France 39 a wonderful walled city -Provins

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June 12th 2012
Published: June 12th 2012
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It's countdown and we are heading home..Not much more of the holiday left now and it's only a matter of days before we are home and will be cleaning and tidying the van out. We cannot believe just how quickly a month has flown by. The first two weeks passed slowly but the second have flown.

We woke early as we seem to in the motorhome. The birdsong is loud early in the morning and you hear every tweet in the van. Breakfast is always a slow affair. Most sites allow you to stay until 11 or 12 so there is never any need to rush to move on.

Our drive to Provins was peaceful and quiet with not much traffic on the road. We ambled I dont think you can say much more than that. We parked on yet another free and pleasant aire alongside five other vans who had stayed the night. The French know how to encourage visitors to their towns - provide free or cheap motorhome parking, provide facilities, toilets on site and water with a dump facility and the motorhomers will flood in. Take note Britain you are missing a trick here.

Provins is well known for its medieval fortifications with complete walls protecting the town. Towers such as the Tour Cesar punctuate the walls and the town fortifications. The town inside is medieval and very pretty. As usual the tour buses do crowd into Provins and this can mean it can be busy. You need to pick your moment - go early before the tourists arrive and you get the town to yourself. The tourist office is very helpful providing walking maps of the town. We used these to wander around the town and found them easy to follow. There were different routes focussing on different aspects of the town. Using the map we were able to see most if not all of the medieval buildings and the church. We missed the Rose Garden as it was too far out of the town to walk to.

Around lunchtime we went to sit in a cafe waiting for them to open for food. We ordered the menu of the day which cost 36 euros. Glenn ate grilled ham with chips which he declared delicious, I ate pork cooked in a beer. Not the heavy brown ale we use but a very light beer which actually tasted more of butter than ale. We followed with a fabulous creme brulee and an apple and nut cake .. I often wonder why the Italians and the French can bake creme brulees and pudding better than we can although the apple cake could have done with a dash of creme Anglaise - custard to the uninitiated as it was a bit on the dry side.

We completed our day in Provins with a walk around the walls and had a peek into the cemetery which was designated as a war cemetery. Part had the white skeletal headstones denoting graves from the Great War. It was thought provoking to see how many of the young men from Provins died for nothing .

On our way to our next camp site we met up with the worse peage machine we have come across and the worse customer service from the help desk. Upon reaching the machine I got out of the van and inserted our ticket. The price came up - 7 euros and I fished out a 5 euro note and a couple of coins . I tried to insert the note into the machine but it kept coming back out. Imagine the scene , I am standing there taking the note out and straightening it, a furtive look around to see if a queue was developing. I put it back in and it comes out again. I try again and again and again without success and resort to the credit card. In it goes and out it comes. I turn it round and try it the other way round and it returns to me again. Frustrated I pressed the help button and got the most unhelpful french lady I have ever met. Put your money in ...... I have and it wont work..........put your credit card in ................I have and it wont work. She ended up bellowing at me and even Glenn could hear it with the window down on the van. I resorted to bellowing back telling her to stop shouting at me as it wasnt helping. The queue formed behind us, a large lorry,a couple of cars and a van. Eventually frustrated the lorry driver came over , speaking no English he took the note off me , straightened it and tried to insert it and failed. After a couple of tries he succeeded getting the money in and the barrier lifted. Embarrased yes and pleased to get out of there.

We arrived at our next destination Des Bords de l'Eure in the cathedral city of Chartres. We chose this site as it was advertised as within walking distance of the city centre something we would test out tomorrow .


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