Mature Flâneur

We Came to a Fork in the Road, and We Took it

Driving the length of the French Alps

Tim Ward, Mature Flâneur
Globetrotters
Published in
8 min readJun 7, 2024

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The Vallée du Loup, from the mountain village of Gourdon, looking south towards the Mediterranean coast. All photos by author.

At the intersection I hesitated. The road south led back to Nice and the Mediterranean coast — that’s where our rental apartment was, with all our luggage. The road north, however, led to the enticing, rugged hills of Haute Provence and the French Alps beyond.

I flicked the turn signal with a twinge of regret, and we headed south, back towards our luggage.

“Someday,” I said to Teresa, my beloved spouse and co-flâneur, “I promise we will be back here, and take the road north through the Alps.”

That was November, 2021, at the very start of our flâneuring adventures in Europe. Almost two and a half years later, in May 2024, I pulled up to that exact same intersection, and we turned the other way.

Our day had started once again in Nice, driving along the seaside promenade and then up the valley of the Loup River, which narrows into a dramatic gorge of cascading white waterfalls and yellow-gray limestone cliffs. The road is one of the steepest and scariest we have ever driven— that in itself was a reason to do it one more time.

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Tim Ward, Mature Flâneur
Globetrotters

Author, communications expert and publisher of Changemakers Books, Tim is now a full time Mature Flaneur, wandering Europe with Teresa, his beloved wife.