We didn’t get off to an early start having scrambled eggs for breakfast with croissants. The town of Toul was our destination and although it wasn’t far we didn’t arrive until after 12. The place was very quiet and there really wasn’t a great deal to see. The cathedral was interesting with some strange relics [see the photos]. Most of the time was spent at the museum, it was free and larger than it looked from the outside. Displays covering many aspects of French life through history dating back from prehistoric times until now. Very well done and interesting.
We parked that night next to a small harbour in the town of Ligny-en-Barrois where it was 2 euros for the night which included the wifi. After tea we had a hankering for an ice-cream so we walked into town and after a bit of searching came across a takeaway shop which sold ice creams. Magnums at 2.50 euros each was a bargain.
In the morning it was very overcast and drizzly so we pulled into a large shopping area to explore some French shops. Up until this day the weather had been sunny and warm and in the afternoon it cleared up. The first shop we looked at was Action a variety shop where we bought a couple of small torches, reading glasses, biscuits, Dutch liquorice, bike seat cover, ice block plastic bags, crochet hooks and cotton. Amazing as we hadn’t planned to buy anything. Next door was a Decathlon, this is a chain of French sports stores. The stores are big and they have anything you can think of relating to sports. Lori bought a couple of watches and Ewout a basket for the front of his bike. This is the home of the two second tent, you take it out of the bag and throw it in the air and when it lands it is ready for use. We bought one a few years ago and have taken it back to Australia.
We then drove to a small town called Vitry-la-Francois and after finding an easy park we walked past an impressive main gate and along the street where we came across a very quintessentially looking French brasserie. Having not eaten out lately, we decided that the menu of the day would do for us.
Friendly service, wonderful atmosphere and delicious food at a reasonable price made for a pleasant lunch.
Our first France Passion site of the trip.
France Passion sites are where you can stay on a property for free in a motorhome. They are mostly farms but can also be people’s homes. The only requirement is that you buy the guide book which has the map and locations and that you abide by the code of conduct. Always say hello when arriving and goodbye when leaving. We have used the French Passion sites many times and have always had a warm reception and an interesting stay. Our first night we stayed at a champagne producers property, in the back garden amongst the trees and flowers. At 6pm we went and tried some champagne while the lady owner tried to explain somethings about their champagne. Of course we bought a few bottles as we were in the middle of the champagne region.
Two towns in one day.
After looking at the maps we chose the town of Chalons –en-Champagne for our next visit. The maps showed a very large carpark near to the centre of town and we set our TomTom to the spot. When we arrived we found that the carpark was indeed very large but not motorhome friendly and the Bunyip was denied access as she is too tall.
Going around the block we found an easy park and spent a few hours exploring the town. I tried to steer the lady’s away from the Desigual shop but alas they both made their way inside and purchased a top each at a discount price. Desigual is a designer clothes shop from Barcelona and Jenny’s favorite.
In the afternoon we headed out to Epernay which is a town in the centre of the champagne region. At the tourist information office we were lucky to have some champagne tasting, where we met some other Aussies, the first we have met in 3 weeks. Amazing how the Australian accent stands out after not hearing it for a while. The town is the home of Moet-Chandon and we had a quick look inside the boutique but did not make a purchase.
Our overnight place was another France Passion place near to the village of Bouzy. It was an escargot farm with views overlooking countryside. We had a quiet night [snails are not very noisy] and in the morning bought some snails already prepared to have for a meal.