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


Paris to Amboise

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

Paris to Auckland via Hong Kong

Tour Costs


Contact Us

Bratts Website Homepage

Trapped pussycatnotre dame amiensRugby guy at RWC final

DAY 9 - Ieper to Paris 13/10/2007

We left sad cold Belgium with the lovely people after having another 30 showers. In France and Belgium to prevent campers wasting water the showers go off every 5 seconds. You have to keep pushing the knob to start the water again; holding it in doesn’t work.

Our first stop was Arras, another World War 1 battle town. The town harras buildingas shrunk apparently over the years and now has a living population of 45,000 and a dead population of more than 50,000 Englishman from the war. We arrived unfortunately on Saturday market day and as they have two market places and the main tourist attraction is in the market place we had to get into the market spirit. Dead un-refrigerated chickens and trailer loads of garlic doesn’t really do it for me.

Arras’ main tourist attraction is the limestone war tunnels that run under the city. We had very humorous François take our group of Poms and Frenchies so everything had to be in two languages and of course for the Poms spoken very slowly. You can see where the Australians get it from. Francois never missed an opportunity to mention the rugby and at oarras town-centrene stage managed to get the Poms to line up on either side of the tunnel with the French at the end and said “this is like it will be tonight, your team will line up and cheer my winning team off the field”. Little did he know his team was “non Bon” (no good).

At the end of the tour Francois showed a collection of maps of the town and where the underground tunnels are. He made special mention of NZ because the NZ soldiers (mainly Maori) were pulled off the front to dig the limestone tunnels supposedly because we had lost a large part of our population in the war. All the quarry sites are in the shape of a map of NZ and are named after NZ placesin the correct order. However this could be mere coincidence because all the place names were also English place names ie Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson and Blenheim.

notre dame amiensFrom Arras we drove through more Battle of Somme territory to Amiens. Amiens has the biggest Notre Dame, twice the size of the Paris one. We went to visit, it was free so why not. It was absolutely massive, had lots of side chapels and carved figures in the stone work.

From Amiens we went to the most expensive campsite in our travels. For NZ$70 we bought ourselves a night on the river Seine. We can do the washing for NZ$11 and the drying for half that. Internet is expensive and the shop is shut for a 4 hour lunch break. They do however run a regular bus service for a small fee to the campground parismetro station. A good campsite provides a lovely dry pitch with private hedging, security gates, free hot showers, clean toilets, a laundry, fresh clean water to fill your motorhome supply tanks, a waste pit to drain your grey water and a toilet waste disposal unit normally in a separate area. However the world’s most expensive campsite requests you use the same pit for grey water and toilet waste which is situated right next to the fresh water hose. We watched a guy hang the fresh water hose in the drain, empty his poos in the drain over the hose and then shove the hose in the waste unit to flush it out. We can only assume the next unsuspecting camper put the dirty hose in his fresh water tanks and drank his faeces. Next time we saw it used it was by a South African, justice.

Enough pitfalls of camping, we dressed in our finest All Black clothing as if we were the most gracious losers and caught the camp bus to the metro. We met some Australians who were going to watch the first rugby semi-final in town on the big screen at the Eiffel Tower. Mr Australia asked after our state of well being. Roger replied “bearing up, the only consolation is we at least lasted 24 hours longer in the cup than Australia”. I don’t think he was impressed with Roger’s reply. The next day we saw the Australians on the bus again going into Paris to watch the next semi final, this time they both had books with them to read. Considering it’s pitch dark at 6.30pm and this is Paris, tourist capital of the world you would have to wonder, but then again they are Australian, Les Stupides”.

After leaving the bus we were to catch 2 trains to Stade de France. The ticket machine was however broken which meant no entry. We had to go back up to street level and go around the roundabout to find a metro entrance with a working ticket machine. French Metro roundabouts are bigger than 2 rugby fields so it took awhile.

Once in the train station it was obvious which way to go because 20,000 singing Poms led the way. The French are quite shy people and don’t put up much competition. Andrew Merhtens greatest All Black to ever walk the face of the earth was at the train station. However I didn’t ask him to sign my Crusader rugby ball, it wasn’t like I didn’t have room because so far it is a blank canvas. We travelled on the train with Mr rich Pom (and his chick of the month) who attends all of the World Cups. He told us Graham Henry got the sack, as we well know that wasn’t quite right as Mr “judge me on my performance” Graham Henry blamed Richie McCaw and got his job back. Funny, Richie is still Graham Henry’s choice of captain.

The French metro did learn after awhile that 20,000 people didn’t go into 5 turnstiles and they opened them up and stopped taking tickets on exit. On arrival at the stadium you walk through an alley of beer tents because the stadium is alcohol free. There are a lot of ticket scalpers and people who are going to be too drunk to see the game. We stopped along the alley for McDonalds who do les pommes de terre grand deluxe, which translates to wedges with sour cream, yummy. Some drunk Poms thought I was French obviously (Silver Fern well hidden) and assisted me with my handful of things while I was putting on my sour cream and then were horrified when I thanked them in my Kiwi accent.

rugby guy at rwc2007Rugby Guy enjoying being swung around by his mother before the final of the RWC 2007.

Once inside the outer stadium I had to wait a bit longer in the queue until they found a female guard to frisk me. She wanted to know what was in my pockets “teddy bears”, sad person I am. She waved me off smartly before she caught some weird disease. Finding our seat was easy, getting there should have had a health warning as it was very steep and in the highest point you can go. We sat with 200 or so patriotic Kiwis who came dressed in their All Black gear and sad loser faces. There were so many other patches of black jerseys around the stadium absolutely motionless. The next day we were told by some Kiwis that they read in an English newspaper that Kiwis were being labelled as arrogant for buying so many finals tickets in anticipation of their team being there. You could say arrogant or you could say under the control of the NZ rugby union who only allowed tickets to be purchased as package tours from one outlet. NZ also doesn’t have the advantage of England of just whipping over in a couple of hours.

At the game we sat with a lot of Pakuranga rugby club members who were quite taken by my bears. One guy inquired if they travel well and fought much. I ask you! They are stuffed toys, of course they don’t fight as they travel in separate coat england france semi rwc2007pockets. Back to the rugby - the Poms cheered and sang, the French didn’t. On the field the French had no answer for golden boot Johnny and “Dolly” or whatever it was that he aims for in the stands. The Poms beat the French, christ sake anybody can beat the French, oh except the All Blacks when it matters most, but then again New Zealanders think we were beaten by the ref, Graham Henry believes it was Richie, and South Islanders believe it was Graham Henry.

We escaped the rugby fast because we had to get to our camp bus at 12.15am or else walk 3kms or catch a taxi. We made it with half an hour to spare but some Kiwis on the bus the next night didn’t and had a very long walk in the dark through prostitute lined streets, that were apparently poorly sign posted, for the campsite.

At the train station in Saint Denis I gave two little sad French painted faces NZ Silver Fern pins. They had no idea what they were so I showed them my All Black jersey and their little faces lit up and their father’s. They were so honoured and excited they put them on their chests straight away, showed and thanked me. Two more useless souvenirs gone, two more happy Frenchies. We travelled on the train with Brad Butterworth, all the dirty money in the world doesn’t buy you friends, he was by himself and not one Kiwi acknowledged him.

This was the semi final that should have been Australia verses the All Blacks. Nobody obviously told France and England.

Next page...


Rugby guy at rwc semi 2007Rugby Guy at RWC 2007 semi-final
imprisoned pussycatImprisoned pussy cat
notre dame amiensNotre Dame - Amiens