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About parking

Our house rental in Ansouis includes a garage - actually a rather large garage, but the wide doors open inward, as I presume most doors do in these small villages with narrow streets. We are driving around the south of France in a 7-passenger Ford Galaxy mini-van - no way we can get it in the garage & close the doors. We thought about it & even tried to re-arrange the interior until the futility of our quest set in. So we park in the public square beside the Bar des Sports and opposite the Mairie (Town Hall is the best translation, I think). Occasionally, we have had to park along the street below the square. At first, I was a bit concerned as we arrived back in the village about whether or not I would find a parking space - but I'm not bothered any more. Things work out, as they seem to do in France most of the time.

However, security is an issue. We are always being warned not to leave anything of value in the vehicle - in the emails from the owner, signage wherever we go, or helpful service people everywhere. If one of my companions says that she is going to leave something of value in the van, I say, "Well, I wouldn't do it." - and out it goes. I am uncertain if these dire warnings are a preventative measure (hopefully) or reflect rampant vandalism.

Expect to pay for parking in most of the larger communities or popular tourist sites - Aix, Gordes, Roussillon, Avignon, Arles, Nimes, Pont du Gard, Cassis, etc. It can either be a flat rate or an hourly charge, but figure on about one Euro per hour.

Free parking is usually available in the smaller towns and villages - Bonnieux, Lacoste, Lourmarin, Cucuron, Ansouis, etc. Sometimes availability is an issue, but this year not so much as in our previous visits.

On market days, parking is free in most places, except the larger communitues, e.g. Aix - but be sure not to block anybody's garage or laneway. And you might have a fair hike to the market. When we were at the market in L'Isle sur la Sorgue, I arrived back at the meeting place several minutes early. I decided to walk to the van, turn it around and move the vehicle a bit closer, since the market was starting to break up. When I found an empty spot, I quickly turned in, not noticing that a cyclist was close behind. As he passed, he directed a few comments at me. I didn't need a dictionary to sense that he was not pleased. However, as a final gesture of goodwill, he waved at me. Well, actually it was a partial wave. He only managed to raise one finger - but I know he meant well.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 15, 2009 1:59 AM.

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