Driving to Paris from Belgium via Laon
We say good-bye to our lovely friends in Belgium (you can read about it here), and hop in our little car we called “Vegemite” and we are heading to Paris.
We have booked an apartment on AirBnB.
I’m driving. It is remarkably easy, but then I have driven in other countries so am getting used to driving on the right of the road.
After an hour I need a coffee, so we stop at a little town.
In Belgium and France coffee is often served at a bar. Usually there is a patisserie nearby.
As we take the back roads, and not the toll roads, it is also a much prettier drive.
We see a sign for a medieval city, so we head off and decide that might be a good place to explore.
Laon is about 1000 years old and as soon as you arrive you see how gorgeous it is.
There is a free car parking spot right front gate. Loads of places. So park there and walk up, as parking is hard to find and costs in the city, and it isn’t far to walk either.
As we walk up, an old lady comes and greets us. This is like stepping back in time. She stands at her doorway and watches as the world goes by.
We are alone walking the streets on this quiet morning.We then came to what seemed like a bit of town life, near a huge old church.
We were all pretty hungry and loved the idea of crepes for lunch.
The funny thing was that they were not making savoury crepes until noon, so she wouldn’t take my order, but when I passed by the kitchen a short time later the next customer must have ordered at noon and had success. I get a little frustrated as a traveller that maybe if they had asked me to wait 5 or 10 minutes I could have eaten, so instead I just sipped a coffee.
So next stop was the cathedral – which had free entry which was great.
The stone work was amazing. Full of intricate figures.
There was gorgeous stained glass too. Really pretty bells chimed too.
It was strange to see a mix of saints, angles and protective gargoyles at their feet.
Hanging baskets. Potted plants. Cute archways that lead down little lanes were all part of this magical medieval city.
We were sad to leave. In fact we decided to walk back to the car and take a drive through the cobblestone streets. We were so glad we did, as it really was eye-opening.
Laon would be worth a stay overnight.
As we left and resumed our road trip down the back roads, the scenery changed to fields where crops swayed in the breeze. Poppies were also showing their rouge circles amongst them.
We found this little ‘moulen’ or windmill and I thought this was my favourite photo.
We have rented an AirBnB apartment in Paris. It has a car parking on site which really sold it to us.
So I must admit I had no idea how I was going to handle the crazy Paris traffic. It was mid afternoon and I expected the worst.
Well, I actually survived quite well.
After a bit of a wait and an emergency run into a hotel toilet while we double parked, the girls who were to show us to the apartment arrived.
The owner was away, and they were very sweet.
We had to do a little tidy up on arrival, but we soon settled in. It was a one bedroom apartment, but as there was a sofa bed and a spare mattress, we decided that Explorafriend should have the bedroom and some privacy, and we would use the lounge – perfect!
There was also a rooftop garden with lovely herbs, so we picked a few flowers and the place felt like home.
Explorason had done a great job of tidying and setting things out for us. I was really impressed.
We had purchased boxes of food in England at Aldi, and were so glad we did, as all we had to do was unpack and Explorafriend was straight in the kitchen cooking.
We have an arrangement – I drive and she cooks and seeing I am not a great cook – and she is, I love it!
So here we sit. Our first night in Paris. It is a balmy evening, and we have curry for dinner.
“Cheers” or should I say “Santé”.
We can’t wait until tomorrow to explore Paris.