So it turns out a perk of having a husband working as a pc geek means he gets sent on business trips to all sections of the globe – in this case – countryside France! Win! Whilst I would prefer he be able to explore with me (it turns out on work trips you have to work – who knew?) we have both enjoyed the change of scenery from Seattle . He will also be able to escape the last few days we are here. We plan to spend those days in Paris. For now it’s just me having a little explore here and there – although we both went “into town” on the weekend.
Wogan has been based in a place called Saran – which is a tiny town or commune as the French would say. It is about 130km S-SW of Paris. Saran itself is fairly small – we are based at a hotel that has a small grocery store, some other hotels and a lot of home set up style stores like for fireplaces and lighting and things.. think sort of light industry/home improvement. At any rate – it is certainly no bustling metropolis. Is has a very flat landscape with green grass and trees that are all naked as it’s winter. That being said there are a few French bistros about the place which are very nice.Â The night I arrived we had dinner at a place very close to our hotel – it was very French – lots of terrine and foie gras on the menu. Also – Bambi’s mum as the waiter told me!
Orleans is in the Loire Valley region – grassy flatland galore – its a wine country area. Also there are plenty of cute little towns with French chateau’s or castles scattered about. Orleans central is one such cute town filled with lots of lovely architecture – there is a lot of fuss here every year for the Joan of Arc festival – but right now it’s all about the Christmas Marche’
Wogan and I had a stroll around on a Saturday and explored quite a bit – it is quite chilly right now though – but at least it wasn’t raining!! The main areas were all filled with seasonal markets for Christmas – delish foods and drinks were on offer. I especially liked the look of the vin chaud – or mulled wines – they smelled amazing! There were a lot of little craft and candy stores scattered about as well – good for little gifts for the locals to buy! There were also a few pastry and cheese stalls too. Yummy-fricken’-o!
We ended up covering a reasonable chunk of Orleans on foot – we legged it down to the river Loire and walked alongside that for awhile. It’s very pretty and it looks like you can take paddle boat cruises or dine on the water in one spot. We then walked up through the little cobble stoned streets to the central district. This part of town is filled with some lovely old churches and buildings. Hidden along the alleyways are little pubs and brasseries to stop for a bite. We had croque mademoiselle (French ham and cheese toasty + egg) at a tiny pub. It was defiantly a man/sports bar type pub for the locals – they even had some AC/DC playing.
We ambled around a little more – got some info at the tourist bureau and things like that – there is aan art museum and some gardens you can check out. At this stage poor Wogan was not feeling well – so we took ourselves back to our hotel. (it get’s dark by 4pm anyway – still not used to that!)Â Overall I would defiantly recommend Orleans for a day or half day stop – but if you have a hire car handy get yourself out to some of those wineries!