So if you looked at the video post of driving in France, you will have guessed that we prefer the smaller roads to the autoroutes. They are much more interesting and attractive, but of course it takes much more time to get somewhere, especially when passing through the little villages. Travelling from late spring through summer and into early autumn we notice the different colours for each season : the yellow and purple of sunflowers and lavender in late spring and early summer, the gold of the wheat fields, and the lush greens of the forests and roadside trees; in high summer there are still sunflowers, as well as hectares and hectares of maize, and the serried ranks of grape vines – EVERYWHERE! And early autumn brings the colours of red and gold into the trees (we’re told that 70% of France is forested) and the colours of the vine leaves changing as well. The fields that were so colourful with all the varied crops are now bare earth, or with plantings of new crops such as winter wheat.The colours change with the regions as well, for instance Burgundy has the brilliant yellow of the mustard flowers, whereas around Paris there are fields of wheat as far as the eye can see.
Some of the roads we take are so old and narrow that I have called them our “Roads Less Travelled”! They are really beautiful, especially the avenues of trees where the tops meet and form wondrous green tunnels, with the sun filtering through. Anecdotally we are told that many villages and towns planted a roadside tree for each soldier from the village who died in the Great War (WWI). One hundred years ago the roads were much narrower, and now the trees have sometimes become a hazard to driving, with signage indicating dangerous roads, or a low speed limit, even on the more main highways.