Monday, April 30, 2012

ORANGE ANTIQUE THEATRE…A Military Celebration of French Labor Day….

Monday, April 30, 2012

We woke early, parked and then enjoyed another wonderful breakfast at our B&B.  The owners both came to the door to bid us au revoir and to wish us well on our trip.  It’s truly a wonderful place to stay if you are ever in Vaison La Romaine.  Something unusual were the very petit napkins used for petit dejeuner….notice Terry holding one up in the photo!

 The skies were overcast as we wheeled our luggage down to the car that was parked about a block from the B&B….but it was not raining as of yet.

Fifi was set and off we went with Terry driving towards the city of Orange.  It is a large city that has existed since the Gaule/Roman times and has many Roman structures that are in excellent condition.  One of them is the huge antique theatre.  As we approached the area we noticed lots of commotion and way too many soldiers dressed in their dress uniforms.  Tomorrow is the French National Holiday name Labor Day to celebrate the workers.  We walked in free and found seats near the top of the ancient Theatre that was full of military personal standing at attention.  We were having a serendipity experience….they were presenting medals for military achievements to celebrate the day!  During the National Anthem the rain began and it continued enough that we left during the speeches but what a great unexpected experience.

We then drove to the triumphal arch of Orange; recently cleaned it was beautiful and worth the few minutes it took to find it and take a few photos.  The rain continued as we reset Daisy/Fifi for the town of Chateauneuf de Pape.  Known primarily for their wines it is also very historical as the ruins of the summer chateau for the French Popes was located in this village.  The wines are grown in very rocky soil and produce a unique wine that is popular throughout the world.

We then headed for Avignon but with the rain getting heavier and heavier we decided to call a halt to today’s agenda and head for our new hotel in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.  We’re staying three nights in the Les Nevons Hotel and will be spending the days visiting the many small towns in the hills of Provence.

When we arrived we walked to the river that runs through the town and found a busy little restaurant where we ordered crepes with ham and cheese plus a salad.  Oh yes…we enjoyed a beer with our late lunch early dinner.  By the time we arrived back at the hotel our feet were soaked and we all took time to rest a bit before heading out again after the rain finally stopped.

This town is known for its Antiques and they come from Paris and beyond every weekend for the wonderful furniture found here during their Market.  Unfortunately we’ll miss the weekend.  

We walked the town and then found a grocery store where we purchased lunch supplies for tomorrow and an extra bottle of wine that we shared in Terry and Linda’s room that overlooks the garden that was filled with ducks.

Tomorrow we’ve been promised sunshine and we’re off to visit the small villages.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Sunday, April 29, 2012

The sky opened last night and it poured rain all night long; but when we went to breakfast this morning at 8 am…the sun was shining.  Our breakfast is included in the price of our rooms in our charming B&B L-Eveche; and it was delicious and served in their personal dining room as the patio was too wet.  Jim and I agree that this is one of the most charming places we’ve stayed during our many travels.  

We walked down out of the Cite Medievale to the Roman Bridge…stopping for photos and then across the river into the new city….we saw their Sunday Market but continued on to the Tourist Information building.   Linda and Terry stayed there and took the tour of the Gallo-Roman ruins that are one of the largest sites in France….including the amphitheater that was only discovered in the early twentieth century.   It held 6000 people when it was built and since being discovered in 1907 excavations they have greatly restored the theatre and it is now used for entertainment.

Jim and I headed for the twelfth century Cathedrale to attend Mass.  On our ten minute walk we strolled along another area of the Roman ruins of the original city that has been excavated but not restored.  We had never seen this particular site on our pass visits to this city.  We arrived just as the doors opened at 10 am and enjoyed half an hour to see the interior of the church that reminded us so much of the ruins of the Abbeye at Cluny that we saw yesterday…not surprising as they were both built in the twelfth century.   The Cantor had a beautiful voice and much of the Mass was in Latin as well as French so we actually understood some of the words and could participate in the celebration.  The back of the church was full of people standing by the time Mass started.

After Mass we walked back along the path with the views of the Roman ruins and met Terry and Linda at the Tourist Center.  We walked back to the church so they could see the ruins and the church…but the lights were out already inside the church and it wasn’t nearly as beautiful for them.

Back up the hill to the B&B…took a short break and then walked down the hill again to the car.  Linda had set us up for a circular tour of villages within a thirty mile radius of Vaison la Romaine.   Jim drove and between the four of us we kept Daisy programmed for all the little villages:  Seguret, Le Crestet, Suzzette and Gigondas.

Our first village was Seguret and we walked the village and then began looking for the Chateau ruins.  The road kept going up and up; finally Terry and I said enough…but Jim and Linda continued.  They were gone for a very long time…about an hour…when they finally returned they were raving about the ruins they’d found after a very long hike!  And as another tourist pointed out…her light shoes were not designed for that type of trail.  We had no idea of just how high they had climbed until we looked back at the village after driving away and saw how high they had actually climbed…we were all amazed!  Look at the photo of the village with a small white box on top of the hill above the village….they hiked from the village up to the ruins!  

While we waited I found a king size ant nest that I had been sitting on top of until as Terry said…I got antsy and starting checking the wall!  I entertained myself and Terry with stirring the nest into a frantic evacuation!    We then had to find another place to sit as the ants took over the wall.  We are the camera nuts in our group; so much of the hour was spent reviewing and deleting photos from our cameras.  Jim and Linda take the videos.  

In Le Crestet we again walked the village and then started towards the chateau ruins at the top of the hill.  The boys got ahead of us and the last thing I heard from them was that the steps were getting more primitive the higher we got.  Suddenly Linda and I were on all fours scrambling up a shear face on dents in the rocks that were supposed to be steps.  We were wondering how the men did it with their big feet!  When we arrived at the top they were amazed that we came up that way…they’d walked on a regular path on switch backs and we’d come straight up.  We were thrilled that we didn’t have to go down the same way!  Actually we discovered cars at the top also; apparently you were able to drive all the way to the top!

The other villages were mostly for the views of the surrounding hills and small mountains; we had views of Mont Ventoux…the highest mountain in the area that has white rock at top that is above the tree line….from nearly everywhere today.  Thought about going up Mont Ventoux but it is still closed near the top because of snow on the roads.  The road up the hill to Suzzette was very narrow and if you met another car on the road; one had to back up to a pull in place in order to pass.  There were also several groups of bicycle riders on this road which didn’t help the driver!  Did I mention that there was no shoulder…in fact a sheer drop of several feet in many  places…on most of the roads today!  


Arrived back at the hotel about 5 pm….Jim and I decided to work on our computers and Terry & Linda hiked up to the chateau ruins at the top of the Cite Medievale.  When they returned Linda said that she thinks that she has bruised a bone in the bottom of her foot.  Could be from the hike that she and Jim took in Sequret!

At 7 pm we walked down to Le Vieux Vaison, a pizza restaurant, for a great and less expensive…dinner.  I was the only one that actually ordered pizza.  The dining room overlooked the lower city.  After dinner we walked to the church on the hill and then turned in by 8 pm for an early evening in the hotel.  Tomorrow we head further south and change hotels.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Saturday, April 28, 2012

We were up, packed and out the door to visit the Saturday market in Beaune before we left town.  Marvin…a creative young man talked us into tasting his wares and had sold us freshly roasted peanuts and we enjoyed them the rest of the day as we drove.

A few antique shot glasses for Terry’s collection plus a wooden vase and we were in the car and on our way south before 10:00 am.  We did most of our driving today on the Autoroute…Frances’ tollway…to the tune of nearly 30 Euros but it saved us hours of driving time.

Our first stop about noon was in the ancient city of Cluny to see the ruins of the largest church in Europe when it was built in the twelfth century.  Nearly destroyed centuries ago; they have slowly begun to preserve the remains.  They’ve even begun to restore some parts.  One of the most impressive parts is the steps leading down into what would have been the church.   They also had a large Saturday market but we didn’t spent any time there.  There was a lady with a donkey who took children with their feet in baskets on either side…from the parking area to the market; a tough way to make a living.

We missed our turn off and spent an extra half hour or so backtracking to get to Cluny.  Once we finished we did lots of turns and round-d-rounds looking for a McDonalds for lunch.  Finally found it…very crowded….but a great little lunch since we had no picnic food in our car with us.

Back on the highway for a long afternoon of driving towards our hotel in Vaison la Romaine in the northern part of Provence.  The sun was so warm we finally had to close our sun roof and we definitely had the air conditioning on as it was between 80 and 90 degrees outside.  We also had a taste of the mistral winds of Provence this afternoon.  What a pleasure to walk outside without coats after nearly four weeks of cold and wet weather.

Just before Vaison la Romaine we took a detour to see an old friend in Mirabel-Aux-Boronnies.  The four of us met him on a tour in California in 2007 at a winery in Paseo Robles.  In 2009, my twin sister and I visited with him and here we were again.  Alain owns the Le Vieux Moulin, an olive oil company and in 2009 he showed us through his new building…still under construction.  Today we saw the finished building, a store complete with everything imaginable that can be made with olives and the plant where he produces his olive oil.  He speaks no English and is so wonderful to us each time we “appear” at his door in France.  When he saw Jim’s business card with the Porsche….he ran to get information to share with Jim about his 1956 Porsche.  We had a wonderful time and it was hard to get away….he wanted us to come stay as his guests at his house.  We kept saying we had hotel reservations that we were late for.

I had tried to email him before we arrived but for some reason he never got my messages.  Anyway…it was a wonderful experience spending time with a travel friend even though we spoke different languages.

It was nearly 7 pm by the time we arrived in Vaison la Romaine and our little B&B Eveche in the Cite Medievals on the hill above the main town.  The streets are like stone canyons and we can hear people walking home as they wind their ways through the street.  One can just barely drive one car down the street they are so narrow.  

As soon as we settled in we walked down to a restaurant called Bistro du’O.  Another wonderful dinner full of surprises as the chef presented us with delicious and beautiful plates of food.  A slow walk home about 10 pm and we’re tucked in for a good night’s sleep.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Friday, April 27, 2012

We ate breakfast at the Brasserie across the street this morning and then took the back roads northwest from Bueane for our exploration day with Jim driving and Terry working with Daisy for the directions.  Unfortunately the weather is still full of rain and clouds but we forged ahead with our plans.

Our first stop at 10:00 am was at the hilltop village of Chateauneuf-en-Auxois; dating back to the twelfth century and still in the process of restoration of the Chateau.  We walked across a drawbridge that spanned a moat to enter; one of the buildings is finished and offer visions of life centuries ago.  Another building is still a shell…just like it was years ago on a previous visit.  But, it’s slowly coming alive for the tourists.  Some of you may remember our trip over ten years ago when we stayed on the Lady A…a stationary canal boat made into a small hotel…and had a wonderful lunch in the little restaurant in this village.  It was a very cold day and we sat next to the fireplace.  Unfortunately the restaurant was closed but still there!   We explored the town and then drove past the fields of grazing white cattle…Charolais…very expensive beef…to where the Lady A is still moored today.

We were very disappointed to see that it has been totally neglected and is in a terrible state of deterioration.  However, it appeared that someone was working on the inside and is in the process of restoring it to its former glory.  If it hadn’t been raining we’d have stopped and chatted with the fellow who was working inside…but we didn’t.

We continued on the country roads to the village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain; one of France’s beautiful villages that was used to film the film “Chocolat” with Johnny Depp in 2000.   Still raining, we parked at the edge of the little village that is also known for the Abbaye Saint Joseph De Clairval and the Anis candy that they produce and walked to the town square that was made famous in the movie.

We stopped at the little store, purchase our anis flavored candy, a bottle of wine and some bread.  Then we asked about the movie…no…she was not in it but her children were.  She proudly brought out the book of photos about the making of the movie, showing us her children and in broken English/French…she told us some information about the making of the movie.  One of the big things was the fact that there is no statute in front of the church!  They made one for the movie!  It was fun visiting the little village again…even in the rain.

Then we drove to d’Alesia to see the huge statute of Vercingetorix erected by Napoleon to commemorate the battle with Julius Caesar in the Gaul/Roman wars.   We sat in the car….still very wet outside and enjoyed the rest of our cheese from Veselay with our new bread and wine that we purchased this morning.  We’re getting very good at having picnics in the car.  

Down the road we continued until we arrived at the Abbaye de Fontenay; another twelfth century Abbaye that went to ruins, it was used as a foundry at one time…the forge was important in the creation of iron tools and implements for the houses of the area.  There was a large water mill that generated the energy for the plant.  The paddle wheel has recently been restored.  Then later it was used as a paper mill before being restored to an Abbey.

The forge of Fontenay was erected around 1220 as a part of the Abbey de Fontenay.  It was the first metallurgical factory in Europe and is the place of the invention of the hydraulic hammer for pounding metal into useable shape.  The hammer was powered by the water wheel.

Soon we were back on the road…the auto route for a fast ride back to Beaune.   Jim and I walked around town for a while checking menus to select a place for dinner.  We ended up at the La Belena Brasserie across from the hotel where we had breakfast this morning.  We all enjoyed our meal…not as fancy as last night, but an excellent chef and beautiful presentation.

We walked to the church after dinner and took some great photos of the stain glass windows from the outside with the lights on inside of the church before heading back to the hotel and calling it a night.  Tomorrow we head south for a new hotel.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Thursday, April 26, 2012

About 8:30 am we were down in the hotel breakfast room enjoying a full breakfast before starting our day.  We didn’t have much rain…just enough sprinkles so that we always carried our umbrellas.  It was cool but didn’t seem quite as cold as yesterday.

Jim and Terry took the car and headed for Chateau De Savigny Les Beaune; a boy’s adventure to see the fabulous collection Abarth/Fiat sports cars that raced in the 1960’s and 70’s.  Plus there were 100 jet airplanes from all the governments of the world.  The cars were housed in the barn above where they make the wine…yes…it’s a vineyard!  The airplanes were in the fields of the vineyard…among the vines. 

Linda and I strolled over to the Village Center and visited the historic Hotel Dieu; a charity hospital built in the fifteenth century by a wealthy man who wanted to “save his soul” and felt that since this was dedicated to God…there is an altar in every room…he would make it to heaven when he died!   It was actually used as a hospital until 1971.  The best altarpiece was saved from destruction during the revolution because it was sitting, unused, in an attic and was found over twenty-five years after the wars.

We went shopping afterwards at the large grocery store for picnic lunch supplies and desserts.  We found the plain wrapper chocolate bars and stocked up on them as you don’t always find them.  An inexpensive bottle of wine, a baguette, some paper plates and cups and we were ready for lunch with our leftover cheese and salami.

The boys returned about 1 pm…the energy level was very high as they talked about their adventure this morning.  We put things together and climbed into the car…told Daisy aka Fifi… to take us to  the Chateau La Rochepot…about half an hour south of Beaune.

When we arrived we enjoyed our picnic in the car…this time we had a tablecloth for each to catch the crumbs…the weather was good enough if we had a table but not having one we made do in the car.  When we finished we entered the Burgundian castle known as La Rochepot Castle.  It’s a tiny little castle that is picture perfect.  Privately owned and tightly controlled…you cross the draw bridge…knock three times…and the keeper opens the door.  She sold us our tickets and then also conducted the tour in French….providing us with well written English translations.

By 4:30 pm we were back on the road and driving to Beaune; dropped the car at the hotel and then hot-footed it over to the village center for a wine tasting tour.  For ten Euros each we received a Sommerlier’s Tastevin wine tasting cup and the opportunity to taste a selection of about twenty plus different wines as we strolled through a candlelit cave.  It was lot of fun and a great way to begin our second evening in Beaune.

We visited a store with mostly things about wine but also a wide variety of tourist temptations and Terry purchased some cardboard models to put together when he gets home.  Read all of the menu’s on the restaurant windows as we worked our way back to the hotel.  Based on a recommendation by the clerk at the hotel and also Rick Steves; about 7 pm we walked a couple of blocks to a very nice restaurant named Caveau des Arches.  All of the seating was in a cave underground and it was definitely a bit above the usual for us.  We felt very special as the waiters…all in white shirts, black ties and black pants…provided us with that quiet…elegant service reserved for only the best restaurants.  Salmon, duck and chicken graced our plates and Terry and Linda splurged calorie wise with crème brulee and apple tart.  We waited for our chocolate bar in the room.

Walked a bit of the Ramparts and then headed for the hotel and Internet time before calling it a day.  Linda was still raving about her canard as she rambled off to bed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We met in the lobby at 9 am this morning and walked to the local Boulangerie for a continental breakfast.   Then back up to the top of the street for a final view of the Basilique of Sainte-Madeleine.  Weather seemed a bit warmer but was sprinkling off and on.  As we were leaving the church we saw one of the old French Citron pre-war vintage cars come up the hill.  Right behind him were three more.  Apparently they were on a group drive and we were lucky enough to see four of these vintage cars all together!  Our first surprise of the day.

Back to the bottom of the hill and our hotel where we stopped at the weekly street market right in front of our hotel where we purchased salami and a slab of aged cheese.  Then a quick trip to the store for bread and a bottle of wine.  Packed the car and headed off on our day’s adventure.
Linda had planned a day of adventure on the back roads winding through a National Forest.  Terry got a workout today with driving the twisting two lane roads but it was beautiful French countryside and we all enjoyed the scenery.  Especially after we opened the sun roof so that Linda and I also had more of the views.

Jim is getting very good at the GPS system…it was either learn how or give up the front seat!  He was motivated and has been a quick learner with Linda’s able guidance from the back seat.

Our first stop about 11 pm was at a beautiful church called L’Eglise Notre-Dame, built in the twelfth century.  It had an unusually large covered entrance in front that caught our eye as we drove around the corner.  Then back in the car and off to the Chateau de Bazoches.

Privately owned and extremely well maintained, this was definitely an A+ in the rating books.  Out in the countryside with vistas on every side; we spent about two hours on the tour  as we enjoyed it so much and they had very informative cards of information for every room to explain the history.  
It was misting slightly as we got into the car and headed towards Saulien which was an hour away.  Half way there we stopped to see a rushing stream of water and decided to stay for lunch.  Since it was raining outside we had our picnic in the car.  The boys handled the wine and the girls cut the cheese and salami.  It was a fun half hour in the middle of the forest!

We arrived in Saulien and visited the Basillique St.Andoche; a twelfth century church that was not very impressive.  We decided to head for Autum and there we found another unimpressive church and Roman Ruins.  

Our surprise was a wonderful amphitheatre that held 20,000 people when it was built in the Roman times.   Then off to find the two remaining gates into the city from Roman times.  There are still some of the walls standing that surrounded the city.  

By this time it was after 5 pm so we set “Daisy” for the fast route to Beaune and our hotel.  Yes…we’ve named our GPS “Daisy” and when she’s naughty she has another name that I can’t print here!  But we do love her British accent!


By 6 pm we were checked into our hotel in Beaune…The Hotel de la Cloche on Place Madeliene.  We walked around the town and then settled for a nice restaurant in the center of town for another delicious dinner and a grande beer!  Linda enjoyed her dessert as we all watched before heading home.  We got lost but finally found our way and so once again…a quiet ending to another beautiful day in France.  And…they are saying it’s going to be dry and warmer tomorrow!  About time!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Awake at3:30 am…good thing we went to bed early…and got up at 4:30 with the alarm clock!  By five we were out the door on the short two block walk to the train station.  It had rained all night but for a short time around 5 am this morning…the rain STOPPED!   Yes, the ground was wet and there were large puddles but no rain during our walk.

The train arrived at 5:20 am and we were at GDG 2 by 5:45 am.  The place was empty…actually the station wasn’t officially open and we had to go around some barriers to get into the terminal from the train station.  Walked to Terminal 2E to meet Terry and Linda…the board said they’d arrived at 5:35 am…half an hour early.  But no sign of them so Jim found a table and I was ordering croissants, chocolate and coffee when they walked out.  They’d eaten on the plane so with our light breakfast we were ready to roll.

Called the Peugeot company and they said their van was on the way to pick us up outside of Exit 7 at the arrival terminal.  Soon we were on our way to the lot to pick up our brand new car.  Remember we are not renting a car but doing a lease/purchase that will be sold back to the company on May 24th when we return to Paris.  

We did the paperwork…they gave us some instructions on the GPS system and said…stop at the first gas station for diesel…you’ve only got a small amount in the car!   They programmed our GPS for the Chateau of Vaux le Vicomte outside of Melun and off we went.  We ignored the GPS and tried to follow the printed map that they’d given to us for the gas station…all we could imagine was the four of us stranded without gas!  With three backseat drivers all giving directions at the same time; Terry managed to find the gas station with only a few wrong turns.  Oops…it was CLOSED!   We then decided to go into the village of Roissy; no gas stations to be found!  Stopped at a group of policemen…one spoke English….a little bit….and tried to help us by drawing a map to the nearest station.  When we looked at the map…it was the one that was closed.  So we decided to go back to the where we’d picked up the car…took a wrong turn and ended up on the A4 that was bumper to bumper with traffic heading into Paris.

One wrong turn followed another but finally Linda saw the sign and we were back.  They assured us that we had enough gas if we would follow the GPS and that we would find several stations on our route to Mulen.  All of this in the driving rain in a new car with the driver having had no sleep all night!   But…they were right…we finally found the gas station and once we realized which pump to use for diesel and for cash…we were able to fill the tank finally.  It took 51 liters of diesel to the tune of 75 euros!  Hopefully we’ll never be that empty again.

Back on the road again it was now 8:30 am.  We headed south east around Paris and by 9:30 we were outside the gates of the Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte….the parking lot was empty…not open until 10 am ….so we drove down the road to see the village of Blandy les Tours that has a fort in the center of town.  Finally, our first real photo opportunity for Terry who is an avid photographer and has just converted to a digital camera. .  His trigger finger was itching for some good shots.  We could have used some sunshine but at least it wasn’t raining while we were there.

Back to the Chateau, it had opened and we paid our entry fees (both received reduced tariffs which was nice) and headed in to tour the Chateau.  The belfry tower is totally covered for restoration and really spoiled the special magic that Jim and I have always found with this beautiful Chateau in the French countryside.  And being a gloomy day didn’t help.  One of the fun things is touring the attic and of course that was closed because of the work being done.

But we strolled through the many rooms of the Chateau; walked into the gardens just a little ways as it was starting to rain and then we went over to the carriage barns before completing our tour. 
It was nearly noon and everyone was hungry so we stopped at the French McDoo  for a light lunch (yes…it was McDonalds)…before getting on the highway for Fontainebleau.  It was only about twenty five miles down the road but by the time we arrived the rain was pouring.  We’d only intended to see the gardens and decided to drive on when the rain didn’t stop.

Two hours later we arrived in Veselay; a small village off the main highway; the home of La Basilique Sainte-Madeleine.  This is one of the stopping points for pilgrims who are walking the trail to Santiago de Compostela church in Spain.  We saw several pilgrims fully loaded with backpacks leaving from the church. 

Our hotel this evening is the Hotel de la Poste et du Lion d’Or in Veselay. We checked in and then walked … partially in the rain…to the church which is still undergoing restoration.  The main body of the church is finished inside and is absolutely beautiful.   It was such a joy to visit after so many years.  We also visited the crypt which has relics of Saint Madeleine.  The church is located at the crest of a large hill and we enjoyed the view of the Burgandy countryside from the park that surrounds the back of the church during a lull in the rainstorm.  

Walking back to the hotel we investigated all the various restaurants for tonight’s dinner.  The earliest we could find was 7 pm.  Finally, about 6 pm we walked over to the Relais du Morvan that is next door to our hotel (the restaurant was closed tonight in our hotel) for drinks while we waited.  About seven we decided to stay there and have dinner.  What a wonderful decision as we entered the beautiful dining room and had a delicious dinner that ended with liquors just before ten. 

A wonderful first day of our five week tour; some ups and down and some serendipity experiences but all in all…even with the rain…it was a good day!

Monday, April 23, 2012


Monday, April 23, 2012

Slept until about 8 am and then took the final load of clothes to the Laundromat; returned for breakfast and then walked back to finish with drying the clothes.  Jim cleaned up the breakfast dishes while I was gone.  He’s really been good about doing most of the dishes as it’s difficult for me to do with a splint on the little finger of my right hand.  It’s been doing better but in researching the Internet they said that it takes three weeks for a child and about six weeks for an adult’s finger bones to mend.

By 10 am we’d finished cleaning the apartment and headed towards the Metro after dropping the key in the mailbox.  We have the whole day but the weather looks very threatening and I just want to get this morning over with.  We actually did well on the Metro portion; had one elevator, several escalators and two sets of stairs.  We also had three sets of ticket booths to get through.

On the first booth/gate we did fine…able to scoot the smaller bags through between us.  The second booth had long panels and Jim’s small case with his computer got wedged when it started to close on him.  He muscled it with his arm and kicked the bag free and back to me.  Now I had an extra bag to get through!  A very nice Frenchman took my big bag through with him and I managed the rest of them!  I also had help on both of the stairs about half way with people asking to help!  And who says the French are not friendly! 
We got into the RER Train Station from the Metro Station…using our same ticket!  It was a long way down to the trains and we realized we had not gotten a ticket.  I went part way back and then said to myself…if they let us through we must be okay….I went back to Jim and said we’re getting on the train with what we have.  If we get stopped we’ll just play dumb!

We were on the “milk run” as our hotel for the night is the last station before you enter the airports.  We arrived at Gare du Parc des Expositions about noon and it was RRRAINING!  The drops had started to fall just as we rolled into the Metro Station back in Paris.  We hadn’t started our trip early for nothing!
It was raining enough that Jim wanted to stay in the station to see if it slowed down.   I didn’t think that was a good ideal so I encouraged him to go find our hotel which was supposed to be about a block away.  When he came back…I sent him off again with one piece of luggage and his umbrella to see if we could get into our room early.

He finally returned…no on early rooms but there is a nice lobby…we can get on the free wi-fi right away and there are soft and warm seats.  The seats in the train station were cold metal; oh yes…lovely toilettes were also available at the hotel.  So off we went dragging all of the rest of the luggage and holding an umbrella.  It was only a couple of blocks but with wind and rain it seemed like a mile.
Very nice hotel in a very industrial area that is full of beautiful glass office buildings.  The area is used for Exhibitions…as the name implied.  There is very little choice of places to eat.

We found one restaurant that was reasonable…the hotel has one but it is very expensive for what they offer…so we went over to the one a block away…once there we found out that they only served lunch and when we arrived at 4 pm they only had two baguette sandwiches left: a ham and a chicken.  We purchased both and took them back to the hotel.  They were actually very good and we enjoyed our late lunch, early dinner.

Our plan is to go to bed early tonight and be on the 5:20 am train tomorrow morning.  We purchased our tickets today…it was 3.95 euros each to go to the airport from here.  So we probably saved about five euros each on our tickets as it is normally 9.25 from the airport into Paris.
It’s been so nice being on the Internet all afternoon.  Staying in hotels does have its perks!  Tomorrow our next adventure starts early in the morning.  Terry and Linda are due in at 6:10 am.
We will then pick up our car and once we get all the luggage stored (saying prayers that it all fits…we’re the problem…they are only bringing carryon luggage!)…were headed to the east around Paris and our first night will be in Vezelay.  

By the way....its still raining.....