Tuesday, 31 July 2007

European Grand Tour 2007 Day 10

Day 10

Another long driving day on this day, up through France to Troyes.

Troyes, originally uploaded by xrrr.

After we got to the hotel we were told we could not check in yet so we went for a walk around the town. Troyes was an unusual place. 'Capital' of the Champagne Region. Gigantic cathedral. Lots of old buildings. But very run down in places, to the point of dereliction.

Troyes, originally uploaded by xrrr.

We decided that it would be criminal to go to the Champagne Region and not go to a Champagne house. We went to the Troyes tourist information office (next to Claire's Accessories of all things)

Troyes, originally uploaded by xrrr.

We found a leaflet for a local Champagne House called Chassenay d'Arce.
We had a great drive over there through the French countryside. Very flat and lots and lots of fields.

Big Sky, originally uploaded by xrrr.

We found the Champagne place and parked up.

Chassenay d'Arce, originally uploaded by xrrr.

The leaflet we had was all in French but we had assumed that there would be some sort of tour or something. We went inside and stood about in the foyer whilst the lady at the desk was seeing to someone. Eventually someone else turned up and asked if we were ok. Being multilingual to a point I went straight in with "parlez vous Anglais?". With that sorted we found out that the place offered a video, tour of the wine cellar and some tasting.

So we sat in a room with another couple (who I think were Dutch) and watched an English DVD about how champagne is made. Blimey, no wonder it is so expensive given the effort that goes into making it!

After the video we went for a quick spin round the cellar museum thing. Not much to see but worth a quick look.

From Huitieme to Primat, originally uploaded by xrrr.

After the museum Alison and I and the Dutch couple were sat at a nice table with some champagne flutes. The hostess gave us a menu and asked us what we would like to drink. Well Champagne obviously. I only had a glass or so as I was driving but I was sure we could have spent a lot longer there. Given that we had not paid for anything yet as the tour and tasting was free we felt we ought to buy some bubbly from them. I am sure the softly softly approach works very well as we bought six bottles!

Back to Troyes and to check in at the hotel. The Hotel Champ des Oiseaux was amazing. We had been recommended it by our friends Katie and Robin. The rooms were named after people rather than numbered. For some reason they also had valet parking. Not sure if it was for aesthetics, lack of parking or security.

Outside the Hotel, originally uploaded by xrrr.

After checking in we went for a quick spin round some other parts of the town. We followed a route in our tourist map from the hotel and it took us on a bizarre trip round some derelict buildings and closed down shops!

Boarded-up Boulangerie, originally uploaded by xrrr.

We also came across a few shops that only sold model cars. Not quite what we were expecting.

Minature Citroens, originally uploaded by xrrr.

Minature Ferraris, originally uploaded by xrrr.

The cathedral was very large, very gothic and very much in need of a clean. It looks like they had started cleaning but they had a loooong way to go.

Troyes Cathedral, originally uploaded by xrrr.

The town centre was a bit overly touristy and I got a bit grumpy because I had a rubbish meal in a tourist restaurant. When I came to pay I realised that I had lost my credit card. I rang Egg and determined that I must had left it at the Champagne place. Doh. Good job we were on the way home in the morning and had internet access at the hotel so that I could transfer some money into my current account!

We decided to go back to the hotel courtyard and have a drink. I did not check the price before ordering managed to spend €26 on 2 coffees and a cognac! Oh well it was a nice place to sit.

Champ des Oiseaux Courtyard, originally uploaded by xrrr.

[All Photos][Next Day]

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