Celia's blog

Musings on life in Lodeve, Languedoc

Posts Tagged ‘UK-France commute’

December days

Posted by celiahukins on 07/01/2010


It has been a busy few weeks, with little time to write. It wasn’t helped by the delays on our journey out in December. Our Easyjet flight from Gatwick was cancelled (we had got as far as checking in) but thanks to the Internet on my laptop we were able to get a flight from Bristol to Béziers the next day with Ryanair (good old Ryanair!). It left at 6.30 and entailed a 4.30 start from the hotel in Bristol, which was why we hadn’t chosen to take that flight in the first place. Fortunately our friend Michael met us and ferried us to Montpellier, which was where I had left the car.

We finally arrived at the house to see new shades of green and brown, dead leaves remaining on the trees. A panic on Christmas Eve – no hot water! Fortunately the man who had installed our solar heating came round within 10 minutes and explained that the solar panels don’t work when it’s wet, so you have to use the override switch. I gave him some Christmas cake – I don’t know if he’ll like it.

The usual Christmas agenda of meals and walks. Boxing Day walk at the Cirque du Bout du Monde where I’d been before, then a trip to the Maurin wild life reserve where we saw flamingos and a walk by the seaside at Palavas le Flots.

David was busy in the garden and uncovered a new olive tree while clearing for his vegetable patch. His harsh pruning has been successful so far so we will see how this one develops.

We invite the neighbours round (an “English” menu of fishcakes followed by ginger trifle, with a slight concession to France for the crispy ratatouille starter). They tell us that goods at the new Intermarché which are nearly past their sell by date are reduced and go on sale when it first opens in the morning. Next day Christian duly turns up at 8.15 to take us there. We see half price butter, yoghurt, cheese, all things you can put in the freezer. We don’t buy much, as we will be leaving the house for a while and don’t want to run the risk of the freezer defrosting in a power cut. But I can see that my days in Lodève in the Spring will have a new purpose.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to bring together information about the local area. It’s often difficult to locate web sites that provide what you need, but I will keep trying.

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Travelling light

Posted by celiahukins on 18/09/2009

Travelling light
Out of season it’s easy and cheap to commute between the UK and France, thanks to Ryanair and Easyjet. You can do it for 5 euros with Ryanair, but there are several tricks you need to know. One important one is to have hand luggage only. As I have a wardrobe in the UK and a basic one in France (the French one mainly thanks to Primark) I don’t usually have that much to carry by way of clothes. And if I take the bus from Montpellier to Lodève it’s easy to walk up the hill to the house.

Overloaded rucksack

The first time I went through Paris with a rucksack I was very embarrassed as I always feel you should dress smartly there. However, now I’ve got used to rucksacks I don’t mind the backpacker image (and maybe backpackers are more chic than they used to be?)

It’s important to remember that you’re only allowed one piece of hand luggage. Sometimes (depends how they’re feeling) Ryanair are very sticky about this. So you have to be able to stuff your handbag, laptop etc into your rucksack somehow, although it seems to be OK to carry your books, newspapers etc in your hand.

Asus pc
There isn’t room for a big laptop, so I have an Asus pc which fits neatly into my handbag. You have to get the laptop out (along with your liquids) to go through security, then put it back in again.

Hand luggageIf I have the car at the airport I can manage a reasonable sized case (weighing no more than 10 kilos, dimensions 55cm x 40cm x 20cm) which can hold quite a lot, but of course no liquids or sharp items.

This means not only wine on the France UK trip, but also your favourite shampoo / mouthwash / corkscrew on the UK France leg.

Oh all right, so this can be complicated, but it’s worth the hassle for a 5 euro flight.

Some other money saving tips
– thanks to Money Saving Expert

Make sure you’re on the airline’s mailing list to pick up cheap deals when they are announced. And of course you need to check in online.

Use a Visa Electron (Cash Passport) card. You can get this at Thomas Cook or order online at Travelex. I’ve recently got round to getting one and it has been well worth it, saving me the £5 credit card fee on a £5 (or 5 euro) flight. You preload the card with the amount of money you specify. You don’t have to put much money on.

Next week I’m having a wee trip to Aix en Provence, Cézanne country. (I had booked an Easyjet flight to Montpellier but then we got a booking for the house, so I thought I’d use the flight anyway). After that it will be back to the commute.

Her’s a link (nearly up to date) to all you need to know about
flights to the Languedoc

And here’s a link to the song which inspired the title of this post…

Read the rest of this entry »

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