Friday, 30 August 2013


After our whirlwind tour of Paris&Versailles (don't they look pretty together like that?) we drove into the Champagne region and the tudor-looking Troyes (pronounced the same as the french number three – trois).

Quiet and calm, Troyes was lovely for a well-deserved relax after the long trek from Newcastle and non-stopy-ness of the first two days. The town is kind of similar to York in architecture but no where near as busy and not the same level of cool. 

I would recommend having a good neb down all of the little alleys you can find (a good recommendation for many French towns!) – as long as it's safe and everything – as you're more than likely to stumble upon something amazing!


The true French restaurants (i.e. frequented by locals; tourists would do well to test there French at these! They'll appreciate the effort) are more than likely hidden away in a courtyard or distant square. Be brave – explore!

We did our own little Tour de Troyes with some bikes we hired from our campsite which, by the way, is a LOVELY way to see a city/town a la Frenchy. Not so good when your mother falls off her bike when she's had a glass of wine though. "It was the curb, honestly!" Yes, of course, I nodded as she and Ian came back from a (secret!) ride into town. 

 Serves me right for having my head stuck in a book I suppose. But it was such a good book. I know you'll understand. Not as much as Jade who lent me it to read though. She practically wrote it, I'll have you know – as did I...

After Troyes we dipped into a tiny little village that I have ashamedly forgotten the name of, but it was cute nonetheless. 

I did freak out a little when a lovely old French man tried to make a joke by pretending to steal my camera. The stealing I could cope with, the raspy, all-to-fast French I could not. 'Je ne comprends pas' and 'Je suis Anglais' couldn't come out of my mouth fast enough. In hindsight I'm sure a smile and a laugh would have been universal sign language enough for him to understand I got the joke. But he smiled at me a while later though, so it's all good. 

The next little stop of, I did remember the name of! Vesoul. Ha! 

And this was our view for the night. Belle belle belle belle belle belle. 

Guess what we did next? No, we didn't go and eat snails. That's what I did back up there in Troyes but forgot to tell you about.

Escargot, my friends. First tried in England (The next chapter) and finally in France! Tasty stuff. Garlic mostly, but who's trying to attract cute french guys anyway?

Monday, 26 August 2013

Paris & Versailles (Oo La La)

We drove in our campervan (small motorhome) from Newcastle to Dover on an evening and early morning just over 2 weeks ago. The journey was long but I boxed clever and used the time to brush up on my French! Parlez vous Francais? Uh, non... Anglais? Ang-what? Oh! Oui, oui, Anglais!

From the white cliffs we sailed to Calais via car ferry– glamorous, I know– with the intention of going to Paris to see a show at the Moulin Rouge and do a spot of tourism. The MR is so high on my list of things to do. So. High. Partially because of Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor I'll admit...

The palace of Versailles is still on my list of things to do– which is a good list to have and a good thing to be on a good list! The gardens of said palace are immense, the whole afternoon we spent there was barely enough to cover half! Marie Antoinettes estate remained unknown to us, as did the Grand Trianon and the stunning huge massive and beautiful Palace itself. But all the more reason to go back!

Our trip through the gardens started with oggling at the neat lines of trees and straining to hear the music that was booming from speakers in the heart of the garden. For being so busy, it was very peaceful! 

Sounds like we missed out on a lot, but what we did see was really wonderful. The gardens are so well maintained I really don't know how they have the time, patience or precision. Care to detail in that little paradise is crazy.

This summer the water displays and loud, emotive music are a great accompaniment on a venture through the greenery– the paid section that is. Half of the gardens and a super-large pond which are always busy with things to do is completely free, but to see the fountains/water displays/palaces you have to pay. Well worth it I would say though (even though I didn't get time to pay for more than the garden!).

La Flottille is a restaurant in the grounds (the free bit) if you get peckish! The food was nice, but a little over priced compared to the quality of a few of our meals later in the holiday.

Almost the last to leave, we went back to the van and mozied on over to Paris.

Paris isn't a nice city to drive a campervan in. It's not nice to drive a normal car in either by the looks of it. Eventually we found a street we could park in for the night (wild camping can be worrying but very fun) and then headed out for an evening stroll through the hustle & bustle.

I love Paris. I loved Disney Land in a Winter of my childhood, I loved the city and all of it's attractions for a few jam-packed days after Christmas in 2006 and I loved it for one evening/night in the summer of 2013.

I could walk these streets for hours.

How can you not like the Eiffel Tower? If you think it's ugly, you have to be in awe of the engineering or the sheer size of the beauty. 

Though I could have sworn it was green. It was green in my memory but after much scrutiny up-close-and-personal it is definitely not green.

 The pale bronze was a slight let down, but pretty all the same.

The Champs-Élysées was walked and the ET visited but alas we didn't go to the Moulin Rouge. Mum wasn't in the mood for a big city when we were on a camping holiday, so off we toddled to our next destination.