Villers-Cotterêts to Reims

Our first stop of the day yesterday was to check out the aire at Longpont. It was a small, village aire, free, and would have done us happily had we needed a stop for the night. On this occasion, it provided us with a handy little lunchtime venue. We hadn’t yet shopped since arriving in France, so it was a case of making the best of things with the bits and pieces I’d pulled out of my Jersey fridge on leaving home (and I don’t mean, when I left my parental home at the age of 19!). That could have been pushing things a bit as regards their ‘use by’ and ‘best before’!

So Michael and I had a rather functional as opposed to inspiring lunch of slices of cheddar and salad vegetables, but it did the trick none-the-less, plus kept anyone getting grumpy from lack of food!

Longpont was very pretty, and often the abbey is open for paid viewings, as well as hireable for functions. I read in the brochure it’s a private home now! It was closed yesterday.

The Logis de France restaurant looked very nice, and one can usually be sure of a good meal at a Logis. We’d of course just eaten our functional lunch!

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We drove through and stopped for a photo at the elegant old town of Soissons.

We couldn’t help but notice the bullet hole damage to the Mairie’s office wall, presumably from one of the wars.

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We pulled in at the aire at Fismes, walked over the 1918 bridge and then took a drive around the town before returning to the aire.

We had thought we’d stay the night at this free aire, but with it being full on roadside, and time being on our side, we decided to skip doing that and head on instead to Reims.

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Reims

We gave up trying for a space at the motorhome aire parking – it was pretty limited and all taken! There’s can’t have been more than a dozen spaces in all at two locations near to each other.

Instead we parked roadside along the big boulevard and being evening there was no parking charge. We did our usual of pulling down the blinds and locking up before heading out, (with a bag of crisps, having not eaten!), and knowing we’d need something!

It always seems to work well for us, pulling in at big cities end of day, when the commuters have gone, parking is free, and the heat of the day is over! We did the same with Bordeaux – ideal!

The only thing you miss out on is the tourism office being open for your free map of the town, but not a deal breaker! Michael and I aren’t generally fussed to visit museums etc, so don’t need to arrive at places in good time particularly. For me, the exterior of buildings is visually satisfying enough to see and photograph.

The problem with museums too is that we all look at stuff and read or don’t bother reading about the artefacts at different speeds, so it can be rather frustrating! I personally think museums are best suited to visiting solo! – but then that’s not really me either! Believe it or not I do find history very interesting!

So yes, Reims, a very worthwhile visit. The photos do not do it justice at all unfortunately. It’s somewhere you need to visit for yourself and enjoy all it has to offer – which is a lot!

Charm, grandeur, lovely shops, restaurants, bars, parks, tourist attractions and so on!

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