Our little trip to Italy

We have a few days to spare while Jeannette has a break at Wild Olives after her busy US trip, and until her next tour group arrives here in France.

So after cleaning thousands of Pine needles off Hermione from her ‘little holiday under the trees’,  we took the opportunity to head north to the Haute Alpes towards Grenoble, following some of the route that Napoleon took after his exile in Elba to first Paris, and then Waterloo in 1815.

The border between France and Italy is the grey line that runs south SS21


First stop is Castellane, and not because it was a long drive to get there, although it was very picturesque, or there are any great historic sites to see,

that’s a tiny chapel built right upon the top of this massive rock


but because it has a car museum.

We had a 2CV exactly the same as this one in the UK. Drove Josephine all around Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the UK before selling her back to the girl we bought her from, for 50 UK pounds less than we paid. What a deal!
Brian in his usual stance , checking out the cars

We found some amazing free overnight stops, although one was a little too remote for me in a mountain valley at Sistriere near Torino, Italy.

a drop of water sitting in the leaf looks like a diamond
just us, and maybe the bears, wolves or all the other scary things I thought about all night

In the Italian Alps and the ski area is where they held the Winter Olympics a few years ago.



As most of this drive was over mountains the roads that in places seemed only wide enough for one vehicle, and that hugged steep cliffs with no guard rails it was breathtaking, ( read scary) .

a few switch backs on this road










Wow Hermione overtook a car! Admittedly it was a ‘little’ packed






Italy was so close so we thought let’s go, and also the Italian markets are amazing!  In Saluzzo it was the largest market we have ever seen, spread out over what Brian said was roughly 2 sq kilometers.  And they had everything for sale, 20 euro leather handbags, ( I was sooo good and didn’t even buy one) shoes, clothes, beautiful underwear, but how can you buy a bra without trying on? Household items from vacuum cleaner bags to very expensive carving knives.


And a great place for pizza for lunch with my Sweetie Pie.



Grasse is known as the the world’s  perfume capital and was a must see for me.  We toured both major parfumeries, Fragonard and Molinard and learned about being ‘a nose’, someone that can differentiate over 2000 scents and who are highly sought for the perfume and food industries worldwide.

Eucalyptus from Australia


a perfume still, although would work pretty well for alcohol as well
Brian was sad because the beer Festival was on after we left Grasse, and that he had to spend ALL DAY  at the perfume museums.

I failed miserably at the job, after about 15 minutes of smelling different scents my ‘nose’ went on strike.

So there goes my next profession, and the chance for moving to Provence and the French Riviera.

sadly this is NOT going to be my new office
Hilltop village of Gourdon overlooking the valley to the coast and Antibes on the French Riviera. Life is pretty good 🙂

6 thoughts on “Our little trip to Italy”

  1. Mays be an Italian smuggler in the blue car ??? … of wine, pizza or carrying the shoes of the following picture ??? the last picture is the best ! … both becoming always younger during your trip.

    1. Hahah, Georges we knew the picture of the loaded Renault would get your attention. Not sure what they had in those boxes, but it certainly was loaded.
      Bises, Julie and Brian

    1. Thanks Terese. yes everyday we meet locals, sometimes the language can be a problem to get the stories though. Our French is improving, just when we are about to head off to Spain and Portugal for a few months.

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