The recently opened A77 autoroute runs from the A6 Autoroute du Soleil at Nemours (77 Seine et Marne, Ile de France) south of Paris due south towards Nevers (58 Nievre, Bourgogne) and eventually Moulins (03 Allier,Auvergne) and offers greatly improved access to the upper Loire, Sancerre, Briare (for the Pont Canal over the Loire) etc.
Most French autoroutes have names and this is known as the Autoroute des Arbres – Autoroute of the Trees. It features a delightful “Jardin des Arbres” rest area which is designed as a “shop window” in which to present a few of the remarkable species from the nearby National Arboretum at Barres. The Société des Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône, (the company which runs this motorway) then developed a more ambitious idea for the whole of the A77 autoroute: -
small groves of trees and copses have been planted all along the motorway. They are presented as arboretums to attract the attention of travellers.Their density increases then steadily decreases on both sides of the road over the whole route.
Each rest/service area has been named after the species chosen to beautify it including sephora, purple beech, cedar, gum tree, gingko, tulip tree and sequoia which succeed each other along the 101 km route.
It certainly puts the M1 and the likes of Newport Pagnall services to shame – BUT then most French autoroutes are toll roads, and they seldom have the sheer density of traffic which we have to endure in the UK.
For more information on the National Arboretum at Barres which is at Nogent-sur-Vernisson (45 Loiret, Centre) see www.arboretumdesbarres.com . – junction 18.1 off the A77 south of Montargis. The “Jardin des Arbres” rest area is just south of Junction 18.1 on the A77.
For more on France, French Wine, Food & Travel try our SEARCH feature
Also see our calendar of events in France