Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

France (Part1)

Back in March I was asked by a friend to deliver some furniture to her sister in a village not far from St Etienne, in France, this meant a round trip of about 1700 miles, on my own with expenses paid.  Of course I agreed.   We loaded Gloria up on the Thursday afternoon, every last bit of space was used, I even had a nice little wooden occasional table on the passenger seat next to me!

At the wheel, you can just see the
table next to me
Friday morning I got up early and left before the family had got out of bed, planning to get the 7:30 Dover - Calais ferry.   A nice easy journey down to Dover, a restful crossing and I was in France.   Going through passport control and customs no one checked anything, although I ran over a weighbridge for my own interest no one was interested in the weight, or contents of the van.   The only questions asked were when my ticket was checked they wanted to make sure that my journey really was for pleasure and not business, well I certainly was planning to enjoy myself.   And no one was interested in how I was dressed, at that point a rather unfetching combination of skinny jeans, trainers, and sweat shirt.

After getting clear of Calais port you go directly on to the excellent French Motorway system, at the first opportunity I pulled into a parking area, and sorted out my appearance, I put the padding into my bra, put on my makeup and wig and changed my shoes.   My plan was that other than the actual delivery I would be Fem for the whole trip, up to passport control on the way home.   As the day wore on and the miles mounted up as I headed south, so also the weather warmed up, the sweat shirt was soon discarded leaving just a nice light weight pink top.   I had a packed lunch with me as I wanted to save time (and money) and make as much distance south as could that first day, so my only encounter with anyone else was when I had to stop to tank up with diesel, a total non event.

Dressed for dinner

By about 5 O'clock I had been going for quite long enough, decided that it was time to stop and find an hotel, so I pulled off the Motorway and headed for Langres, I decided that I would stop at the first Logis De France Hotel I saw, if I didn't see a Logis, I would head into Langres town centre and find anything with a bed.   Just before getting in Langres is the village of Saints Geosmes, which I found had a very nice family run Hotel and restaurant, which is part of the Logis network.   Logis de France is an organization of 300-plus smaller hotels, mostly akin to an American inn, which are almost always connected to a fine restaurant. The Logis de France are a great option for those who want a true French lodging experience, but the assurance of certain standards. Logis de France's independently-run inns average 19 rooms, so they are on the smaller side without being as tiny as a chambre d'hote.   I will admit that much of the attraction for me is the restaurant bit.   I stayed at the Jum'Hotel on the main road, but the restaurant was in the Village in a much older building.   If I had realised that they had the two Hotels, I think would have chosen to stay at the older one, however it did give me a nice walk before and after dinner.

dinner, mm snails!

Naturally I wanted to get washed and changed before eating so after a shower I popped on the LBD, and glammed up a bit.   As a general rule the French don't dress up much to dine out, at least not outside of the big city centers, so I didn't want to go too far, and at this point I was still a little nervous of going out and about in a strange town, where I only have a limited grasp of the language.   Of course I had nothing to worry about, everyone I encountered was very nice, and the dinner was excellent.

One little thing did give me a little problem, when I sat down at the restaurant I was asked if I would like an aperitif, of course I did (I had been on the go, mostly driving for over 12 hours at that point) but this was the first time Paula had been in this situation, I simply didn't know what I drink!   I ordered a Pastis, and although it was OK it is not Paula's drink!   Otherwise dinner was marvelous, snails, stuffed chicken breasts, local cheese and a dessert of mouse au chocolate, actually two small dishes of mouse and one of a lemon sorbet, all washed down with a local white wine and followed by coffee.

So; two regrets, that I was not with anyone to share the experience, and that it had to come to an end, more than balanced out by an excellent experience, and being able to go to bed, wearing a nice nighty and not having to clean off my nail varnish.

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