I’ve been nervous about today since we started planning for it. John and Pauline were scheduled to arrive at 7:30 am. Somehow we needed to get to the airport (an hour by train), collect our leased Citroen, buy fuel, and find John and Pauline before heading west to Trébry. Based on our arrival experience, it might take up to an hour before John and Pauline would be ready to go but we did not have a certain rendezvous point or time. We had exchanged phone numbers but mine is now different since I acquired a SIM.
We planned to be out of our hotel before 6:30 am in hope of catching an RER that would get us to the airport by 7:30 am. We both woke early and were on our way well before 6:30 am. The gates at Cambronne Metro were open so we boarded without tickets and bought tickets for the RER at Denfert-Rochereau. The train was express from Gare Nord to the airport so we arrived by about 7:15 am.
I called the lease people to arrange pickup. They came quickly and we concluded formalities quickly too. We wrangled our bags into the boot and were off in our new Citroen Cactus C4 to find fuel which is not part of the lease deal. Fortunately the GPS had been set to English and locations were stored for the nearest service station and the lease office for return.
I drove to the service station where we filled up and decided that we might be better to have Majella drive while I navigated which required learning how to handle the GPS in the car. The service station was crowded and I paid at the pump with my card so we did not go in. Instead we headed up the road and decided to go back toward the collection point where we could park and sort ourselves out. Instead we deviated by Terminal 1 where John and Pauline had landed. It was still too early to expect that they might be ready but we wanted to see how it was laid out. I called John’s number and Pauline answered to say that they were just getting off the plane. I said we would call again to check progress and then we headed off to look for coffee.
The village of Roissy is near the airport so we found it easily, parked, and went in search of coffee. Alas it was not to be found and an aircraft consultant from the USA assured us he had not been able to find any in several days. We settled for a couple of nectarines for breakfast and headed back toward the airport. Despite some navigational issues we made it to Terminal 1 and did a circuit. On the next round we went into the 10 minute parking area and were lucky to arrive just as John and Pauline exited the building. We loaded the car and headed toward Trébry via Chartres a bit before 9:00 am.
Traffic on the peripherique and beyond was heavy and we made slower progress than expected. We made one unsuccessful attempt to find coffee in a town we passed before arriving in Chartres about 11:00 am. We found a park near the cathedral and went in search of coffee. The first couple of places we tried were setting up but not open until noon but we did eventually find coffee near the cathedral. That late first coffee of the day was much appreciated.
We spent some time in the cathedral marvelling at the work done so many centuries ago. Much of the building is showing wear and tear of the centuries of use but there are parts that have been cleaned and some restoration work has been done that enables visitors to appreciate the quality of the work that was done so long ago.
From there we walked into town where we bought baguettes for lunch and Majella picked up some additional medication while John and Pauline tackled an ATM. We ate our baguettes in the shade in front of the cathedral before getting back into the car and heading on to Trébry. We were already late so we set the navigation to fastest route and stayed on the toll road at 130 kph for as long as we could.
We contemplated a change of drivers but the time was never right and Majella drove the entire distance while I dealt with navigation. We arrived at our lodgings in Trébry shortly after 4:00 pm and were greeted by our host, Debbie. The cottage is as advertised – charming and comfortable with 2 ensuite bedrooms, living and dining. We should be very comfortable here for the next 3 weeks while we explore the surrounding area.
On advice from Debbie we drove the 10 minutes or so to Moncontour where we eventually found a supermarket and obtained basic supplies for the next couple of days. We returned to the cottage and ate a simple dinner of cold meat, cheese, and bread washed down with a bottle of cider provided by Debbie and some of the red wine we obtained from Therese and Chris.
John and Pauline retired early to aid their recovery from a very long couple of days’ travel. I went for a short walk around the village while Majella rested. We have no firm plans for tomorrow and will take that as it comes.