One last night in France. No cities, no tours, no nothing. The final night to be spent away from everything in the countryside. At least that’s what we decided when looking around on “Chambre d’Hotes de Charme”. We needed something north of Reims, relatively close to Calais to avoid having to haul ass the next day and above all, something quiet and peaceful. So we found Manoir Francis. If I could choose only one photo that sums up my experience here, it’d be the below.
We received a warm welcome and got a whole host of information about the area and where is best to go for dinner. All the useful stuff. As soon as we got to the room the boots came off, the jeans went on and I sank into the a bed as comfortable as we’d experience all those miles back in Maison Laudiere at the start of our holiday. Course, that didn’t last long when Julie hoofed me off the bed so she could take photos. As usual with this kind of scene, she’s done it justice and then some.
The property is just beautiful. It sits behind a high wall in the middle of a very small village, about an hours ride from Calais. The nearest town is Montreuil, where we ended up going for dinner in a smallish yet impeccably presented restaurant. The food was bloody good too, including a very, VERY boozy creme brulee that Julie had to finish because I’d have been four times over the drink driving limit if I attempted to eat any more of it than I already did. You could tell we were nearing our holidays end given the number of British tourists that sat around us as we ate.
After one hell of a feed I slept the sleep of the almost dead and awoke to a brilliantly sunny yet pleasantly cool Tuesday morning.
After a traditional French breakfast (and some of the nicest coffee I’d had in a week or more) I set about loading up the bike while Julie chased peacocks, ducks and various other wildlife around the gardens with her camera. I later became convinced that one of the rather scraggly looking peacocks was bent on causing harm, cornering me as I tried to go back into the house to collect some bags. No, I didn’t kick it in case that’s what anyone was wondering.
The speed at which I loaded up the bike directly reflected how much I was looking forward to leaving France. It took at least twice as long as it had been taking on other mornings. I was also considering the journey that lay ahead on the other side of the channel tunnel.
We were waved off by our hostess and got on a mix of D roads, motorways and motorways under construction. In a little over an hour we were checking in at the eurotunnel and leaving behind nine and a bit days of what had been one of the most memorable holidays I’ve ever taken. My goal for this second bike trip to France had been to do it properly this time. To keep off the motorways as much as possible, see the country, eat nice food, relax and enjoy the company. It’s now been about six weeks since we returned and I have only one question; When can we go back?