,  petit dejeuner français

From St. Malo we headed further west, toward one of the most western points in the region at the charming seaside town of Camaret-sur-Mer. From there, we headed further down and a bit more east to Concarneau, which was a favorite as well. We drove largely without aim, using only hints from locals and brochures picked up at tourist offices. We made no reservations in advance and had no problem getting a camping plot. (Note: For a long-term stay, it may not have been so easy.)

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Bretagne

This region is best done, in my opinion, with a couple of nights in each spot. Because of the geography and topography, it’s fairly easy to get from one new town to another – and even one coast to another – within just a couple of hours. What is typically Breton is indeed pervasive throughout – fishing culture, cider and crêpes, colorful shutters and façades, thatched roofs, hydrangeas galore, and historically significant spots perfect for visits when you’re looking for something beyond lounging around at the beach or playing at the campsite.  Make no mistake, though, even in summer (I was there in late July), this is a damp region and is not a place to go to get a tan. Take sweaters and rain jackets, but more importantly grab your camera and just go.

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles