Following on from Part 1 (read part 1 here) where we travelled from Calais to Champagne via St Omer and Arras. An amazing dinner, one of the most picturesque and complete Chateaus in all of France and a dalliance in the capital await before the home leg across Normandy and the boat back to England.
Day 3 Moussy
In Part 1 I told you how we took in trips to the Dom Perignon caves and bought ourselves some less pricey fizz out in the sticks. After loading the car up with the tempting refreshments we set off for our night in the region in the tiny hamlet of Moussy. It’s just a few kilometres south of Epernay and we stayed at the Auberge Champenoise. The hotel is a basic, no frills affair but the restaurant….oh the restaurant.
Having dumped our bags and freshened up we headed downstairs to eat and were greeted by a beautiful dining room situated in a conservatory. White linen adorned the tables and bow-tied waiters buzzed through the room.
We dined on oysters, sea bass, duck (in a delicious peach sauce), bourgoyne aligote, delicious desserts, coffees and a couple of cognacs. I’ve visited France many times and this remains one of the very best meals I’ve eaten there.
We retired for the night happy (wine/cognac) and almost as full as the day itself had been.
Day 4 Moussy – Pierrefonds
Next up was a change of direction as we swung west towards Paris. On the way we took in the small village of Pierrefonds. Perched on the hills above the village lake sits the chateau. It avoided the terrors of the religious wars and 20th century conflicts and remains in all its near complete glory as the centrepiece of the area.
The view is breath-taking and the town has hotels to accommodate the curious, so you can stay over as well as just pass through. We took in a lazy day and a break from the car and could not have spent it in a more gorgeous setting.
Day 5 Pierrefonds – Paris
We had planned some time in Paris to take in the sights and legendary cuisine and we clambered back into the car that morning with a full itinerary. Having arrived at our hotel we did the usual touristy things, seeing Notre Dame, Concord, Arc and Eiffel Tower. We ate in a bistro in Montmartre and enjoyed the buzz of the capital with all its easy charm and spectacular architecture.
Day 6 Paris – Honfleur
The day began with a gentle drive through the Norman countryside before we ambled in to Honfleur for our final gastronomic treat; lunch by the famous quayside. The sun shone brightly and we relaxed and laughed about the week we’d had.
It was the perfect way to round things off. Some sightseeing afterwards helped to walk off a few calories and then we bedded in for our final night. After that it was a quick jaunt round Le Havre’s hypermarket and onto the ferry home.
The trip is only an example of course and if it’s inspired you to undertake a similar journey you can always tailor it to visit some places that we did not. Le Touquet, Amiens, the Normandy beaches all spring to mind but the choice is yours.
If you plan ahead and sort out your hotels and have the ferry sorted it’s a low cost, low stress option for a week away with a few friends. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experiences and that you feel enthused to try something similar.
If you are going to drive through France make sure you read our Checklist for all the items you need to take with you.
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Author: Dave G
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