Putting Best Foot Forward in Lovely Jura; FRANK CREMIN from Sutton Coldfield Took Up Our Challenge to Turn Travel Writer and Pass on His Impressions of a Holiday with Wife Carol in the Jura in France

By Cremin, Frank | Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), October 24, 1999 | Go to article overview

Putting Best Foot Forward in Lovely Jura; FRANK CREMIN from Sutton Coldfield Took Up Our Challenge to Turn Travel Writer and Pass on His Impressions of a Holiday with Wife Carol in the Jura in France


Cremin, Frank, Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)


OUR holiday this year could not have got off to a worse start.

We had booked a 10-day walking holiday in the Jura, which is in Eastern France, near to Switzerland.

The first part of the journey was by Eurostar, departing at just after 8am. We had arranged to leave our car at my brother's house in south London and for him to drop us at Waterloo. A 4.30am start would allow for a leisurely drive down to London, or so we thought.

Wrong! Murphy's Law applied itself with a vengeance and within 200 yards gave us our first puncture in at least 15 years.

Changing tyres with an unfamiliar jack on a dark and wet Friday morning did nothing for my blood pressure and it was only thanks to a passing bread delivery driver who helped us out that we finally made it to Waterloo with just minutes to spare. Next time, it's definitely an overnight stop in London for us.

The Eurostar journey to Paris was the third time we had used that train and it really is an excellent way to travel; city centre to city centre in just three hours. We then caught a taxi across Paris to the Gare de Lyon station, from where we took a TGV train to Dijon, changing there for our eventual destination of Besancon. As usual in our experience, the French trains were punctual, clean and a delight to travel on.

We were met at Besancon by the holiday company rep with a refreshing glass of cold lemonade and she took us and our luggage to our first hotel. As with all the hotels on our holiday, this was welcoming, very clean and served great food. We soon forgot the early morning puncture as we relaxed over a delicious French dinner.

The pattern of our holiday was for us to walk from village to village, every second day, with our luggage being transported by our rep to the next hotel in a minibus. If we had ever fancied a day off walking, the minibus was always available for a lift but we didn't "cheat", as we were enjoying the walking so much.

We then had a day off at our new village for sight seeing before setting out for the next village. Of course, this meant re-packing every two days but we soon got that off to a fine art.

The holiday company supplies maps and detailed route notes for each day's walk. We're both in our 50s and found their timings to be spot on, usually five to six hours a day plus a lunch break. Most of the routes were along the French GR (Grand Radonnee) footpaths.

Our walks were based on two rivers, the Loue and Lison. The routes took us through meadows along the rivers' banks, up to plateaux and along gorges. We'd often be walking through shady woods, as the Jura region has France's greatest and oldest forests. …

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