All posts tagged: France

Finally on to our final destination, Paris

Up early for a run around Parc Saint Jean, the nicest part of Amiens, before finally visiting the cathedral, the 19th largest in the world, that sits on the doorstep of our accommodation. A few photos later we packed the car for our last drive to the drop off before catching the train to Paris. It must be said, that whilst Hugh has certainly mastered the art of driving in Europe and done an exceptional job at that, there is no way any sane person outside of Paris would ever drive in Paris. Hence, au voir to our Renault which served us well for the past 12 days. We were advised that there was no need to book our train tickets to Paris, but being the ultra organised people that we are, Hugh duly went on line and purchased 2 first class tickets, the only class available to book online, to ensure we had no mishaps. Well, no need to have been concerned, the train we near empty and bar one person we had the …

Follow the Cliffs.

The thunderclaps of duel storms put paid to any sleep in this morning, peels of thunder chasing lightning right on top of us from about 8am. It was almost as impressive as the gourmet breakfast served up again by our hosts, Annick and Paul. You sit down in a beautiful dining room with fabulous cutlery and crockery, being served pastries, crepes, savoury quiches, pastry parcels, shot glasses of palate cleanser fruit purees, coffee……the works. Conversation with the other guests is lively, plenty of travel talk and cricket discussion with the poms! Can’t speak highly enough of our pad for the last two nights, exceptional hosts who go the extra mile to make sure everyone feels special, from the home made cakes in the afternoon, to the cider on arrival, the unbelievable breakfasts, the little finishing touches and attention to detail that stand it apart. This place would be the best we have stayed at in both our trips to Europe, and most highly recommended. We waddle out the gate at about 11.30 and head off …

Rancho Relaxo Part Two

Up early for a run around the beautiful harbour of Honfleur before tucking in to the most anticipated breakfast of our five weeks in Europe. The great thing about running, besides the fitness benefit, is the places you end up in that you may not have seen because you would never have walked that far. We came across a beautiful park early in the morning that was full of Lilly pads with just as many frogs all enjoying the wonderment of the pond. The attention to detail that the French give their gardens is something to behold and we have been fortunate to see many such examples of fine horticultural displays on our travels. Back for breakfast, which is something to be seen to be believed. We had read about this on trip advisor before booking our accommodation and it did not fail to disappoint. Fresh produce, homemade pastries and freshly brewed coffee, we were in heaven. The hosts make everything on site, including the jams, juices and pastries, and it was a delight to …

Along the coast to Honfleur

The day started hot and humid and the moment Rachael headed out for a run it became very humid indeed, thunderstorm wet! Me being sensible (read lazy) protected our bags from the safety of bed! After all that excitement it was time for breakfast at the communal table, which we shared with a Dutch fellow, who filled us in on lots of political talk about the Greeks, plus shared travel tales and adventure. We battled through the rain to the MAHB, the Museum of Bayeux art history, mainly because it was part of a museum pass we had than any great desire to be in another art gallery, but it was pretty interesting, and kept us dry while it bucketed down outside. Enough culture, time to have a last look through the Cathedral before heading off toward our next pitstop. The beauty of today is our next stop is only 90kms away so we were in no hurry to get anywhere, plenty of time for our friendly GPS to lead us on a merry goose …

Onward to Chartres

Pack up time again, and with a leisurely trip of about 170kms to Chartres ahead of us, we were in no hurry to leave Amboise. Breakfast followed by coffee and croissant at the patisserie and a last look around town, including a visit to Clos Luce, the last residence of Leonardo Di Vinci. I previously mentioned Di Vinci’s influence over this town, and no where is it more evident than at this stately manor. Initially we thought we’d just look around from the road, but the 10 foot high stonewall put paid to that theory, so in we went to check it out. Leonardo’s influence doesn’t come cheap, €14 is at the high end, even for France, but when will we be back? Once again, a decision vindicated! We had a great time wandering around for an hour or two, going through the main villa with plenty of information on Di Vinci’s phenomenal talents, especially in the field of engineering. Model tanks imagined five hundred years early, machine guns, draw bridges and parachutes, gliders and …

A Chateau kind of Day

The Loire Valley is famous for its Chateau, so what better way to spend a day than visiting some? Breakfast at the apartment then into town to get a coffee, which wasn’t bad. Cool little patisserie that will get more of our Euro’s before we leave here. Our first visit is to the largest and most popular, Chateau Chambord, about one hour from Amboise up the river. You enter down a long boulevard flanked by forest before opening up to glimpses of what was to come. This is one impressive structure, huge by any measure. It dominates the horizon surrounded by water, manicured gardens and 5,400 hectares of forest, all enclosed by 34kms of stone wall. Super impressive inside and out, this Chateau is regarded as the international symbol of French Renaissance and is the most visited of all the Loire palaces. Tick! Second visit was about 50 minutes away down some interesting single lane roads, encroached on by fields of maze, wheat, and corn, and in one spot the most beautiful meadow of sunflowers …

The Loire Valley

One of the many up sides of staying at the Abbey was the sleep in and the sumptuous breakfast. Most of the food prepared at the hotel is locally sourced. Very local! Having indulged in both we set off once again with a walk around the Abbey in daylight, and yes, more photos of Richard the Lion Heart, where does the infatuation end?? With Hugh back in the drivers seat, phew, we headed of to a quaint village in the Loire Valley called Saumur. It was a quick stop to take a photo of one of the many Chateau’s which of course had scaffolding around the front due to renovations. Photo duly taken we jumped back in the car and headed to our next stop, Chinon. This little village is home to the Chateau Royale Chinon which we took the time to visit, despite the temperature now reaching into the 30’s…… The chateau at Chinon is aimed a bit at kids, with lots of interactive stuff going on, plus plenty of reference to King Arthur….who …