Reuilly in Marne and Champagne, UK, France and back to Moraira

From Tuscany to the UK

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At Chambery we stayed at Petit Hotel Confidentiel. his is not actually a hotel, it is a luxury apartment in the centre of Chambery. We chose it as a stop driving north from Rome to the UK. We booked this via Hotels.com, and had a confirmation. When we arrived at 17.30 on the appointed day we found a note taped to the outside door of the building telling us to call a phone number to be shown in. A grumpy voice told us that someone would let us in in 20 minutes, so we sat on the street with our bags for 20 minutes waiting. Having booked 3 months previously, the place had not asked us for any details of our arrival, nor had we been warned that we would have to sit in the street to be allowed in.

After a 8 hour drive from Rome we were not best pleased. A non-English speaking girl let us in and left us saying the owner would be round "tout a l'heure". Said owner arrived an hour and a half later. She was rude, accused us of being late, told us it was hotels.com fault for not explaining the entry procedures (she did not accept that it was her responsibility to give hotels.com the necessary information) and more in the same vein - and this was the owner. The apartment was very nice and very luxurious, but for us the spell was broken by the problems of getting entry and the rudeness of the owner.

Just one night at Chambery before heading north to the Marne and Champagne country. I was interested in seeing the sites where the two battles of the Marne were fought (one at the beginning of WW1 and one at the end)

And just over the road at the Auberge le Relais

We stayed at the "Champagne B&B for 2 nights". I was looking at the Battle of the Marne sights, and throwing it a little of Champagne along the way. The B&B is in a small hamlet and is easy to miss - make sure you look out for the sign they have with a cow on the main road. We did have some difficulties getting in. Ringing the doorbell had no effect. We went in anyway as the door was open, and eventually found Meredith somewhere in the innards of the house

Bill was up in Paris fixing some problems with accommodation there so we were entertained by Meredith, and splendidly entertained at that. We had the Eisenhower bedroom, named after the President's son, also a general, who stayed here while researching battlefields. Breakfast is a pleasant communal affair which we much enjoyed. There is a hospitality fridge, for you to help yourself to beers. If you enjoy reading, I do, then they have an excellent library to browse.

The only disappointment we had was that the indoor pool was out of action - apparently a problem with the boiler had incapacitated the whole thing and the pool was empty. Also the garden is a bit overgrown, but that was not a problem for us.

You can explore lots of the Champagne area from here (we took the underground train round the Mercier cellars), you can buy local fois gras from the farm, you can visit vineyards, and you can see where the Battle of the Marne was fought in 1918. (the Germans could bombard Paris from here).

Had a dinner at Auberge le Relais, just over the road from our B&B, providentially a Michelen starred restaurant. Our hosts made the booking for us. We had the very good value set menu (remember this is a Michelen starred restaurant, not cheap, but extremely good value) The restaurant was full and ours was a last minute booking so we were inside, and would have preferred to have been outside (it is under cover) which has better views over the Marne. The staff were fine, and happy to put up with our (bad) French. The meal was excellent and we enjoyed the whole experience. Worth a visit, as they say in Michelin.

The photos are both of the Marne memorial (American, as the British were not involved in this area) . And a trip to Reuilly and the various Champagne houses there.

And from Champagne back to the UK where we stay for a night with Fiona, left the car with her to get MOT done, and then went on to a week in the UK with assorted stays with various friends and relations

Fiona was the first stop in Winchester
A pause down memory lane with Gina and Ben in Steyning, before going on to Stratford
..and a few nights with Di and Tony. We found another new friend here too!
   
And finally to Hazel's in London. I went to the Imperial War Museum,

After a slight problem starting Toad (had to call out the AA man) we were off to Victor and Gaynor in the Dordogne

As usually their hospitality was wonderful. And it was the weekend of the village fete, which we went to.

And then back to Spain with an overnight in Hotel Aneto in the Pyrenees at Benasque. We were a bit disappointed with our room, it had a really nondescript view - such a shame when you consider all the views around the resort. The room itself was fine, modern and well decorated.

We did not eat in the hotel restaurant. There are 2 and they both looked a bit "soulless". The hotel is central in the town, which itself is a modern ski resort, but which functions year round with summer visitors. You will have difficulty getting street parking, and may have to take their 10€ a day option for parking. The prices in the bar were reasonable, we had a couple of glasses of fairly priced wine and they threw in nibbles. They do have an indoor pool, which nominally is "free", but you have to buy one of their swim hats to use it. I think they offer use of an outdoor pool at a sister hotel a few hundred meters away but we never checked that out. On balance, if staying in the area again, I think would stay in one of the other Pyrenees towns like Ainsa

Finally getting back to Moraira the next day

Tuscan Holiday