Tim Foolery

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Olympics & More: Road Trip to Toulouse, France

Toulouse, France was the second destination on our European Road Trip.  We started in Barcelona, picked up a Peugeot and headed north. We planned on one stop, in Vic, then we’d continue on to Toulouse.  The total drive is about 400 km, so you can easily make it in 4 hours.  We had lunch in Vic, then head through the Pyrenees.

We traveled through several tunnels as we crossed from Spain into France over the Pyrenees.  I have never traveled through a tunnel as long the Tunnel du Puymoren – which is just about 5 kilometers long.  I know there are much longer tunnels in the area, but I haven’t been them through though.

We saw a large cooling tower from a French nuclear plant — such a unique view.  It sat looming on the horizon as we snaked through the French countryside and I got more and more excited as we got closer.

We approached a small town called Ax le Thermes.  The main road dropped from a multi-lane road down to a single lane city street.  Traffic was snarled and miserable.  We spent more than an hour just sitting in traffic and crawling through this small French ski city.

After we escaped the torture that was traffic in Ax les Thermes we were off again to Toulouse.  The road was wide open and traffic moved very quickly.  Many fields, as we approached Toulouse, were planted with sunflowers.  Unfortunately we were cruising by at 150kph and I couldn’t get a picture.

The drive was quite enjoyable, despite the traffic jam in Ax.  I am not a bit road trip guy, but this few hundred kilometer trip was beautiful and well worth the half a day trip.

Have you driven the Pyrenees before? What’s your favorite part of that drive?  How do you deal with traffic jams on road trips?

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