Friday 3rd October to Sunday 5th October
A little trip to France
We decided at quite short notice that we would like to visit the Paris Motor Show, a trip we have done before, so the plan was pretty well sorted. But as we were late to the party there were no cabins on the overnight ferry so we went to stay with Peanut’s Mum in Ashford on Friday night and got up at some very silly hour to catch an early tunnel crossing.
So we had an early start straight after work on Friday night and suffered the ghastliness of a trip along the M5 and M25, which once again took longer than it should before we were finally in Ashford at about 8pm and had a late meal before an early night. We were up and off early in the morning and in France by 8 o’clock. We then had a completely trouble free journey to a car park we have used before, near the Paris Expo and a 20 minute walk to the Motor Show
And there we were straight in the door and face to face with the Mini stand. It was a very warm day and even Peanut wished she could take off her jumper. You can read a more thorough review of our day at the Motorshow on our sister site AutoBeast. Here though are a few snaps from the show.
As the day wore on my feet started to feel the pinch by about 3.30 we had seen about as much as we wanted to see, so we made our way back to the car park stopping off at a café for a drink on the way. That however,wasn’t such a good idea as I thought because after the rest my feet were very painful and it was still a fair way to the car park and Pea wasn’t going to carry me, so off we went. We had a smooth exit from the car park and soon found ourselves in Versailles at the Cheval Rouge Hotel which again we have visited before several times. As it was such a lovely evening, we strolled around the market in front of the hotel and then looked in some shops before returning to our hotel to get showered and fresh for our meal. We came across a few antique shops on our stroll and for some reason I particularly liked the antique mirror below!
Earlier Peanut had spotted a small restaurant she quite liked the look of so we headed there first in the evening, but after a short while a large family group arrived and sat next to us. We realised this would spoil our evening as they were very noisy before they started and we just could not hear each other talk, so we decided to leave, which is very unusual for us as we would normally put up with it and have a lousy time! But every moment is precious these days and much to the waitress’s dismay we left and found somewhere more peaceful further along the street. It was still busy but we could at least hear and talk to each other and the staks we ordered were delicious. For dessert I had what they described as a fine apple tart with vanilla ice cream. The slices of apple were indeed cut very fine and layered on a very thin pastry. It worked beautifully and was delicious. I flattened the cold ice cream and spread it over the top of the warm apple tart, Mmmm, have I said it was delicious?
We were not destined for a late night out on the town as we were both tired from being awake so early, so after our meal we trotted back to our hotel for a good sleep waking at the late hour of 9 o’clock the next morning which is unheard of for me.
Our plan was to explore the gardens at Versailles on Sunday morning as long as it wasn’t raining, so we packed up checked out and made our way to the Palace. We were both quite shocked at how much cooler it was after the sunshine the day before. Rain was threatening but it stayed away and at least we had coats for all weathers. We were lucky enough to catch the morning fountain display with musical accompaniment which is only on for one hour in the mornings and again in the afternoon, although it took us a while to realise that there are many fountains in the gardens, all hidden away in little arbours and crannies. Whilst we might not have seen them all, we saw enough to get the idea. It is a vary magnificent garden but to us not exactly beautiful, as like the Palace itself it is actually too big, too imposing and too daunting. We have been to Fontainbleu in the past and that has a much more beautiful quality about it, although even that is not a small place. Similarly, for us the likes of Chambord, Villandry, and Chenonceau in the Loire valley all have gardens more to our taste. However, here are a few shots of the fountains and the gardens.
We stopped for a quick drInk before setting off for the tunnel and home. We had another very uneventful journey as you so often do on French motorways and arrived in perfect time for our crossing. On the train we got chatting to a Mini Classic owner who was coming back from a trip to Monte Carlo organised by the Mini Cooper Register – Minis to Monte – which made the journey pass quickly and he tried to get us to think about coming on their trip next year to Ireland. He was not a new MINI hater as he had once had a GP himself and wished he had never sold it, but next September for us is a long way off.