France (December 2014)

Following our two weeks in the UK we boarded the ferry to Calais and then drove on to Paris.

Paris (3 nights)

Whilst in Paris we visited the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Elysee. We stayed at a beautiful Holiday Inn on the banks of the River Seine.

Gaillard (1 night)

From Paris we drove to Gaillard which was close to Geneva, Switzerland. We drove into Switzerland and drove to Lake Geneva and admired the lake and the architecture in Geneva.

Crossing the French/Italian Alps

This would have to have been the most harrowing days driving. We left Gaillard with light snow falling. As we proceeded up the mountains, the snow became heavier and heavier. What was a three lane highway reduced to two lanes and then to one lane as snow plows pushed snow away to keep the road open.

Eventually our speed reduced to 20kph for the best part of two hours as we inched our way to the Mont Blanc tunnel. Along the way there were a number of cars stuck in the snow. Fortunately for us a snow plow pulled out just in front of us and we were able to follow the snow plow without getting stuck.

Once we got to the Mont Blanc tunnel and entered the tunnel, travelling was easier until a few kilometres before our Holiday Inn accommodation in Turin we got a flat tyre which was replaced. We were told the following morning that the tyre needed to be replaced and that we had driven the previous day on “normal” tyres.

If we had know we were driving on normal tyres and not on winter tyres as we believed, there was no way that I would have contemplated driving in the conditions that we had met.

That night as we were watching the news on TV, a report advised that over 13,000 people were trapped in the Alps due to the extremely bad weather.

Thanks for small mercies we got through without any serious incident.