The Planning is Almost Finished – Travels with Allie.
The alarm woke us up at 645 which was a bit of a shock. Our ferry was at 0900 but we thought we should get there early in case it took a long time for the officials to check our documents, or search the boot for illicit food!
It looked set to be a lovely day, rather misty but the sun was there, just waiting to break through and there was no wind. We had a lovely drive over to Dover – it only takes about 20 minutes. As it happens, check in was really quick, there wasn’t much of a queue – about 70 cars on our crossing. We had to show our Declaration forms, and our vaccination certs to the French border officials but they didn’t seem very bothered. But something did happen that hasn’t happened for decades!!!!! He got a big stamp out and bang, bang, bang, stamped up our passports!!!!! I am old enough to remember when they used to do this whenever you arrived in any European country, of course…..
No one looked in the car. No one asked us anything about food. Damn! We could have brought that freezer bag of meat. But then, of course, if we had brought it, they’d have searched the boot!! The ferry crossing itself was very smooth and everyone was keeping a good distance and wearing their masks.
We went straight up to the Routemaster restaurant and had a full English breakfast – it was only £3.99!!! and really quite nice quality. We ate and watched the white cliffs disappearing into the mist….. The ferry took 90 minutes and we were swiftly off and onto the motorway (toll) towards Paris. The sun was out fully by now and it was pretty hot. 25C in Calais, 30 by the time we reached Paris. In fact, HOT HOT HOT!
We skirted around to the north and down the east side of the city. Traffic was light. The toll was 22 euro and it took just over 3.5 hours.
Lucy was concerned about entering hotels and restaurants because the French app would not upload her Dubai vaccinations, couldn’t read the QR code. Apparently you can go into a pharmacy and they can check them and upload them for you. However, it is Sunday and very, very few pharmacies are open. We found there was one in the Val d’Europe mall which is very near our hotel, so we headed there. Lucy also spotted that they were doing lateral flow tests in the car park which can also be uploaded to the app and would buy her some time – 3 days. The pharmacy upload didn’t work so she had the test – it was pretty chaotic. No social distancing around the testing cabin at all. You had to scan a code to get in a digital queue and of course everyone was clustered around that trying to line it up!!!! I suppose it took about 40 minutes to get the test and then the result. She has now got that test loaded into the French app and tomorrow she will try a pharmacy again. But if not, what she has will work. The test was 29 euro. Bob and I had uploaded our NHS vaccs into French app and they worked fine – everyone could read them. We had them scanned to enter the mall.
Checked in at the Marriott at about 4pm. Our little house is on the opposite side of the swimming pool to the one last year, but exactly the same layout. Fantastic. We love the location of this resort. There is so much to do around here. I mean the two obvious hotspots are Disneyland Paris and the whole city of Paris itself…. however we spent 5 active weeks here last year and never went to either of them. And it’ll be the same this year.
we unpacked and then Lucy and I walked around to the little on site store and bought a few food supplies to get us to morning. We were going to go to a supermarket and stock up but we were too tired. Bob and I will go tomorrow. We really like this resort. Looking forward to our stay very much..
We set off to deliver Lu to her hotel near work about 615. I’d booked us dinner at a restaurant in Antony, south of Paris quite near to her office, en route to Versailles. The traffic was diabolical. It took us about 1.75 hours to do 40 miles. Dreadful, just crawling. Not what you want after a very long drive and an early start….. It had been quite hard to find a restaurant open on a Sunday night, serving French cuisine. I don’t much want to come to France and eat Chinese or Indian food. I don’t want pizza or burgers! No…. I want the full 9 yards French… snails… butter…. bread…. cheese…..maybe even gizzards!!!! I found a restaurant called Les Galopins in Antony (near Orly) which got a lot of good reviews and looked ok. In fact, it was far better than ok and totally exceeded our expectations.
I must mention that our covid passport is being checked and scanned every time we go inside somwehere whether it’s a Hotel, a restaurant or a shop, so Lucy did right to get her test scanned into the French app. It’s much more strictly and widely applied than say the NHS app passport in the UK.
Lucy and I both started with a St Marcellin toast with honey, and a warm courgette and aubergine salad. The St Marcellin was wrapped in pancetta and it was frankly evilly oozy and just utterly sluttish. Delicious!!!! I devoured mine. St Marcellin is my favourite cheese ever since I discovered it on a cheese trolley in Macon about 25 years ago. It oozed across the gap towards me and I just knew it was a marriage made in heaven! Absolutely to die for……. Bob had a fabulous slab of terrine with cabochons which was also amazing – both plates were meals in themselves. Then, Lucy had steak tartare which was excellent, Bob had a chicken caesar salad – yum, and I had a rump steak with a Port Auvergne sauce (light blue cheese). There was also a massive, and I do mean massive, bowl of frites. We couldn’t get nearly down half of it. Washed down with fizzy water and pichets of house red. A great start.
We took Lucy onwards 10 minutes to her Mercure hotel and headed back to ours. By now the A86 was empty and we did the whole trip in under 40 mins. So glad to get into bed. A long day of driving but we’re here now….
I am going to start adding podcasts to some of the blog posts for people who like to listen rather than read. It’s an experiment. However, it’s tough to do them simultaneously because I tend to write the blog last thing at night, and I’m too tired to record then…. so the podcast may be tomorrow morning. I will add it in here, but if you like podcasts, you can listen to mine here https://anchor.fm/alison-boler