Today, we have decided to interview Bernard from Laperlencampingcar, a motorhome enthusiast who travels by road since 2018. Follow his adventure with us!
But who is behind Bernard from Laperleencampingcar?
- Hello Bernard, first of all, could you introduce yourself in a few lines?
I am 57 years old, and I have worked in the world of culture and heritage. I am currently looking for a job.
- Since when have you been traveling in a motorhome?
In fact, we travel by motorhome only since August 2018.
What are Laperleencamping-car’s giveaways?
- How did this passion for travel start?
In August 2018, we were loaned an old motorhome, a 1987 Eriba car-jet 570 on a Renault Trafic base. During a heat wave in Lyon, we decided to head off in Auvergne, in the Puy de Dôme region. We loved being able to spend our first night surrounded by nature, almost 1,000 meters above sea level at the foot of the Puy de la Vache.
- What are you looking for in your motorhome aventures?
It’s been able to discover new destinations, landscapes, monuments, different cultures. Traveling in a motorhome also gives you the opportunity to meet other RVer enthusiasts.
- How many countries have you visited?
We have already traveled through Portugal and Spain, and made two small forays into Switzerland and Italy.
What are Bernard from Laperlencampingcar’s travel habits?
- Right now, where are you traveling?
The world is in quarantine, so we’re home. If not, we would most likely be traveling through Switzerland, or perhaps the Cevennes.
- What is the first thing you do when arriving in a new place?
Of course the first thing is to find a nice place for the night (beautiful view, safe, and if possible without a tree between us and the TV satellite!). Then we usely go for a short walk to discover the surroundings (view, landscape, etc.). If we plan to stay for several days, we then organise our program for the next visits (bus timetables, monuments to see, etc.).
- Is there an item that you always bring with you on each trip?
The GPS (it also acts as a camera and therefore sometimes records beautiful landscapes on the road or our little hassles!!), without forgetting the cat!
What is Bernard from Laperleencampingcar’s best travel experience?
- Tell us about your best trip in motorhome?
Our little tour of the Mont-Blanc (but not by foot! Simply by road with the motorhome).
We did our first stop just before arriving to the Col des Aravis, in a small parking lot that belongs to a farmer. For only 2 euros we were able to spend the night there, and the farm offers delicious cheeses (Reblochon).
On the way to the beautiful Laperleencampingcar getaway…
After going shopping at La Clusaz with electric bikes (it seriously helps to go up!), we took a little excursion to the heights of La Clusaz, at Les Confins… The view is amazing. The next day, we started walking from our car park, towards the Aravis sources and the Rebord plateau which offers a belvedere with a breathtaking view over the Alps. When crossing the pass, don’t miss the excellent blueberry pies from Chez Bruno.
After a few days, we headed towards Megève, then Saint-Gervais. To go up to Bettex, which offers a very beautiful panorama on the Bionnassay glacier and the Goûter refuge.
For the night, we descended into the valley and found a very quiet parking lot in the small resort of Saint-Nicolas de Véroce which overlooks the Contamines-Montjoie valley. This small village shelters a beautiful old church and the hotel (3 stars) also shelters a bakery and a spa.
Laperleencampingcar’s aventure goes on…
The next day we passed by Saint-Gervais, from where it is possible to take the TMB (Mont-Blanc Tramway), cog railway which goes up to the Eagle’s Nest (2,372 m) at the foot of the Goûter Dome. It is the royal road to then join the Goûter refuge and the Mont-Blanc summit. But this is another story…
On the way, we took the opportunity to make a short gourmet stop at the factory of Confitures de la Création. A real treat!
We only crossed Chamonix and continued towards Argentière and Vallorcine. The road winds through the middle of the forest, with many paths suitable for hiking. After crossing the Franco-Swiss border, we arrived at the Forclaz pass from where the view is again superb over the upper Rhône valley. The descent to Martigny takes place on the hillside, in the middle of the Chablais vineyards. The long descent is in a straight line, so don’t forget about the engine brake.
Once in the valley, we reached the Grand Saint-Bernard pass via the Dranse d’Entremont valley on the E21 road. (Please note that we should normally be in possession of the Swiss motorway sticker, even if it is only a normal route. Luckily we were not checked). The last stretch of the road, beyond the tunnel (which of course we did not take) is a real mountain road, many bends, with maximum slopes of 9.7%. Even in July, we found snow on the side of the road at the level of the pass (2,469 m).
Like in Norway…
After visiting the hospice where the regular canons of Saint Augustine welcome travelers throughout the year, we decided to spend the night slightly below, on the edge of the small lake which thaws only 3 months a year. The view is very beautiful, and from the door of the motorhome we sometimes had the impression of being in Norway!
And the journey is coming to an end…
After a very quiet night we descended to the Italian side to Aosta, by a road which offers very beautiful views. This ancient city still shelters numerous Roman vestiges, like the traces of the old forum or the Praetorian Gate. Built in 25 BC. AD, it was the main gateway to the city, on the eastern side, towards Rome, and the most imposing of the four. It is still very well preserved.
After this break, we headed back to the summits to reach the Petit Saint-Bernard pass (2,188 m). It is the only passable route connecting the Savoyard valleys and the Aosta valley. We landed a little before the pass, on the mountainside, surrounded by marmots. We had a breathtaking view on the Mont-Blanc, but this time from the Italian side. The way back to France took place on the upper Isère valley, with a short stop in Aime.
You can find Laperleencampingcar’s other travels on their blog!
- Last but not least, an anecdote from Laperleencampingcar to share with our community ?
For our third trip with our new motorhome, we headed towards the Jura. From Lyon we decided to go through the Grand Colombier pass, going through the western flank.
After Virieu-le-Petit, the road narrows a little, but we could still pass easily. But after a few kilometers, it goes up more and more! Our Ford 170cv automatic forwarder (and its 3.5 tonnes… or even a little more!) climbs slowly at first. Please don’t stop now, otherwise there is a risk that we won’t be able to start again when starting uphill. When we arrived at the pass, we stoped… When getting out of the camper, some acre odors of hot clutch alert us. Fortunately nothing serious!
On the way back, looking a little closer to our route, we see that part of this picturesque little road has a slope of 20% over more than 400 meters! We got hot (like the engine).
Some silver lining…
Now we know our engine stands firm; and that having a few reserve horses on a motorhome can be very useful sometimes! It was a purchase criterion in the model’s choice… and we are now happy we did!
FYI, here is the precise route to avoid (coming from Virieu-le-Petit, take the D120C. After 4 km, you tackle the steepest slope, just before joining the D120 at a place called Selle). The slope is indicated on the descent, but not on the way up!
You can also read more testimonials on our blog: « Interview of ParentheseNomade, discovering the world with the family », « Michèle’s last motorhome trip in Tuscany ».
And don’t forget, enjoy your motorhome travel with CaraMaps and Laperleencampingcar !