A Travellerspoint blog

April 23-27 - Le Pallet

RAIN, RAIN, RAIN AND PLENTY OF MUSCADET SEVRE-ET-MAINE

rain

Basically it poured with rain for 5 days with really high winds and very low temperatures. We drove around a bit and spent a rain-free couple of hours on Tuesday back in Nantes in the Place Royale area and the Passage Pommeraye, opened in 1843

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On Wednesday we drove to Brissac-Quince to visit the Chateau de Brissac, the tallest castle in France. You can only seen the rooms with a guided tour and the tour is just too long and not that interesting. The gardens looked very good but by the time we came out of the chateau, it was raining and freezing cold. It's not really worth the 10 Euro admission fee

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We did have a very pleasant lunch in a basic cafe in the village - basic but 500 years old

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By Wednesday evening, Jeni was really ill and with the forecast of more very cold, rainy days, we reluctantly called our German friends and cancelled our get-together with them in Rouen and decided to drive back as quickly as possible to the UK. Julian and Loani were spending their last few days in Paris before flying back to Australia, so on Thursday morning we dropped them at the train station in Nantes and hit the road. Our route home passed very close to Bayeux and as we had missed seeing the Tapestry last year, we decided to stop there (very cold and windy) for lunch and a good look at this amazing piece of embroidery

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From there we drove in torrential rain until about 8pm and stayed in a very old hotel on the road towards Abbeville. Next morning it was an early start and a 3-hour drive to the Calais Ferry Terminal - it would have been 2 hours but we got lost (thank you Hertz) and ended up not being able to find a petrol station to top up the rental car (thank you Hertz, 2.95 euro per litre, twice the normal price)

A short walk (in the rain) took us the the terminal where a mere GBP59 bought us 2 one-way foot-passenger tickets to Dover, and from there a new rental car took us up to our temporary home in Suffolk where Jeni has remained for 3 days! And now, I seem to be catching that cold

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April 21-22 - in Nantes

THEN OFF TO OUR CHATEAU

rain 9 °C

Saturday morning we visited Loani at her kiosk at the Pour l'Amour du Fil textile fair and marvelled at all her wonderful art on display. From there we walked around the nearby canals and the around the outside of the very large Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne

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After a brief rain-delay, I met up (Jeni's cold had really kicked in) with Julian and we had a walk around the Place Royale area, only to find the best wine bar in the world (Bistrot La Provence) - many glasses of Muscadet were consumed. And we all came back there later, after dinner

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Sunday was a very slow start - Jeni and Loani were quite ill and it was pouring with rain. We eventually picked up our rental car about midday and drove just a couple of kilometres within the city, to Les Machines de L'ile where the famous mechanical elephant resides (as well as lots of other mad mechanical animals and insects)

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In the middle of the afternoon, we drove just 30 km to the Chateau de la Sebiniere in Le Pallet where we had rented a large house in the castle grounds

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April 20 - off to Nantes, France

A VISIT TO KNOLE HOUSE IN KENT ON THE WAY TO GATWICK AIRPORT

rain 9 °C

A 2 hour-drive via the Blackwall Tunnel brought us from Cockfield in Suffolk to Knole House in Kent. Knole is one of England's largest houses and it is called a calendar house, having 365 rooms. In the Orangery is the Buzaglo Stove dating from 1774 and one of only 2 left in the world. From there it was just a 45-minute drive to Gatwick Airport to drop off the car and board a Flybe flight to Nantes in France ($135 each one-way). We arrived at our hotel in the city-centre around 9pm and soon met our friends Julian and Loani who were in town for a big Textile Fair. The Ibis Styles Nantes Centre hotel was pretty good value for 70 Euros a night (including breakfast) but the rooms were the smallest I have ever come across. Unfortunately, Jeni was starting to get a cold and Loani already a bad one!

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April 19 - a vegetarian pub in Suffolk

GREAT BLICETT, SUFFOLK

rain 8 °C

After days and days of rain and temperatures below 8C, we just had to get out and about. And what a strange place we came upon. Only a few miles from Cockfield is a vegetarian pub - they sell Greene King beer and serve only vegetarian food and very good vegetarian food at that. It's called the Veggie Red Lion and is at Greenstreet Green, Great Bricett in Suffolk

Please visit this great pub

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April 11 - Cambridge

FITZWILLIAM MUSEUM AND THE PONDS

sunny 13 °C

Just an hour's drive from my sister's village is Cambridge. We arrived at 10:30am and went straight to the Fitzwilliam Museum to see the galleries we had missed a 18 months ago

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After a few hours there, we strolled along the river Cam and across Sheeps Green to the Granta pub for a swift half of Old Speckled Hen before returning to the bridge at Mill Lane to be entertained by dozens of punts while we had a picnic lunch from Nadia's Patisserie‎ at 16 Silver Street

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