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I had to look up where they are:


We're not far from the Pyrenees, and at times in the past thought of buying a mountain retreat there. But now we need our creature comforts.

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We had to drive a couple of years ago (by chance not planned) from Bourg d'Oisans to Montpellier in summer. It was just after a big storm. It is not very far in distance but quite long because of the slow roads.

We left at 4:30 in morning and climbed the cols towards Ornon and then through the 'Parc des Ecrins' onto Gap, then to Aix and finally onto Montpellier.

What a fabulous drive. I would say the best in France.

As the dawn broke on top of the road passing across the mountains you felt like you were on top of the world. It is just like Scotland. Really. We had to stop and I said to myself at that point that I could live here. I love it.

We then a couple of hours later after passing through Luberon (another national parc) along the Autoroute from Gap to Marseille we stopped in a Provence village for something to eat. I got out the car and said to my self, I could live here. Gorgeous. It was idyllic and a million miles away from where we were three hours ago.

We eventually made it to Montpellier after passing through the Camargue and spent the rest of the day on the beach wondering where we should move to. The reality is that these places are not for moving to. Great for a holiday mind you.

What a fab day. The best drive in France. You read it here first.

P.S, if you do this route (and I really recommend it) you need a 4x4.
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That's something we can agree on, albf, the Ecrins national park.

We spent one summer working in the village of Venosc, absolutely loved it and did a lot of walking there, such as up to Lac Lauvitel. We returned for many summers after that, did lots of walking around Venosc and into the mountains from St-Christophe-en-Oisans/La Bérarde in the valley of the Vénéon. Just beautiful.

No particular problems to buy properties there as far as I can recall, other than some of the old chalets were owned by large numbers of descendants, making agreements extraordinarily difficult to arrive at.

We are still in touch with locals we got to know there and occasionally meet up with some.
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