Friday, August 21, 2009

Why do people in the Lozere not go on holiday?

Just back from a 15 day holiday where we drove right through France to Annecy, Chamonix and Evian les Bains.

Forget about quiet motorways, decent weather, pretty back routes and charming auberges....the very best thing about driving over here is the opportunity to play the "number plate" game.

As you may know, every number plate shows the department (or county) that the car owner comes from, and there are nearly 100 to collect en route. From 01 (Ain) to 95 (Val D'Oise) they stretch from the Northern wastelands on the Belgian border to the sunny Spanish and Italian borders and even Corsica.

Within a couple of hours we'd demolished half of them, not surprising as it was mid August and peak holiday season. By the time we reached Chamonix we had just four to collect and the girls went mad when they spotted another 16 (Charente) at the bottom of the ski lift.

By holidays end we had spotted every number bar 48. Try as we might we couldn't pass someone from the Lozere. This was incredible as we drove right by the department but there you go.

We can only summise that it's so nice in that particular part of South East France that they all stay at home and don't need to have the traditional fortnight in August. Probably more pertinent is the fact that it's the least populated department in the country with an average of just 14 inhabitants per square km and only 26 cars between them (OK, I made that last bit up but you know what I mean).

Fascinating stuff for us and a great way for the girls to become acquainted with the geography of our adopted country.

And, no, I wasn't a train spotter as a kid.

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