travelling as grief therapy, road trip, france, chateau etoges, french chateau
Travelling as grief therapy: A road trip through France - the itinerary. Photo: Mark Alexander

It took me just over three years to get here. I vowed to do that when my partner died – to go on a road trip through France. The original plan was to drive to France and spend a week in each of the French regions. Quite ambitious given that there are 13 of them! It didn’t put me off, it gave me something to look forward to after I sorted my affairs. Life happened fast and I started the new chapter of my life in a new town in England instead.

Here I am, sitting in bed in a French Chateau, overlooking the moat and listening to the ducks playing in the water. There is a man on one of those ride-on mowers cutting the grass. The sun is shining and the grass is definitely greener on the other side. Here he goes on his second lap, doing wheelies around the sun loungers which are dotted around a big tree. I want his job!

I am here, I am happy and I look forward to the next two weeks. Let me give you the bullet points of my plan before I get too carried away, daydreaming about living in a French Chateau. (It would be nice though, wouldn’t it?)

Road trip through France – itinerary

The theme of my road trip through France is French Chateaux and places which are new to me. France was my and my partner’s favourite destination. We used to come here often and I am quite familiar with it. Hopefully that should make my road trip easier and less challenging. Here’s the plan:


My first stop is Chateau d’Etoges in the Champagne region. I have no plans to do anything or visit any particular places. It’s a bit early in the year for a tour of the vineyards too. The plan is to drive through the Champagne countryside and explore the region by car.

Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is a special place to me. We came here on our very first holiday to France. I remember quite a few of the places we visited but, this time, I want to go and see half a dozen of the chateaux we didn’t see back then.

The Loire Valley is also known as the Valley of the Thousand Chateaux. Visiting every single one of them would be nice but impossible to do in the few days I have planned to spend there. I’d like to visit the most famous ones at least.


This used to be our favourite part of France. We holidayed at a gîte in a village near Bergerac. It was so beautiful and I have very fond memories of the time we spent there. In fact, that’s where we spent our last holiday. We booked to stay for two weeks and we ended up staying for nearly two months. It was by far, the best holiday we had together.

I plan to visit the lady who owned that property and spend the rest of the time there, discovering new places and creating new memories as part of my travelling as grief therapy project.

Palace of Versailles and/or Giverny

I would quite like to visit the Palace of Versailles on the way back but that depends on the time I have left. It is probably one of the busiest sites in France and I shall need to dedicate a whole day to it.

Giverny is also on my list but as a maybe rather than a set visit. I would like to visit the house and the gardens where Claud Monet lived and painted. Again, it is a very popular attraction and I shall need a whole day for it.

Here’s a Google Map of the main areas I plan to visit on my road trip through France:

That’s my plan but it is very likely to change. I may end up visiting more places or not visiting all of the above. It all depends, but I look forward to it.

Better late than never, as they say – I am at my first destination and very excited about the next two weeks. The weather looks glorious too and I hope it stays that way. Make sure you follow me on social media @lostpeony for behind the scenes and updates on my road trip through France. I shall publish an account of my road trip day by day on Lost Peony too.

Disclaimer: I left England on Sunday, 14 May 2017 and plan to return on Sunday, 28 May 2017. That, however, may change due to all sorts of circumstances. Fingers crossed that I complete the whole 14 days as planned.


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