Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Euro-trip 2019 from Reims to Nancy - Friday 05 July

Friday 05 July

Harry drove us from Reims to Nancy. We had a break for coffee at Vitry le François.  we parked in a spot near a nursery school and the river Saulx, a tributary of the Marne.
In the heat the water looked tempting but very fast flowing. It was a pleasant spot. I  chatted to a local as he was dog walking., and he said people had been known to drown there. 

By the river we saw a splendid butterfly, shining iridescent purple when its wings opened and caught the sun. 
Photos by Harry

Dave Holden assured us it was a lesser purple emperor. We have seen a purple emperor in Britain, but not this species.

Back at the car park, approaching noon, lots of cars arrived to pick the kids up. 

Some time later we stopped for a lunch break at Pagny sur Meuse.

There was a convenient car park, and we were bale to get a coffee in a fast food bar with a loo, before eating our picnic in the little parc. Chiens interdits, même tenus en laisse.
Not so many of these in evidence these days!

We arrived at the hotel at around 3pm.  A very well appointed hotel, and situated in what lloks like a respectable, well-heeled quiet suburb. And so it was, apart from the fact that we'd arrived at the wrong weekend.

To be fair we were warned by email as we were approaching Nancy, that a "group" would be staying there on Saturday night... today was Friday...

Our policy is to use the car as little as possible once we have arrived somewhere, so we went into the town on a bus. We explored a little, walked around the main square , Place Stanislas, admired the architecture.

Le Tour is on its way

We indulged in an ice cream, and after a walk through the beautiful Parc de la Pépinière, we dined on a tuna salad at La Brasserie de la Pépinière. 

Nancy has an exceptionally lovely town centre. 
We returned to Villers les Nancy and the hotel, again by bus. We sat in the garden for a while enjoying the relative cool of the evening.

Unfortunately there was loud music from a neighbouring restaurant until midnight, which made for a less than restful night.A little disappointing for a place which advertises itself on the website as " un havre de tranquillité au cœur du village de Villers-lès-Nancy."

Friday, August 23, 2019

Euro-trip 2019 - Parc de Champagne, Reims

Thursday 04 July

Anne drove us to the Parc de Champagne, which is in the south-west of Reims.  

It was created by the Marquis de Polignac for those who worked in the champagne caves, and also to leave his own mark on Reims. It is close to the Pommery vineyards and cellars. The park was opened before World War 1. The Collège des Athlètes was situated there - an important centre for sports education in France.The north american delegation to the 5th Olympic Games was received there in 1912.
There was a lot of damage during the First World War, and the park was rebuilt by Edouard Redont and Ernest Kalas.

A large area of green space, with sports facilities. Today there were lots of groups of young schoolchildren - the school year ends tomorrow.

Harry drew a while. Anne and I wandered around then sat and chatted. We spent some time in the herb garden area, finding some strange plants and odd names. Herbs were arranged by the ailments they were supposed to cure...

Some time before 2pm we went back to Anne's for lunch  - salad with chick peas and some smoked trout.

In the afternoon Harry and I went to cathedral area...
 drew people...

had a coffee...
 drew a bit more....

Back at Anne's, she made some delicious spring rolls ...

which we ate with Harry's roast potatoes.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Euro-trip 2019 - cycling near Reims

Wednesday 03 July, Circular from Reims

 (Copied from my "aliwalks" blog.
34 miles, almost 1100 feet of ascent and descent. Very hot weather again.

We set off at about 10 am from Reims. First stop was Sacy, where we made ourselves a coffee,
since we couldn't see a convenient café.
The old lavoir provided shade and seating.

Nearby they were preparing to celebrate the passage of the Tour de France - not through the 
village itself but on the road in the valley.
I asked if the maillot jaune was for me, but it seems not!

So onward and upward and along some vineyard tracks.

Not a lot of shade.

More of a mountain bikers' area according to this.
 A church among the vineyards

We headed uphill towards a wooded area.
 There was even some mud, but the shade was welcome, so we stopped for a lunchtime picnic.
Our map was not great, and signposts were a bit lacking. After riding for some time we stopped
in Sarcy, at an American-style bikers bar. This was just after the American women's soccer team
had beaten both France and England! But the lemonade was good!!
After another unintentional detour and 15 miles or so of riding we arrived back at Anne's.
Another delicious meal on the veranda, as the evening cooled.

Euro-trip 2019 - Reims, walking, drawing, eating

Tues 02 July 

We had visited Reims briefly once before, in 1999, when we missed the total solar eclipse by minutes as clouds slid in front of the sun! We had the silence and the darkness, but not the ring of fire or Bailey's beads!  

Today we took a walk through town, past the Porte de Mars.
This is the only surviving one of four gateways to the Roman city.

 The pictures represent the stages of champagne production .

 The town hall.

The cathedral was as impressively beautiful as we remembered. We all sat and drew in the cathedral garden, trying to find shade - the weather was still very hot, and the sun fierce.

We had a break for coffee, then drew some more, while Anne went to sort something out in town.
I met her an hour or so later and we went into the Médiathèque - a large library and media centre with huge windows, and plenty of sitting space. There's a wonderful view of the cathedral from an upper floor, though it was half-obscured by sun blinds today. 

By about 2pm we were getting hungry, so made our way to a vegetarian restaurant, punningly called Végé Table. The food was slightly disappointing, because it was the end of lunchtime and they were closing soon.
We walked back, bought cakes from a local patisserie, to eat with tea in the garden, then retired for a rest. 

In the evening we watched the women's football world cup. Unfortunately the US beat England, 2 goals to 1, but we all found the match entertaining. They had already beaten the French women earlier in the competition. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Euro-trip 2019 - from Theux to Reims

Monday 01 July

With some regret, we left Theux, after having car washed - all the dust from the local building works removed!! We stopped at an aire high up on way over for coffee, then later for lunch about 60 km from Reims. 
Arrived around 3.30 pm. Greeted by Viviane and the cat, Boogie. 
Sorting out the essentials with Viviane!

Anne made us a meal, which we ate on the balcony. a late night wander around streets with Harry.  Then sleep.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Euro trip 2019 - Theux - piscine communale.

Sunday 30th June - a swim and a lazy day

Breakfast, then piscine communale.  Unfortunately almost all shops in Theux are closed after 12 on Sundays!!  
A few clouds appeared in the sky today, but temperature was still 29 degrees. 

Lunched on remaining cheese, toms, olives and yellow pepper, bread and honey cake.
By the river we saw a kingfisher. Far too fast for a photo, of course!
Getting the ducks in a row?
Le Wayai

Chatted to the ex-gardener with a broken pelvis.
Cycled down to the local garage for quick meal provisions for tonight.
Glam cycling gear.
Cooked and ate quite late. 
Saw possible nutcracker birds in the trees.