3rd September 2012
After breakfast we set off on our first adventure, we are staying in Boulevard de Villette, very close to Place Colonel Fabien, who was aResistance leader in Paris, killed by the Germans. There are several memorials in the vicinity. Excitement, the large modern building on the corner of the street is the headquarters of Partie Communiste Francaise, also memorials to the men of the International brigades. We are heading for the Pompidou Centre, where we willseeWe a fantastic retrospective of Gerhard Richter
4th September 2012
Had to sort out are cash card, telephone and Navigation. The lovely man in the Internet cafe, told us about a chain called Darty, for electronic stuff and we found it supplied our needs. We also fortuitously came upon a great market, with great vegetables cheap knickers and other desirable stuff. E going into retail feeding frenzy until I get her to focus on the mission. Afternoon we went into the centre of town and walked a bit in the Marais, old Jewish quarter. French tea. Who knew? There is a fabulous and fabulously expensive shop that deals in french teas with exotic names, must have another look when we return.
5th September 2012
Today we pick up the car. And when I say today, I mean that it probably takes up the whole day. Don’t want to write about it. Will tell all later.
We are underway, and already well behind schedule. Mlle Tom Tom is installed, but as we were warned she can be a bit flighty when she is in Paree. Thought we might go round in circles until we run out of petrol. Should have taken a map.
At last we seem to be getting out of Paris and Mlle T is settling down to the job. Next stop Chartres. It is always amazing to see the twin spires of Chartres appearing out of the French plain. The cathedral really dominates the town and is awesome sight, the stained glass (vitrail) is truly magnificent, mostly blues and reds, with some yellow an occasional green. The scenes are, of course, mainly religious, but there are also signs of the zodiac in some panels. A monument to faith or exploitation of the workers. You choose. We leave e in the cathedral, to look for accomodation , and settle on a b&b about 5 km south of Chartres.
So much is serendipity when you travel, sometimes it’s OK, sometimes it’s horrible and sometimes it is just great. This was one of the last. Our room for three persons was actually two rooms quite spacious and very comfortable. A gracious and voluble host (you need to speak French though) and, sacre blue, un piscine (swimming pool)
Now we are heading for Blois, which was our destination yesterday. Blois is a beautiful, Medieval and Renaissance city on the Loire and associated with Le Roi Francois 1er, who built the splendid chateau and also employed Leodardo da Vinci. We arrive about lunch time and happily find McDonalds, happily because it is the one place you can reliably find wi fi. The Caesr salad wasn’t too bad either. Later in the afternoon we head out to Chateau de Chambord, probably the largest and most famous of the chateaux. Tomtom gives a most circuitous route! But very picturesque. We don’t go in because there is a long walk for e from the car park, but we get some good views and surrounding areas are very beautiful.
We find a hotel which is cheap, but practically a clone of the one in Auckland. Oh well. It will do. Ca suffice. Back into the centre for dinner, a gaze at the Loire and a bit of a walk around. Back at he hotel and the gate is firmly shut. We all burst out laughing. About three or four minutes later another car arrives. “Bonjour Madame, est ce que vous aves le code? Oui, bien sur…more chatter… Bon nuit”. No one told us.