Driving in France and Italy.

In order to scout out the living situation for our upcoming Italy trip, we decided to rent a car and see if we could drive over to Italy and back without killing one another or anyone else.  Since I am writing this you can assume we were to some degree successful.  Don’t worry!   M is here too and currently trying to catch up on the eating we missed while being gone all day.

We took the bus down to Cham this morning and managed to pick up the car with no troubles.  The car was a Peugeot 208 with a 5 speed manual and not too much horsepower. It did however like to rev really loudly and not go very fast while doing so. Handling dynamics were good though, as the car was smooth through the bends.

Without too much trouble we made it up to the Mt. Blanc tunnel which goes through the mountain for about 11 kilometers and comes out just above Courmayeur, Italy.  There are very strict rules to follow when in the tunnel and are as follows.  The speed limit is 50-70 kph and you MUST maintain a minimum distance of 150 meters between yourself and the car in front of you.  Consequences for disobeying these rules include fines of 800 Euros as well as losing your license.  Though strict, these rules might have some possibilities of helping I-70 traffic with a few modifications!

Everything was going swimmingly until we missed our turn for Courmayeur.  This was a huge mistake.  If you miss the turn, you will basically have to drive to Milan in order to turn around because there are no off ramps for many miles.  You will also get to see none of the beauty you are missing because most of the road is covered with tunnels.  I imagine that after 12-15 miles of going the wrong way, most sane people will do as we did and break the law by turning around in one of the tiny little passages in the median.  Fortunately the Italian 5-0 was not around to arrest us.  Of course they would have to have been at that exact spot or they would have had to drive 50 miles the other way so they could turn around and come to get us.

By this time, M and I were not on polite speaking terms due to miscommunication regarding our previous direction.  Really, I’d like to blame Google for that because Google maps could not keep up with where we were on the road.

After many extra miles we made it to the parking lot in Dolonne which is a hamlet of  Courmayeur.  We were able to find our lodgings for our upcoming trip along with the main square of town which has many gelato options.  Wandering around Courmayeur isn’t so bad really considering the view.


We went for a little run and ended with a stop at one of the gelato places and all was right with the world.  A refreshing strawberry, or in M’s case, a refreshing Nutella, Oreo, vanilla gelato, will certainly take away whatever troubles you might have had.

It ended up being a much longer day than it probably should’ve been, but we made it home safely and are very happy with our accumulated knowledge of driving around France and Italy.