Despite having visited once before in my early twenties, my love affair with France really only started in the summer of 2004. My friend’s car was filled to the brim with our camping gear and summer clothes and on a miserable July morning we set off from northern England and headed to Dover to catch the Dunkerque ferry. The first part of our journey took us across northern France and into Champagne (yes, we stopped to taste) before crossing into Switzerland. After a short stop there we were soon back on the road and heading to Annecy, Grenoble, Provence and beyond.
I had travelled and spent time in many other countries but for some reason not France. That summer was the first time since school that I had attempted to speak French and I enjoyed learning some new words and phrases. But it wasn’t just the language. I fell in love with the countryside, the lavender and sunflower fields, the weather, the food, the wine, the towns and villages. All clichés I know, but there seemed to be an attitude of live and let live that I felt instantly comfortable with. I still do feel comfortable here and it’s funny how we now seem to be slowly gravitating back to the same area, the southwest, that I first visited all those years ago.
The following photos were all taken with a film camera (Nikon SLR) and looking back at them I have a great feeling of nostalgia. I hardly ever use film anymore but I do like it. I thought I might do a series of posts showing some photos I’ve taken using film and documenting my travels at the same time. Here, I’ve chosen photos I hope will convey some of the captivation I felt with France during that trip in the summer of 2004.