Paris to Provins

Provins to Dijon

Dijon to Montbeliard

Montbeliard to Obernai

Obernai to Pont-A-Mousson

Pont-A-Mousson to Epernay

Epernay to Armentieres

Armentieres to Ieper

Ieper to Paris


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Amboise to Angers

Angers to Mont St Michel

Mont St Michel to Arromanches

Arromanches to Brezolles

Brezolles to Paris

Paris to Pruzilly

Pruzilly to Chamonix

Chamonix to Cueno, Italy

Cueno to Antibe

Antibe to Cuges Des Pins

Cuges Des Pins to Pont Du Guard

Pont Du Guard to Mende

Mende to Paris

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Campground HautvilliersStreet in HautvilliersStreet in HautvilliersBrake EnterprisesPeronne Museum

DAY 7 - Épernay to Armentières 11/10/07

The only problem with camping by vineyards and posh villages at the end of Autumn is that all those vines make lots of leaves and all those snotty residents and business don’t like them hanging around so the leaf vacuums were out at the crack of dawn.Our campground in Hautvilliers

Hautvilliers and our Dom Perignon Campsite

We walked into Hautvilliers to the Tourism Office and yet another skinny French thing made Roger go all weak at the knees by speaking English with a sleazy French accent. It leaves Roger speechless and he can’t get his private school French out. At this rate it is going to be a long trip. If it’s not Roger or the two hour lunches then it’s the French pleasantries that holds us up. When you go to buy your baguette it can take hours because every purchaser has to have a half hour discussion with the shopkeeper and no two shoppers can join the same conversation. It doesn’t matter how big the queue is the shopkeeper just carries on as if there is only one person in the shop. Even though the shopkeeper doesn’t know us our purchase still takes time because you have to have a long pleasant greeting, discussion on the weather, history of your purchase and then a long pleasant goodbye, all for one small croissant.

After securing breakfast we decided to visit at least one Champagne maker and thought Bollinger was a good start as they had caves. However Miss Snooty Pants on reception had other ideas, “Bollinger is not open to the public only professionals, if you care you can go to the city and purchase our product”. Yeah right we can do that in Auckland.

Moet PrisonWe then went to Moet at Chandon and parked the big dirty campervan in the car park amongst the BMWs and Mercedes. The reception area and foyer were impeccably shiny, I swore somebody polished the floor every time I took a step and polished everything I touched. I had plenty of opportunity to touch things as the two receptionists gossiped in French totally ignoring us. They finally broke up and in the most disgusting English accent she asked us what we wanted (imposter exposed from Luton). A tour of the caves and factory costs 11 euros including one glass of Moet, for an additional glass it costs an extra 7 euros; hell it’s not like they've had to pay for freight.

We will never know what the Moet et Chandon caves were like as we obviously didn’t meet the required tour standards and were moved on. The next stop was a lesser known Champagne maker called Mumms. They could fit us in on their English tour at 3.00pm but unfortunately that didn’t suit our busy schedule. Never mind, who can drink Champagne before lunch on nothing but a croissant and then safely drive a camper.

It was fast approaching noon so we decided to get in some lunch before the shops shut for two hours. DeliciousSeems strange that even the food shops shut at lunchtime. I am hanging out for a pie or fish and chips but these are British and the French don’t do British. Apart from McDonalds the only takeaways are pizzas or ‘Quick’, which is like McDonalds. Its interesting that fried chips are called French fries, but yet the English eat chips with everything and the French believe they won’t die if they don’t eat fries for a week. Unlike baguettes which must be eaten everyday at noon.

We decided to try Quick as a change from McDonalds, never again. Quick had plenty of advertising signs promoting their maxi cheese season. Wonderful, we love cheese and the promise of three servings of cheese in a burger sounded great. Cheese grilled on the top of the bun, cheese slices inside and cooked in the meat patty. Big problem though, we haven’t seen a lot of cows in France. Maxi cheese season went for 6 weeks, with each fortnight promoting a different milk producing animal. Oh great we dined in sheep fortnight. Possibly the milk producers wee mates went to making the meat patty. The cheese tasted and smelt absolutely disgusting. I guess we should be thankful we didn’t come in the fortnight of the goat.Peronne War Museum

We went on to Peronne where we visited another war memorial museum. The museum was less than memorial but the speed at which some Aussies left the men toilets after Roger made himself at home was impressive. I knew that sheep's cheese was off.

Beware, the men’s toilet in this museum has been condemned

I am sure the banks had heard about Roger and were scared he would ask to use their toilet. The bank doors were locked and if we could get through Brake Enterprisesthe double security door system we were normally told the bank didn’t carry cash and to use the EFTPOS machines. Maybe I should have pointed out I was a Brake and we owned a large enterprise in Europe (see left).

From Peronne we headed to the Belgium border so that early the next day we could get to Ieper or Ypres and Passchendaele for the 90th anniversary of another British war cock up that cost a lot of New Zealand soldiers their lives. The campsite was drab and surrounded by fields of brussel sprouts. I continually checked out the window to ensure that they weren’t getting any closer.

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Peronne War MuseumWar Memorial Museum, Peronne
Brake EnterprisesBrakes - World famous in France
Sale day frenzySiesta time
Hautvilliers Street SceneStreet in Hautvilliers
Hautvilliers CampgroundOur campground in Hautvilliers