Day 2 saw us leave Paris…unfortunately, we’ve brought British spring weather, with us, so for 10 mins it’s sunny and we’re in t-shirts and then as we drive out of Paris, it’s raining (then sunny, then raining, then cloudy…).
We head south from Paris, destination Eric Louis – Les Celliers de la Pauline in Thuvenay. The usual clear French toll roads (a pain in the neck for single R35 drivers and passengers of the 2 R34s,,,lower cars, you see!), however, some light entertainment, courtesy of Geetak playing slalom at about 90km per hour with the cones at the very end of some roadworks.
We arrived at the vinyard to be met by a lovely lady called Louse (that’s Louise without the e, she explained, who took us on our tour; didn’t see any grapes being processed as its the wrong time of year, but we saw the vats and learned how they make red, white and rose from the same red grapes, about ageing, oaking and the good years.
Then the wine tasting began – 9 wines in total. While the drivers had to sip a tiny bit and/or spit the taster out, our passengers enjoyed large tasting glasses (I won’t mention any names but put it this way certain passengers definitely had a snooze on the onward journey), followed by a delicious lunch of fresh bread pate’s and meats, dessert then coffee. The French are strange no butter for the bread or milk for the coffee!
Some nice winding country road’s to play on from the vinyard (due to Geetak using his satnav and not the printed itinerary…but to be fair, they did seem to send us in the wrong direction at first) then more motorway to Vichy.
Unfortunately, not following those “wrong instructions” backfired, because 3 of us lost the front runners and once split, we found oursleves in rush our traffic…lost! We eventually arrived in Vichy about 5.30pm and after negotiating the tight underground car park and helped the bell boys take 5 cars worth of bags on 2 small luggage carriers, we got our rooms.
The hotel was fantastic – huge separate spa joined by 3rd floor bridge, across a road, wonderful views of the nearby park and some big spacious rooms with very comfortable bath and large shower. May seem strange to comment, but the toilets are set at a 45 degree angle in square bathrooms – us larger chaps rather struggled to fit!!
Sue and i decided to have a swim on the 7th floor pool, but Geetak wanted us to meet in the bar to agree arrangements for dinner and the next day – Track Day at Michelin test facilities in Ladoux. Unfortunately for Geetak, his method/speed of sorting out arrangements and ours differed – I hope we don’t come to blows! Let’s just say after 3 phone calls and an hour wasted at the bar, we eventually found out we all had to go and pay for our parking over the road, it would be a 5:45am alarm the next day and Geetak would be using his satnav…so, eventually, we paid the parking and then managed to get to the pool – by 7:30!
The pool felt a bit chilly then we realised you could swim under the plastic curtain outside to the terrace. being “crazy English people” I insisted we swam outside…Chillllly!
Dinner was on our own, so we wandered up into the town for 30 mins, took a couple of wrong turns and knowing we needed to be in bed early, got desperate and chose what you could only call a pizza/kebab takeaway…not at all what Sue has dressed for, but as often is the case, it was absolutely lovely – really fresh, good quality and quick, so bed by 10:00pm for the early start tomorrow.