England 14....France 9

Wilmington Travel Blog

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The TGV pulls into the station in Paris.

From the time we got up too early in the morning in Delaware until the time we laid our heads on the pillow in Lannion, 36 hours had passed without the hint of a nap.  But I digress to the highlights of our first full day en L'Hexagonne.

We arrived in Paris at 0747 on Sunday morning.  I unfolded myself out of row 31 and wiggled the body parts which had gone numb from lack of movement for six and a half hours.  All went well as we made our way along the trottoir roulant (the cute way that the French have of saying "moving walkway"). I've run across these (not literally) at the airport in Toronto, Canada and they are a soft, springy, rubber sort of pavement that should be a requirement in all airports.  As we rode along these walkways, we transversed through a system of glass tubes that connected different levels of the arrivals area.

Voulez-vous manger avec moi...ce soir?
  I made the comment to Mark that we looked like a cage full of hamsters running through their playtubes.....all we needed was a wire wheel!

We sniffed out the back way to the passport control that allowed us to avoid the long queues where everyone else waited.  The fact that we didn't check any bags allowed us to quickly pass from Terminal 1 and into numerous elevators and escalators on our way to Terminal 2, where the gare or Mainline train station was located.  We'd done our homework and  already had our tickets as well as seat reservations for the TGV (high speed train), thus avoiding more queues.  It's easy to go on the SNCF (French Rail) website to order tickets and obtain seat reservations, which are required.

On our last leg...literally.
  It saves alot of time and worry, especially when one is tired and can't formulate questions in English, much less in French. 

 We had about 2 and a half hours to wait and that is when we discovered the good news..........England beat France 14 to 9 in the World Cup Rugby games, eliminating France from the competition and sending England to the Finals.  We do send our condolences to those fans who have an interest in Team France but I will have to say that Mark was beaming (as all good Englishmen would), when I translated the news from the front page of the French newspaper that was displayed in the giftshop. I think that is what got him through the rest of a long day.

The TGV was a sleek testament to French ingenuity, smooth, fast and silent.

Le Grand Chene....our B&B in Lannion.
  Keep in mind that the last time I had ridden in a French train was back in the summer of 1973, when there were little separate, glassed in compartments.  This was nice........more legroom than in the matchbox we had just flown in from PHL to CDG.  I was so excited that I had to take a picture of Mark chatting up the mademoiselle working in the dining car.  That's alright though, she didn't speak English and Mark doesn't speak French except for the occasional  food and wine order in a restaurant.

It was really becoming difficult to keep our eyes open on this leg of the journey.  I was nodding and jerking around like you do when you wake up and try to act like you weren't sleeping.  I might even have slobbered a time or two but that's my own little secret.

Our room at Le Grand Chene.
  About 2hrs and 45min later we arrived in Rennes, one of our connecting points. We had long enough there to go outside, inhale some fresh air, take a pic or two and search out the next platform for the train to Plouaret Tregor, which would be about an hour and 15 min ride.  This wasn't a TGV but it was very clean and comfy and not as full.  The name of Plouaret Tregor was larger, I believe, than the ville itself.  The train station was one small wooden building, a few benches and a vending machine that didn't work.  Another hour long wait and the next train pulled in for the final leg of the journey.  This train looked more like that which I was used to a generation ago with bright yellow, vinyl covered seats and the characteristic "clack-clack", "clack-clack" as the wheels moved over the rails.
Le Moulin Vert in Lannion.
  Just 15 minutes later and we had arrived at Lannion, our final destination.  Even if it hadn't been our final destination.......it would have been OUR FINAL DESTINATION.....we were that tired.

M. Andre Stervinou, the proprietor of our B&B, was there to meet us.  He is a very pleasant gentleman and counts among his talents, a fluency in English, Italian, German, Spanish and Breton and need I say, French. We were taken on the short drive through the narrow streets of Lannion town centre and up to Le Grand Chene (The Big Oak), which we would call "chez nous" for the next 4 days. Check out the websit for this wonderful B&B on the following link:  http://www.

chambres-lannion.fr/    Mme. Stervinou and Daisy, the family pooch, were there to give us a very warm "how do ye do ".  After a tour of the separate appartment and two other guestrooms within the "big house" and earnest discussions on the appropriate bed to fit Mark's 6'3" frame, we settled  for the "yellow room".  All we could think about was a cup of tea and a quick wash before heading out to dinner in town.  M. Stervinou shuttled us the mile or so into town and recommended a creperie called "Le Moulin Vert".....kind of like "Le Moulin Rouge" in Paris, but "green" and without the dancing girls.  Dinner was "formidable".  Mark had a platter of duck breast, cooked to perfection along with pate de foie gras, and toast points all on a bed of salad.
A house in the neighborhood where we stayed.
  I ordered a galette de ble noire, which is a huge crepe made from buckwheat, filled with my choice of tomates provencale and fromage, then folded over in the form of a square......yummmmmmm.  Add a demi bouteille of red wine and we were in our element.

So, now we had to make our way back "home".  We really didn't want to impose on M. Stervinou, even though he had kindly offered to pick us up after dinner so we decided to walk off our meal and get a little fresh air.  The short trip into town was certainly not the same on the return.  It was dark now and after a few wrong turns which I will admit to influencing, we were walking in circles and unable to see the tall crane that was to serve as our landmark for the way home.  The second time we passed the police station, we decided to swallow our pride and mosey on in for directions.  We were looked upon with a suspicious eye as we tapped on the door and were "buzzed into" the building.  I explained, in my best French.....nous sommes perdus, which I don't think needs a translation. The policeman looked us over sternly, trying to determine if we were a threat or just a couple of stupid tourists off the beaten track.  Let's go with the second conclusion.  He pulled out a map, showed us where we were, where we needed to go and dismissed us just as quickly.  We were on our way and headed back to where we had just been when we had taken the wrong turn that I recommended earlier.  Quick, hide the map before we go in, Mark says. We didn't want to appear as stupid as we felt.  We arrived "home", made some noises about taking a long walk around town, and headed up to bed.  That second cup of tea had never tasted so good.

WarrenRodwell says:
Great to read the World Cup Rugby result ;-}
Posted on: Oct 16, 2007
olsalty says:
Stay Tuned?? I guess I'll have to
Posted on: Oct 15, 2007
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The TGV pulls into the station in …
The TGV pulls into the station in…
Voulez-vous manger avec moi...ce s…
Voulez-vous manger avec moi...ce …
On our last leg...literally.
On our last leg...literally.
Le Grand Chene....our B&B in Lanni…
Le Grand Chene....our B&B in Lann…
Our room at Le Grand Chene.
Our room at Le Grand Chene.
Le Moulin Vert in Lannion.
Le Moulin Vert in Lannion.
Our bathroom, which is larger than…
Our bathroom, which is larger tha…
A house in the neighborhood where …
A house in the neighborhood where…
photo by: nathanphil