Sometime in February, or it might even have been Christmas, Laurie suggested that it would be better if we had Christmas in a place other than Devon, having spent a particularly damp Christmas with few opportunities for bracing walks and bright sparkley mornings. As Laurence and Gwilym live in Taipei, this was their annual visit home, and although they weren’t too fussed about the weather, we felt that it could have been so much more memorable for them. So the idea of a summer holiday in France started to take shape.
I found a selection of houses we could rent in France, they had to be near airports and rail stations and they had to have a pool, sleep 11, be within walking distance of restaurants etc! I think we shortlisted it to 3 then we sent them via email to the kids and asked them to choose their favorite. Remarkably they all chose the same one, now it was just a question of finding dates that suited everyone.
Eventually dates were found, with Matt and Mo, and Verity and Rich, joining us for the second week. At the last minute we booked a ferry crossing from Poole as there were demonstrations about the ‘jungle’ camp by the citizens of Calais and the lorry drivers and farmers. This meant that I had to drive to Bexhill and back to collect my mum and then set off early the next day for Poole. Luckily it was a calm crossing and we arrived in France at about the same time as we would have arrived in Calais.
The hotel in Chartres was in the centre of town, a stones throw from the Cathedral and was a part of the Best Western chain. Not our usual choice but we had left it a bit late for booking and certainly I couldn’t fault it. Parking was easy as there was a massive underground car park across the road and the restaurant was lovely – I had oysters for a starter and they were gorgeous. There was an illumination festival in Chartres so after supper we went for a stroll around to see what they had done.