- Author : Guillaume Barthélémy
- Master : 2972
SWEET FRANCE, DEAR LAND OF OUR VACATION : CAMPING CAR IN THE BASQUE COUNTRY | TF1 | Reportages
Throughout the summer, while France is gradually trying to get back to normal life after lockdown, our cameras follow the vacations of four families: in Brittany, Alsace, on the Cote d’Azur and today in the Basque country with the PERRON family.
After two months of lockdown and years of financial sacrifice, Florent, Aurelie, the four children of their reconstituted family and Pika, their dog, are fulfilling their dream: spend their summer vacation in a camper van. While the family was planning to head off to the Balkans, like many French, the coronavirus forced them to remain in France and head to the Basque country. “We roam in our home, we’re relatively independent, we’re not obliged to meet people, to always be in permanent contact with others and so run risks. Where coronavirus is concerned I feel safer here on the road in my camper van than anywhere else,” explains Florent, the father. On this one-off trip, the family will be all together for the first time in their lives.
Florent, a 38-year-old professional cook currently unemployed, faces a week at the wheel of his 22-year-old camper van to drive to Biarritz where Aurelie, his wife, will not join him till early August. This animal osteopath will be taking care of her new business. Because of the economic crisis, she has no other choice this year but to work during a part of her vacation. “I can’t leave with them because I’ve just set up my own business and I have work, but it’s a delicate subject. My family is my life. If I’m working like this it’s because I have it,” emphasises Aurelie.
For a week and without the support of his partner, Florent will have to take care of their four children alone. What with shopping, driving the camper van, finding a place to sleep every night, and, of course, feeding all this little group… this trip promises to be filled with pitfalls and twists and turns. “For the moment, we’re going to share the vacation with Aurelie by video. And then, when she gets here, it’ll be great, we’ll all be together, but first, I’m going to have to look after the four kids by myself. It promises to be exciting,” comments Florent enthusiastically.
At Grane, in the Drome, Florent will discover that fear of contamination from the virus and maintaining social distancing will play a part in their vacation.
When they reach Anglet, in the Basque country, the family will experience the worst day of their vacation. As the temperature hovers around 40oC, Florent and his children are confronted with the first wild fire of the summer, which will lay waste to nearly three hundred and fifty acres of forest. “It’s seeing a fire so close for the first time. I’ve never seen it before, I stay alert, but not panicking, just staying capable of reacting because, after all, I’m with my four children and I want us all to get back home together! If we have to leave, we’ve nothing outside, we’re ready, we get in, we start the engine and we’re off. We’ll only sleep when we’re sure and certain that nothing can happen. Anyway, I won’t be sleeping till then,” states Florent.
Once fully reunited, the family will be able to discover the way of life of a colourful region… the Basque country. With a visit to one of the loveliest villages in France, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, a typical farm where they produce Kintoa, the famous Basque pork with its AOP protected origin status, not to mention a gastronomic meal at one of the finest tables in the country in Ciboure. The family intends to leave this region with their heads crammed with picture postcard images. “I’m so happy to introduce this little village to my family. On this camper van road trip, it’s important to discover our heritage. To take the time to stop, to look, to enjoy. We are on vacation, after all,” laughs Aurelie.
A trip that will remain etched in their memories. An adventure with tears and huge joy… in one of the most beautiful regions of France.