Two Weeks in the French Interior - Summer, 2007

13 Langeais to St. Witz (north of Paris)
Saturday, August 25

We passed on the chef's breakfast, and hit the nearest cafe, carrying a couple croissants and a pain au chocolat in a bag from the boulangerie around the corner. Four grand tasse coffees, and a Herald Tribune later, we were ready to face another day on the road. We paid our bills, packed, and headed east along the Loire towards Tour to find the autoroute to Paris. We exited in Blois to do the "let's get lost" dance once again. We somehow circled around and found parking within a few hundred yards of a restaurant that we'd seen the wrong way on a one-way street on our way into town, and it turned out to be another really good choice. All food made in-house, hand-written blackboard menus, no crowd, locals. My roti de porc was perfect, as was F.'s salmon.

Next was endless stop-and-go traffic, jostling with all the end-of-August back-to-Paris traffic. We knew from former trips that the signs to the CDG airport only appear once you are almost within sight of it, and somehow remembered that if you are south of Paris, you need only be very careful to heed all blue autoroute signs that say "Lille" on them, and you will inevitably end up next to the airport. It worked perfectly as a method, and we found ourselves driving into the airport complex before having made a plan about what next. I vaguely recalled that we needed "Aerogare 2", and then we entered a loop that recalled to us how we would need to proceed to return our rental car the next morning (I do not like being lost when our plane is about to fly.)

I had assumed that in spite of F.'s hatred of airport hotels, we'd have to stay in one to be completely sure of the next morning's schedule. But when I saw her face as we pulled up to a "Novotel" in a vast complex of concrete, I knew we'd need to go to Plan B. We took A1 north from the airport for a few miles and exited at little St. Witz, near Chantilly. It turns out not to be a town at all---just a bunch of American-style development houses and a hotel complex. The only two restaurants were a PastaPizz and a Buffalo Grill. The hotels were American style motels. But you could see green hills and foliage from the windows, and we decided to take it. We drove many miles to other "towns" in the area, and had no luck, whatsoever, in finding anythink like a cafe, brasserie, bistro, restaurant, or any other vendor of human food.

We gave up. Drove back to the Buffalo Grill across from our 2-month old hotel, and I ordered a medium-rare slab of bison with fries, skipping all the other American Enticements they'd plastered across their damned menu.

We finally got the air-conditioner to work in our room, and slept well, with precisely 18" clearance to the wall on either side of our bed.



Websites devoted to some of our former travels in France:
Spring, 2003 - Winter, 2003 - July, 2004

Copyright© 2007 - Darrell Taylor