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Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Lille
April 30th 2019
Published: May 2nd 2019
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Off to France

First step, sort the car up which we duly did - then found out the air conditioning didn’t work even though we had just had it regassed. Having spoken to the garage it seems working out the problem and fixing it was likely to cost more than the car was worth, so we decided to take the Astra instead. Shame as I wanted to get to 250,000 miles in the Touran!

We caught the ferry from Dover to Dunkirk before heading to Lille where we met an old friend of Sue’s who I cleverly call Anne from France!

The following day we went into Lille itself - me hobbling with my knee strapped from playing too much squash too quickly-Doh!

Lille is bigger than I thought with a lovely old town. The Cathedral, built from 1854 & completed in 1999 has a modern frontage with what looks like a huge black wooden door dissected by a lead grid with small sculptures. Once inside however we looked back and could see through the door - it was made of glass! A terrific way of letting light in while looking solid from the outside.

Spending time with Anne, who took us to a lovely small, traditional bar and climbed a tower to overlook the town was fun and all too short as after a day and a half we set off to visit Giverny.

The main attraction of course was Monet’s garden which one of us was really looking forward to!

However it was a pleasant surprise. The garden is well laid out and the lily pond very nice ( well it was when the sun came out). Key lesson here is to get in ahead of the tours from the river cruises - we just made it - for a few minutes.

We started to queue up for the house and the heavens opened so we left and went to the impressionists art gallery a few minutes walk away - not my thing but it wasn’t wet! As the sun came out we went back to the garden and blagged our way back in again to see the house.

Next day Sue went back first to see if she could get in before the masses arrived - I had a very nice coffee instead.

Once Sue had finished we headed out to the Chateau at Fontainebleau. This was Napoleon’s seat of power for some time had some really interesting exhibits and snippets of history.

Heading south to a small family run restaurant with rooms, La Cimentelle in Vassy. One large table was set for dinner which was great, along with the company. 92 year old Ken, with Audrey from Harrogate were really entertaining. Still travelling at 92 - an example to us all. Then we ended up playing cards with a Dutch family after dinner.

Saturday was market day in nearby Avallon which was a lovely little town with a few arty shops & an exhibition. Then on to Annecy via a quick wander around Macon.

Unfortunately as we got to Annecy the weather was turning and it was getting colder with rain forecast. Still we went for a wander where the lake meets the old town, dodging the rain.

As we were walking back we spotted a bar called Au Chardon d’eccose which had live music on in 5 minutes.........30 minutes later the band started. They were pretty good but it was a mix of Eurovision and french punk then eurythmics via Chic - strange but fun. Clearly the place for a late night ‘boogie’ as the place filled with folk ( all over 30 and some even older than me) who were thoroughly enjoying themselves.

Sunday morning we got out and walked round part of the lake - incredibly clear water - before heading back to the old town to wander through the market along the streets but boy was it getting cold and very wet. That was it we went back to the Airbnb and upped sticks a day early, shot off to Italy where apparently the sun had arrived & it was 10 degrees warmer.

Au Revoir France.


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3rd May 2019
Monets Lily Pond.

Thanks for the memories
We loved our time there.

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