Heading south through France by car ranks as one of our favourite holiday pastimes. This summer we drove down to the Haute Pyrenées and enjoyed some fantastic walking in the Cirque de Gavarnie area close to the Spanish border. Travelling to the South West (via the busy A10 to Bordeaux) can be a bit of a hard slog at times but I love the way that France changes as we go south. It gets warmer, the skies become brighter and bluer and the glorious fields of sunflowers are really uplifting. En route, we stopped over in the delightful old town Angoulême (some distance from the motorway) in the Charente.
As always holidays are a great opportunity to catch up with plenty of reading. I tend to prefer easy-going fiction while away. So alongside the spectacular mountains and wonderful high valleys with streams running through them, which are typical of the Pyrenees, I read Kate Morton’s latest, The Secret Keeper. I did not enjoy this as much of her previous books but it was still a good holiday read. Sally Vickers,The Cleaner of Chartres was lovely with really great characters and a French setting (which I always enjoy). I also read Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runaway, which is about 19th century Quakers in the U.S. I felt I learnt quite a bit about 19th century Quakers and I like Chevalier’s writing anyway and found this gripping and then I finished up with The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez. This was quite a light-hearted read but with a serious backdrop.
All in all, a wonderful , relaxing break.