Sunday, 18 August 2013

Travels in France - Western Loire valley.


Another day of travelling, this time from Bayeux south past Le Mans and into the Loire countryside. The venue is Chateau de Montaupin at Oizé, and the whole building is quite imposing. It also has a small swimming pool and the water is very cold. I might just have an early morning dip, although, on the other hand, I might not.

The evening meal was a meal for 18, with all the guests being English speakers. The meal was magnificent, and tired we went to bed.


Le Mans - old town

Slightly overcast this morning, but is probably going to be very hot today. The weather never really made its mind up and we had both sunshine and showers. 

A good day for a trip into Le Mans, which is known as an automobile city, but not for the quaintness of its old town, and the majesty of its 13th Century Cathedral. As it was a sunday, when we walked though the old part of town, inside the ramparts, there was virtually nobody there. 

We saw the cathedral at the second attempt, the first one being sabotaged by the fact that there was a mass on. We wandered off to a local museum (Museum of Reine Berengère) and saw the cathedral at the second attempt.

By this time the weather was changing, and we dodged a heavy shower by dint of being in the car.

Travels in France - Upper Normandy

The first two days of our holiday have mostly involved travelling. Home to Dover is a reasonably quick route involving a series of different motorways: the route was direct, although we did hit the obligatory traffic jam on the M25 near Hertford, because of roadworks.

View from our bedroom

The crossing was quick and efficient, without any problems to speak of, and from Calais, the main aim is to get out of the flat and boring countryside that is the Nord Pas-de-Calais as quickly as is possible. We elected to take the more coastal route that took us  towards Le Havre. The journey was a lot longer than was predicted on google maps, so we stopped at an Aire, where we had cold drink, and saw ducks and a load of enormous fish - they looked like carp to my inexperienced eye - there must have been dozens of them. They were is a canal that ran alongside the Aire, and were being fed by other travellers with pieces of bread.

We headed for Le Havre, and drove through an very impressive series of three bridges across the harbour and the estuary of the river Seine. The view was stunning, and one of the bridges (they were all quite new - presumably built after second world war damage to older bridges) must have had a gradient of at least 1:2. I was the passenger so could linger on the view. 

More travelling afterwards - indeed with the four hours in England and the five hours in France, it made for a surprising day. We arrive at La Suhardière around 6 pm local time, and the house is really pretty. Off the road, just before Caumont ‘l’Eventé, and quiet.

There are two other guests, a mother and her adult son, who are having dinner with us. They speak no English at all, so I have to manage with my ‘O’ level French! It seemed to be satisfactory, however. The food was lovely, and home made, of course. Courgette tart, then Escalope de Dinde with haricots verts, then a rhubarb tart, and then cheese. Très typique! Madame started with a lovely home made aperitif/digestif. It was quite refreshing!

So tiring, so we went to bed.