Diary Update 18...Champagne and Paris (again!!)
Trip Start Dec 10, 2005
24Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Hotel De Ville
Well it started out a lovely day with a blue sky so we thought we may just quickly pop into town to go up the Arch de Triumph before we head out to Champagne...however as we were waiting for the bus the cloud started to roll in and we thought we had better get going out to Orsay to take Misty back out to get something fixed...the new grill they put on her had completely rusted already so we think they did a dodgy job and they also have to replace the front fog lamp that fell out as they did not put it back properly...neither of us was looking forward to having to go through explaining this through sign language. We arrived and most of them were off to lunch and we tried unsuccessfully to explain it to one of the guys there...we ended up having to wait until 2.30 when the original guy who fixed it came back from lunch....no problem he said he would fix it within one hour...two and a half hours later it was fixed!
Day 348 - Friday 9th February - Epernay
We managed to ignore our alarm again and had a nice little sleep in to 10.30...it's so hard to wake up when it's cold outside and we are all snuggly and warm!! We found our way to the tourist office, which was closed but nevertheless it was conveniently located opposite the massive head quarters for Moet and Chandon...which is where we wanted to go anyway!! Talk about lush baby...this place was 5 star!! Because tourists are rare this time of year, we managed to score our very own personalized tour of the Moet and Chandon cellars (or caves) which go for about 100kms beneath the streets of Epernay...the also create Dom Perignon!! Our guide was a lovely lady (with a very strong French accent so Gemeah did not understand half of what she said but nodded politely anyway!!) Well we felt very posh because normally you only get to have your tasting in the cellars; however we got to sit in Napoleon's dining room and drink our Moet!!
We set of in search of internet and the post office and explored the town. We came back at 3.30 to find that Misty had got her first ever parking ticket!!. Problem was we had a ticket and it still had half an hour to go...they must be blind... Wayne said to ignore it but Gem was out to get it sorted out...Gem suggested that we go and ask some construction workers across the road where the Police Municipal was....Wayne laughed and said "good luck" as if any of them would speak English... Well Gem went off anyway and low and behold after using her basic French to introduce herself as a non French speaking Australian and telling them the problem...one of them was able to speak perfect English and said "Welcome to France, Madame...this is crazy you have got a parking ticket...but that is France...so welcome" he also gave us directions to the police office. We managed to find it and Gem communicated the problem in her basic French, but soon we found out we were in the wrong Police office and we had to go down the road...again we found it and Gem was able to communicate the problem and they very cute and sexy police officer. said "O.K no problem I will sort it out!!" That was that...success!! Given our poor command of the language!
Day 349 -Saturday 10th February - Epernay, Reims to Paris
O.K another drama today. After sleeping in to midday...because it was raining of course...we took of in the direction of Reims, driving through all of the wine yards. Reims was a bit boring though as it is more a modern city as it has been rebuilt twice...the Cathedral was impressive but we could not work out how to get there so we decided to keep driving to Paris. However, once on the motorway we passed a shopping centre and thought it would be easier to stock up on groceries here than try and stop somewhere in Paris...so we tried to find somewhere to turn off the highway...no chance...there is no turning around on a toll road. We thought we had found an exit to turn of but then we had to stop as some poor lady had taken the exit too quickly and hit the concrete pillar in the middle and spun her car around...Wayne got out and helped push the car to the side of the road and found that they were O.K and getting help on the phone. Next we found that we did in fact have to pay the toll to take this exit despite telling them that we just needed to turn around...so we turned around thinking that we did not have to pay the toll to get back on the road given that we had gone 2 meters...but no...we had to pay the toll again...NOT HAPPY JAN!!! Were not talking cheap tolls either, the tolls in France have been the most expensive all over Europe!! Anyway we drove back, got lost, could not find the shopping centre..
Day 350 -Sunday 11th February - Paris
Off to find Bastille today where apparently some of Paris prettiest makerts are held. It was raining which was a bit of a bummer, but we found the markets and Wayne had a good time looking at all the wonderful produce...yet again. We were also entertained by a funny Afican dude who could juggle whilst making funny faces and balancing a gold fish bowel on his head!! We spent some more time waling around the streets just taking in the atmosphere of the city.
Day 351 -Monday 12th February - Paris
This morning we went to the top of the Arch de Triumph to take in the view...it was spectacular
Day 352 -Tuesday 13th February - Paris
Last day in beautiful Paris today and we had planned to go to "Centre Pompidou" which is the modern art building today, but unfortunately it is closed on Tuesdays
Day 353 -Wednesday 14th February - Paris
O.K we are pathetic...we just can't leave and we should have because it is pouring rain. We got back into Chatelet area and Gem dropped Wayne off at the internet café and then proceeded to visit the modern art builing, which took hours in itself and Gem was very excited to see some weird and wonderful art and some orginals by Picasso, Dali, Matesse...all the guys she studied. We finished off a great day by attempting to go to the movies on the Champs de elysee but kept getting lost trying to find the right movie theater...we eventually found one that showed the "Version Original" which meant that it was in English. Had a great time and then said goodbye to Paris for sure this time!!
Day 354 -Thursday 15th February - Paris to Brugge
So this morning it is definitely goodbye to beautiful Paris this morning and even worse the weather this morning is perfect. So it is goodbye to France the land of fine fine food (the best in all of Europe), a beautiful language, great diverse scenery, beautiful towns, dog lovely friendly people, dog lovers, the best wine and the best baguettes
Next it was back to Brugge in Belgium where we first started our tour on the continent. Now that we are seasoned motor homers we actually managed to find the motor home free aire rather than paying for camping....even better it was so close to the city...and absolutely packed with about 40 motor homes...we have not seen so many out in Winter!! Too tired after a long drive to go into town tonight so we crashed.
Day 355 -Friday 16th February - Paris to Brugge
We walked into town and we had forgotten just how stunning this little town was...even though this was our second time here we were blown away at its beauty. Wayne was excited to be able to eat some more Belgium Fritz, stock up on Belgium Beer, and visit the many Belgium chocolate shops. Despite having a great day in Brugge, today was officially a sad day though...we have sold our beloved "Misty"...don't get us wrong we are happy that she sold so quickly (within 2 weeks) and at a profit (how is that! we have had transport and accommodation for over a year and still made money on her and didn't even have to do a reno!!). Another Aussie couple saw her advertised on the internet site and we have struck a deal...it is great for them as they won't have to go through the ordeal of setting one up as she comes with everything!
After a full day in Brugge we crashed tonight.
Day 357 -Saturday 17th February - Brugge to Calais
Woke up to a lovely day in Brugge and spent most of the day walking around and buying a few more souvenirs for family...and of course some chocolate for ourselves. Despite it being winter this place is packed with tourists and it has such a lovely atmosphere as the all the horse drawn carriages (full of tourists) parade through the streets. Tonight we drove to Calais and spent our last Euro's on some dinner and petrol and then managed to find the Motor home aires, which was great as we had not seen this very pretty part of Calais as we normally catch the train through the tunnel. However, as so many motor homes use the ferries this aires was in front of the beach and next to the ferry terminals...which was loud but awesome as we could look out our window and watch the ferries go past and into the English Channel. We said our last goodbye to the continent which was quite sad...we are sure we will be back again though!!
Day 358 -Sunday 18th February - Calais to Sandgate
Had to get up at 6.30 in order to get to the channel tunnel in time