Sunday, 6 January 2013

Not just a glue factory

Day 175 05.01.13 Chalons en Champagne

We enjoyed a bit of a lie in after a busy day yesterday and then headed to a supermarket on the edge of town.  We followed the sat nav directions and ended up in the carpark of some adjacent flats.  Immediately we spotted this wasn’t our cleverest of plans.  The cars around us ranged from one with its tyres slashed, one with the driver’s door crowbarred open and one that had been set on fire.  Needless to say I left Chris is charge of protecting Van Diesel whilst I shopped at the speed of a contestant on Supermarket Sweep.

We made a sharp exit to our next stop of Chalons en Champagne.  It’s not a big stop for us, we’re just keen to cut down the journey to Troyes a little.  We park up near town and head in after some lunch.  We soon find a large church with twin spires and a lovely old bridge across the river (everywhere in France has a river – it’s the law).  Onwards into town we’re struck by the prettiness of the old wood fronted houses.  They’re everywhere and whilst not all authentic, it creates a fabulous feel that’s oh so French!  It’s a ghost town as all the shops shut between 12 and 2 for a typically French long lunch.  We use this time to take a walk up to the cathedral which is even larger than most of the ones we’ve seen so far.  It’s also shut unfortunately.  We head back into town admiring the old post office building and yet more wooden fronted houses, especially the one beside the river that is home to the tourist office.

We browse some of the shops as Chris is in need of some new trainers.  His literally fell apart in Cambrai so he’s stuck with his walking boots at the moment which aren’t ideal for everyday use.  The selection is appalling and the prices sky high sadly.  We come across a great antiquities shop full of magnificent treasures, all of which are also astronomically expensive, although much more justified this time!  If you happen to have a grand converted French farmhouse or chateau (as well as a spare few thousand pounds) this is the place to shop for your interior design needs.  On the way back to the van we took a look around the large church with the twin spires.  Lots of pretty stained glass windows but a little empty and very dark!  We’ve been very pleasantly surprised by this town.  Its seemed like just a handy stopover and all I’d heard about it was from Eddie Izzard’s sketch (when it was called Chalons sur Marne) which suggested all that was here was a glue factory!  He exaggerates somewhat, its actually really rather nice! 

After exploring town we head up to the aire a little way from the centre.  It turns out the machine offering water and electricity is broken, probably from mixing water and electricity.  It’s a quiet enough spot for the night though and has a rather cheap petrol station to fill up at.  We both get on with some writing, Chris his book and me with the blog.  I’ve neglected it a little of late so there’s lots to do. 

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