I will honestly say that leaving France always makes me sad. It is a place I love and would love to see more of it. It is not that I am not sad leaving other places, because I am. But perhaps because it is so far away that I think this may be my last time here? I certainly hope not.
Our Saturday was spent packing and loading up the car and driving. When I planned this trip, I thought let's drive on Saturday to a village we have never been to near the airport. Spend some time exploring and then have a lazy morning, drive to the airport and be off. I think it was a good plan, except for the driving part. Traffic was terrible and it took us a bit longer than anticipated to reach Senlis. A small village that is one of Le Plus Beaux Villages de France (one of the most beautiful villages in France). A distinction given to about 155 villages in France - I'm not sure who makes these choices. I would be hard pressed to limit this list. It seems like every village I go to is the most beautiful.
Senlis center is full of small windy cobblestone streets, the buildings are all pale colors mostly yellows and whites with some timber thrown in here and there. They have lights that hang off the sides of the buildings and I am sure they are lovely at night. There are lots of cafe's and bars in this little town and of course being near the end of July all the stores "soldes" were now 50% off.
It seems like we were always hitting places after lunch was finished and before dinner is served, so we wondered around and followed the church spire to the cathedral of Senlis. This place was started in 1153! I know all my readers are smart and can do math, but that it is 864 years! For nearly a thousand years a place of worship has stood on this site. The cathedral was built on the site of an older place. It has changed many times over the course of those years and I am sure the people of 1153 would not recognize it today. It has had a fire, been ransacked during the revolution and classified as an historic monument. It is still the church for the village. Perhaps it will stand for another thousand years.
We stopped at a little cafe on one of the little cobblestone streets and had a drink and some olives. While sitting there we watched a young man park and Audi. You might think we were really bored, but not so. He pulled up, backed into a small opening in a building barely wider than the car and we were quite impressed.
We wandered a bit more and then it was finally dinner time. Now one might think that we could not possibly eat another thing after the meal we had the night before, but one would be wrong. We found a place called Table Italienne, reviews on line were good so off we went. We found it without any trouble, well there were a couple of wrong turns, but when are there not? We came in and Upstate told the woman behind the bar that we were there for dinner and then we waited. We waited while five or six women just were kind of standing around. As we started getting a little anxious at the wait, wondering why because there was only one other table occupied in the place, a young man came flying in from the back. Phone at his ear, blue suede shoes on his feet and I am assuming keeper of the table gate. He seemed to be the only one that could seat people and he did seat us. We had a nice little table in a covered area that seemed it could be opened up to the sky. Upstate and I ordered pastas and my beloved and the Girl shared a pizza. It was really good. Not the good of the night before, but different really good. The bread was good here as well, how do the French do such good bread? As we were finishing our dinner it started to rain and we are pretty sure it hailed a bit. Perhaps not the quite tears of Baulay but the ugly hard tears of being even closer to leaving.
We stayed at an Ibis hotel. The Ibis chain is all over Europe. They are budget hotels. So if you choose to stay at one expect smaller rooms then you are used too, one towel per person and not a lot of amenities, but they did have a nice soap in the shower and checkout is noon. Also, we had a great breakfast here. The yogurt was fantastic!
Now I mentioned the lovely cathedral in Senlis, well the non catholic's had a little area in the hotel where they hold Sunday services, we could hear them singing as we waited to check out. Not sure it will be there in a thousand years.
Finally, we checked out and headed for the airport and the rental car return. Here in America most major airports have gone to the off site car rental mega temple. All rental places, giant garages, buses that take you to and from the airport. Recently on a trip to San Diego, I think the bus ride to the rental place was as long as the flight. Not at CDG. No. The car rental places are right smack dab outside the terminals and there are a few terminals so make sure you got the correct area or you will have a long journey to your terminal.
We drove down into a pit between two terminals and found the Enterprise area. We pulled in and a nice young woman, who I will quickly decide I don't like, takes our paper work and starts going over the car. Upstate and my beloved get all the luggage out of the car and onto carts.
This is a tip - use a damn cart when ever you can. It makes your life so much easier. You are welcome.
So she goes over the car and says "there is a tiny crack in the windshield"
Really? Yes, really.
So she and I go into the little booth and she writes up the damage report. Truthfully, I am glad she did not look at the bottom of the car - all that new road we drove on. She says "they will send you an invoice for the damage". I ask any idea about how much? Oh yes, I can't even type here the amount she said to me.
Then she asks "how was your experience picking up the car in Paris?" And off I went. She just smiled and handed me the invoice.
So we take our baggage laden luggage carts and start the trek to Terminal 2E - Air France and home.
First stop is at a print your own boarding pass and luggage tags. While my beloved and I could print what we needed cause we had no stops, Upstate and the Girl could not get past Detroit - how sad for them - so they had an extra stop at information and we went directly to check in our luggage.
Sky Priority is a good thing, you get special lines and I am not ashamed to admit I like it. We got our luggage checked in and then started the wait for Upstate and the Girl. We waited and waited and then had to leave to get to our gate. So this is where we parted ways with Upstate and the Girl, in fact Upstate broke up with us by text. We were headed for different terminals and flights home.
Our flight was delayed a bit so we had a lot of time to sit around wait. We were serenaded by some boys choir. They sang The Lion Sleeps Tonight and the best part was the little girl behind us singing it in French.
Finally we boarded and off we went. An uneventful flight and home again we are. Then we get to customs and there is a little issue. The woman that had been sitting next to me starts screaming "what??? What??? You left it on the plane? That was your responsibility." She was yelling at the man she was traveling with. Apparently he had left the ipad with all their pictures on the plane. She was crying and I was thinking if that ipad has ALL your pictures from all your life and that is the only place you have them then you are stupid. Stop yelling at the man and go to the AirFrance counter and ask them to check out the plane. Geez.
Now on to plan the next trip!