Published: August 11th 2011July 18th 2011
We drove from Geneva across France to Chartres, 1 hour west of Paris, on Bastille Day. We had a slight hiccup coming off the autoroute when we go into the wrong lane (twice) and had to back out, then completely lost our ticket (did I drop it or did Pat file it somewhere in her purse never to be seen again?). Having found a ticket on the ground we carried on through and found that the 53 Euro price had now dropped to 18 Euro. We paid the money quickly and drove through perplexed - what are the chances that someone else dropped their ticket in exactly the same spot and we each picket up the wrong ticket? In any case, we treated ourselves to an extra large ice-cream on the proceeds!
That evening we enjoyed the 20-minute show of fireworks from the walls outside Chartres catheadral, plus the amazing light shows projected onto many of the buildings in the town. The next day we walked the stone labyrinth on the floor of the catheadral (which forms the design on our wedding rings) and toured this beautiful old town, which surprisingly wasn't full of hordes of tourists - we'll definitely
On to Paris: our Satnav GPS took us to the wrong part of town, so we then had to negotiate rush-hour traffic and Gallic driving (theirs, not ours) to get us to our hotel-apartment in Vichy, just north of the city. 3 days gave us enough time to do the main sights: top of the Eiffel tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysee, Notre Dame, etc., and the stunning Louvre museum (Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, etc.). Unfortunately, we missed seeing the finish of the Tour de France by just a couple of days.
Instead of heading straight back to Basel, we decided to stop off en route, so we stayed one night in Fontainebleau, 1-hour south of Paris. The palace and gardens was exquisite but the town was besieged by tourists, as expensive as Paris yet much less attractive than Chartres.
There are more photos below