Travelled : 136 kilometres from Chaumont to Troyes in the Champagne Region.
Visited : Mc Arthur Glen Shopping Outlets.
Stayed : Centre-ville car park, free but no services. N48.29139 E4.07432 (CCT) one night.
Travelled : 169 kilometres from Troyes to Milly-la-Foret, Paris Region.
Visited : Fontainebleau Chateau (€26 double with audio guide).
Stayed : Municipal aire Milly-la-Foret, free with service. N48.39808 E2.48024 (CCT) one night.
Our transit across France continues at a steady pace. Keeping off the motorways and running the D roads we save on the toll fees, the stress of Pam (sitting in the left seat) arguing the toss with the toll collectors and the trucks and fast moving cars. It’s a relaxing run as we pass the miles and miles of vineyards facing south, every small village has a champagne cave and tasting signs.
Naturally fermented champagne are stored underground in France in the ‘manner traditional’. We have been all through that on our previous visits to France and we still have a bottle of champagne from 3 years ago in one of the lower lockers waiting for just the right moment. We do however see a sign for the Charles De Gaul Memorial as we pass Colombey-les-Beux-Eglises. So we turn off the D619 for a look. It’s not raining, but it is a very misty morning, although it’s almost mid-day by now.
In the mist we manage to find the special camper parking area and walk toward the ‘information centre’. Directed into the mist we walk for almost a kilometre up the hill. Suddenly a large cube shape building looms out of the mist, we have found it. Walking inside we are shocked to find it has an entrance fee ! €16 each, have we entered the ‘twilight zone’ ! We look at each other and say au-reviour to Charles.
We arrive in Troyes in the mid-afternoon and do a quick shop at the Lidl comparing the German/French prices, as you do. We have passed through Troyes a few times before and know it well. Troyes is the centre of the garment industry in France and home to the DFO. The most upmarket of those it the McArthur Complex (yes, owned by the same people who run McArthur Square and various other complexes in Australia) or as it’s known in our family, the Pam Complex. Whilst the main focus this year will be the Grandchildren, Pam does spend an inordinate amount of time at the Tommy Hilfiger Gallery.
We last visited Troyes in 2015, from memory it rained all night and half the day. So as soon as the sunsets we are not surprised to hear the rain start. By bed time it’s falling steadily and it continues for the entire night (or so it seemed in the land of nod). Still raining at 8am, but it suddenly clears. The suns out for the first time in a week or so.
Pam has had second thoughts on something she brought for a friend’s new baby and wants to exchange it, so we depart Troyes via the McArthur Complex (N48.32903 E4.10384). They have excellent free wifi that extends into the carpark, so I download the Australian while Pam does her thing. Finally where off, continuing north-west along the D619 which closely follows the River Seine…
Back on the road, the D411 is an easy drive. There’s little traffic and the road is unusually straight, we sit on 90 kph and just roll across the country-side.
The comparison with the Palace at Versailles is something you need to judge for yourself. For us, some aspects of the gardens and fountains at Versailles may be superior. However the interior furnishings and fittings of Fontainebleau Chateau are grander and in better condition than Versailles. It may also be the crowds at Versailles detract from the experience somewhat and we had an easy walk through Fontainebleau.