o BON COEUR
FRIDAY 26TH JULY
Another lazyish day, took advantage of the pool again and read some pages, then after a quick snack we went back to Langres. First though we visited a fascinating park La Truifiere which has a very large area of moss cultures from -6000 bc upwards. Good thing to do on a hot afternoon as with the water and the trees it was nice and cool inside. Not knowing much about mosses and some of the rarer plants it was probably a bit wasted on us, but would recommend a visit to anyone in the area. No entrance fees either!
Langres we decided to go back and get on the land train. Unlike the other day, there was plenty of space on the train so we got on the first one available. A British couple were on the same section, they had actually been camping in the walled city where there is quite a large area for tents and campers. The trip round the town and the incredible manoeuvres round in and out of the narrow streets was great. The audio transcribed the talk through so we followed most of the historical titbits. One bishop apparently met a gruesome end at the hands of vandals in the middle ages and the story goes that his body and horse returned with him carrying his head and he still haunts the ramparts. Poor horse! Whilst we were on the train a big storm started brewing and each time we got a glimpse of the sky we could see it getting nearer. Luckily it passed by, but had doused our swimming things which we had left out to dry. Never seen so many storms for years. Reminded me of the Tarn where there used to be spectacular displays nearly every evening.
Returning to O Bon Coeur, we found that the rooms had all been taken and there were 12 of us for dinner, including owner's mother and a friend. An international table, Belgians, Germans, French and ourselves. The conversation was mostly in French, and the particular vein was the ineptitude of the EU. Complaints on all sides about the H&S regulations, one of the Belgians said that the garage where he took his business's vehicles was now deemed a "motor hospital". There was universal condemnation of the ridiculous rules which are introduced, allegedly for own good, but which cause nothing but delays and expense for no good reason. They all thought the education systems did not prepare the young for work. Vis, one guest's daughter, who had a small grant for her student accommodation, was not taking a summer job (they have 14 weeks off) because she was scared she would lose the grant. Therefore she had little money and no chance of gaining "hands on" experience. Another complained about the difficulty of getting and retaining staff, as he found that they came out of college with the idea that they could get high salaries but they still needed training in the particular field of work. A young woman, with two children, was repeating the same story we hear at home, the cost of creches and childcare is so high that it takes practically all her wages just to try and keep her step on the work ladder. With each additional child
The cost of the bureaucrats at Brussels and the farcical moving from Strasbourg to Brussels were also thorns in the flesh. Immigration, foreign policy and so on were way down the list of things they were concerned with.
It was a very interesting evening, especially to know that all the generations, as well as nationalities were all on the same wavelength!
Saturday and off to Chateaudun in the sun. It made it so much easier travelling along, we steered clear of motorways and managed to see quite a lot of different towns en route. Villeneuve sur Yonne was an interesting town, cobbled streets, fortress town, but quite spacious and also buoyant. The most attractive towns were Migennes and Bar sur Aube, and of course we travelled through Champagne country, which looked wonderful in the sunshine. The drive took us 4 hours in total and the Logis at Chateaudun was really good find. Along the lines of Travelodge and Premier Inn, but better! The place was spotless, the staff very good and the breakfast buffet too. We explored the town which has a really huge chateau, sitting 60m above the Loir below. Lots of medieval houses and cobbled streets, and a huge square in which we parked. Another square was totally reserved for locals. I do like that amenity, the French look after their own first! Must save a lot of grouches in the season. We ate at a Steak House as we left it too late for the town's restaurants! Not a patch on the steak house in the Black Forest