The Paris to St-Malo Rally

Trip Start May 05, 2007
Trip End May 15, 2007

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Sunday, May 6, 2007

Landed in Paris mid-morning after the typical overnight flight. We picked up our rental car at Hertz -- a nice Renault Megane Scenic, very roomy, fairly new, and ready for a long ride! Driving in any foreign country is always a bit unnerving (US being the exception - unless one is driving through prime crime areas or on the Ventura Freeway...), so it's with a bit of trepidation that I took the wheel to get us out of the greater Paris area and onto the highway that would take us to St-Malo, 400km west, just on the Brittany side of the Brittany-Normandy 'border'.

Beautiful scenery - very green and vast, wide fields, great roads, and plenty of rest areas and restaurants along the way. We went through the north roads, driving near Rouen, Caen, before heading back down south through Avranches, and finally reaching St-Malo around 6.30pm.

Heading for the medieval city, the walls loomed from a distance. I found one of the gates to the old city and started driving through tiny winding streets that took us deeper and deeper into the middle ages. We finally reached a point near the church, and parked the car. We would reach our hotel, Hotel de l'Univers, on foot, dragging our little suitcases on cobblestones.

We walked through the main Place, seeing the hotel at the back. Very attractive building, well located. Friendly service at reception. I had reserved through the Web - not 100% sure everything would be set up correctly, but it was, and we checked in, helped by the smiling deskclerk, who, it turns out, was a huge fan of Celine Dion, and by extension, of all French Canadians...

After a quick rest in the room (modestly but nicely appointed), we stepped out for dinner. The presidential election had just been won by Nicholas Sarcozy, and his fans were out celebrating on the Place, one woman wearing a "I love Nicholas!" t-shirt...

We had a lovely dinner, sitting on the patio at the Lion d'Or, after which we strolled around the town, walking up and down the narrow cobblestoned streets of the "intra-muros". Very charming, highly recommended.
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