Preface, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4
Today we went to pick up our rental car. We had decided to spend one day exploring the countryside a bit. Although it wasn't the best time of year for it, we wanted to see some vineyards. We love to take road trips, and were looking forward to seeing more of France than just Paris, and comparing the views to the ones we grew up with.
Spiral was not at all intimidated by driving in a foreign country, which was a good thing because I certainly was. I navigated our way out of the city, and headed south. We had planned to visit the Burgundy region, but never made it that far.
As we're driving down the highway I'm looking out at green fields and trees, and thinking about how much longer people have been living here on this land than in our home country, and about all the history that has taken place here.
We stopped in Auxerre and parked the car. We wandered the streets a bit and found a place to eat lunch. (I failed to write down the name of this place.) I had a rib steak with green beans and cottage potatoes. I remember thinking it was one of the best meals I had had so far on our trip, and also the most like what I'd eat at home. We then drove out into the wine country of Chablis. We got to see fields of vineyards, rolling over the hills in perfect rows, and though the vines were bare and the sky was overcast, it was beautiful. I could just see the vibrant greens that exist on that land during the summer, and the people who care for the land. It was just as breath-taking as seeing the Eiffel Tower.
We then drove through the town of Ligne Le Chalet, and were so charmed to find they had just had the "Saint-Vincent Tournante Du Chablisien" in honor of Saint Vincent. Spiral had to inquire about it, and from what we learned it was an annual festival in honor of the patron saint of the Chablis grape. The entire village was covered in little paper flowers, hundreds of balloons put together to make huge clusters of grapes, and pine trees painted all colors of the rainbow. It truly was an amazing sight! (While driving through the narrow streets in the rain, I had Spiral stop near a tree so I could take one of these pretty little crepe paper flowers. I felt bad about taking it, but I was certain that with every tree in town covered in these charming decorations, it would never be missed, and I hold it as one of my most precious souvenirs from our trip. I look at it and imagine small French school children forming the colorful paper into flowers for the town's festival.) We spent so much time just driving around admiring all of this work.
We then had to head back to Paris. I had no problem finding American songs on the radio - for some reason we heard ACDC quite a bit. That evening we ate at L'Atelier Renault on the Champs Elysees, which seemed to be a combination restaurant, art gallery, and car museum. We ate on a narrow walkway that crossed above the art gallery.
We went to bed that night knowing it was our last night in Paris. Tomorrow we would start our journey north. (This is where my notes end for our trip, so wish me luck in remembering London as well as I did Paris!!)