Travelling to France

from Jersey in the 1960's




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I first visited France in 1962 or perhaps 1963, full of the lack of enthusiasm of a teenager who would have preferred the company of other adolescents rather than travelling with my family.  Life was made worse by the trip taking place during very wet and windy Easter school holidays.  It would have greatly surprised me if I had found out that I would, at a muchJersey Timetable from 1960 greater age, be living partly in France!

My family flew from Jersey to Dinard although the holiday was to be a driving one, in order to avoid a lengthy sea trip. The transportation of the family car was quite an event then without the ease of the roll on-roll off ferries.  Cars were hoisted by crane onto a cargo boat at  St Helier Harbour. I do not remember the name of the airline with which we flew or the type of plane. We lunched at the airport at Pleurtuit just outside Dinard, which had a marvellous restaurant in those days with excellent food.

Collecting the car involved a speedy taxi ride from Pleurtuit to Dinard where a vedette transported people across the Rance to St Malo - there was no barrage to cross then.   The taxi driver was English and rightly or wrongly we all concluded that he was drunk. He was called Mr Henry.  I hope that I am not offending poor Mr. Henry.  As a youngster, I could not judge his sobriety and my parents were the sole experts on the matter!

.picture from http://www.timetableimages.com

The small hotels in which we stayed - for economy's sake - offered somewhat basic facilities  with restricted menus but plenty of wine and French bread.  Our family budget also did not run to en-suite bathrooms. The toilets in some of the hotels were fascinating.  One had been positioned in what was once a chimney and on looking up the chimney shaft carried on upwards and overhead for twenty feet or so.  Another was in what must have been a corridor with the toilet paper on the door at one end and the toilet at the other. 

By the end of the holiday my brother and I had fallen in love with Orangina and had ventured to eat food apart from chips, omelettes and deserts.  We eat our final meals at Maxim's in Poitiers which was a big treat and cost over the usual budget and my final memories of a French meal was salmon with a Hollandaise dressing at Pleurtuit Airport.

My mother was a great fan of Eric Robinson who conducted an orchestra playing easy-going music on television.  To her delight he was standing at the  bar at Pleurtuit having a highly social time with friends.  However Eric Robinson was drunk announced my mother and she found that very disappointing.  As with Mr Henry I could not judge his sobriety etc.....