Drifting down the road “Les Platanes” on the N10 near Vendôme in Loir-et-Cher

“La Valse des Platanes”, a title that gives us the rhythm of days and nights in this restaurant dedicated to truck drivers. Patricia and Francois, custodians of this meeting point, comfort and convenience, tirelessly bring, over the course of 20 years, this essential observation of humanity to all those solitary people on the road highlighted in this documentary by Laurie Pinon and Bertrand Amiot.

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An invitation to this oasis where those who stay and those who leave spend moments of life among the warm walls of Platanes.

The merchant’s daughter, Patricia, began working at the age of sixteen. In a country pub, regulars are a part of everyday life and customers rarely pass. The routine establishes itself more easily when faces and stories are not renewed.

“I was the boss at 18, and I took over from my father in a small village. I ran this business for ten years and I always said, ‘I’ll never do this job again unless he’s a truck driver.'”

The connection and diversity of encounters, exchanges and journey feed through the stories of Patricia’s truck drivers and give meaning to her day-to-day efforts. Patricia receives and gives much in return for improving rest times for those who pave the way for a living.

I told François, you know, taking over a restaurant, it would be a real priesthood, like being a chaplain, it’s 7/7, 24 hours a day. “You exaggerated,” he told me, after three months, he realized that I was right.

The days are very long. Private life and professional life are one. Meals are taken in the restaurant, the apartment above is used for sleeping only, the house which is only three kilometers away receives its owners only on weekends. Choosing between travel time and rest time, the question does not even arise.

“I get up, quietly drinking my coffee hoping no one is behind the window banging on the tiles to tell me ‘It’s cold outside, can you open it?'” No, it’s not five o’clock.”

Patricia, ‘Pato’, to truckers listening to secrets, knowing how to read in silence and unspoken, she extends her ear and shoulder to console these giants with feet of mud who live far from their families to feed. Absence, that killer love that steals precious moments from sharing.

I, I saw young people crying on my shoulder, but literally … Divorces that went badly, problems with spouses, problems with children, Francois called me Mother Teresa.

Language is no obstacle for Patricia, who regrets not having a diploma and thus admits that she does not feel legitimate, knows how to find roundabouts to calm her clients.

“In every language, I try to learn at least the polite forms, thank you, hello, goodbye, in every language, it always makes them happy.”

Patricia loves her job, loves communication, and some of her clients are part of the family, but she’s tired. She would like to live something else, grow flowers and enjoy her garden. But you have to sell and buyers are rare. Work is very hard, long working hours are scary. Patricia cares about the future of the Platanes, these walls that have heard many stories and harbored many travelers. Parting will be salvation, but it will certainly not be without heartbreak.

“There’s someone who cares, we’re waiting for the bank agreements. He’s someone who’s been on the road for twenty years, so he knows the road driver’s business perfectly. If it’s him honestly, that’s a treat, because I know Platanes will last, because that’s also, to me, from What’s important is that I know that Platanes will survive.”

“For an organization like this, it has to be two people. Then the public works started to weigh on me a little bit. It was enough to take the lead and we jumped.”

Francois met Patricia in his own pub, thirty years ago. A worker in the construction industry, he knew nothing of the trade or the world of the road.

The first nights in the plane trees were sleepless. Not that the fatigue wasn’t there, but the noise was. Cars passing by, trucks passing by and then after that, we don’t hear it anymore.


François is a real leader in his parking lot. It manages to park the car with a stick so that everyone finds their place “in the right place and completely safe”. On his land, on foot, by car, in a quad, he feels good. He lends a helping hand to truckers who need it, whistles and hums, and he always has the right word, fun words or crossword puzzles, but he’s uncompromising when a truck driver wants to sleep without going through the meal box. A privilege sometimes granted by spouses to young female drivers for safety reasons.

Francois looks at planes, dreams of freedom. Work, he’s tired of it, at 62, now wants to stop to have a little fun, to go see the people he loves.

We have friends and we never see them.”

“The principal, he’s not your father, he’s not your friend, but it’s just like when you come in, that’s great, and you’re home, I’ll tell you, all you’re missing are slippers on your feet, you’re fine.”

The way, some do it voluntarily, because they can’t stand office life. A need for freedom to move forward.

And then there are those who suffer from it, and wait until retirement stops. Others who chose this job, because there is nothing better than it, because you have to work hard to earn a living.

And what about those little dads who cling to needles so they can kiss their kids before the next day?

Engine failure, customer, traffic jam and wheels go by, hours pass and breaks are in order…on the side of the road.

In transportation, we know when to leave, we don’t know when to return.


Many complain about truck bans in towns and villages that no longer allow them to stop to buy food. Foreign competition is tough and the Covid period has left a bitter taste.

“We were not happy during Covid, there is no restaurant, no right to toilets, no right to shower, and dogs are, worse than dogs.”

The truck becomes a second home: small chores, rituals, and decorations. The driver’s seat becomes a reading chair and a phone screen TV for watching the match.

“I always open the blinds, and when I go to bed I just close the blinds, or you’ll really feel like you’re locked in there.”

Enthusiastic young women find their place in this masculine profession by asserting themselves and showing character. But beginnings are sometimes difficult, “Like a doe in the country of the wolf” They prefer to live on and off hours to find shelter in their truck. Then, time passes, the masks fall off and conversations naturally revolve around their common interests and careers.

At first, I did not go there, for the whole week I was preparing my dishes. Then, I said to myself, a good restaurant feels good, eats spicy, sees people, makes people talk.


“It wasn’t like my job before, at the post office. I got up, and I had a ball in my stomach. Today, I woke up, and I’m happy to get behind the wheel and tell myself you’re there, I’m leaving for 9 hours of driving.”

  • The first good reason to watch this documentary is to walk through the truck stop doors and feel this special atmosphere.

This meeting place where all the lonely people on the road put their feet from their truck to spend a time of coexistence, a hot meal, a shower and breakfast before watching the kilometers go by. Ils profitent de cet intermède, de cette bouffée d’oxygène pour verbaliser les soucis du quotidien avec ceux qui rencontrent les mêmes problèmes, qu’ils soient professionnels ou personnels et qui sont à mêmesan de les quprends de comprends les cons from life. By watching this documentary, we witness this intimacy by approaching those who transport in all weathers and overcoming many difficulties, the products necessary for our survival.

  • The second good reason is to follow the pace of Patricia and François who sleep 35 hours a week.

In the service of truck drivers, they struggle to give their best, sometimes, often forgetting themselves! They are always there where drivers expect to find them, faithful to the job in this relay that stands like a beacon on the edge of a national road in the middle of nowhere.

The documentary ends with a new note that brings a smile to François and new colors to Patricia.

  • The third good reason is to note the evolution of the trucking profession in recent years: new regulations, competition with eastern countries, the increasing number of women in the profession, and the gradual disappearance of fulcrums since truck stops tends to disappear.

This documentary is a photograph of an era, a place in this world in perpetual motion of music by Clement Urey, a violinist and tuba player from Blois.

Documentary film “The Waltz of the Plane Trees”. Film by Laurie Benon and Bertrand Amiot with original music by Clement Ory. Produced by Tours Val de Loire and Jerelle Television Production. First broadcast, October 13, 2022, at 10.45 pm on France 3 Center Val de Loire.

#Drifting #road #Les #Platanes #N10 #Vendôme #LoiretCher



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