WANDERINGS - AUXERRE, BURGUNDY - DAY 1
I'm back!! France was such fun that this could be the start of a few posts!
After flying from Edinburgh to Paris we arrived in the centre of the city in time to have some dinner at a cafe at the Viaduc des Arts before catching a train from Gare du Lyon to the small town of Moneteau, about 6kms from Auxerre in Burgundy. The train was to speed us to Moneteau in 1.5 hours, but after moving 200m from the station we stopped and stayed exactly where we were for over 1.5 hours. Whilst announcements were made, they were of course in French and whilst we managed to pick up the odd word here and there we were none the wiser as to the reason for the delay. Eventually we arrived in Moneteau about 1015pm and were collected and taken to our hotel.
Moneteau is a small town close to the motorway south-east from France and its' only hotels are located on the edge of the town next to the motorway junction - there are about 6 in total. We chose to stay in the Premier Class - at the princely sum of £11 per person per night we got what we paid for - more prison cell than hotel bedroom (but none of the others were really any better!) I am not sure that they will ever have had anyone book in for 4 nights before!! There was one restaurant on site and a bowling alley and some out of town shops nearby, including a large supermarket, but it really was more service station that destination!!
Friday we caught a bus to the nearby town of Auxerre, a beautiful town on the banks of the River Yonne (really the Seine but when Burgandy was independent from the rest of France it was decided that the river flowing through the area couldn't possibly be the same as the one flowing through Paris so the name was changed to the Yonne). It is full of medieval half-timbered houses and large church complexes. Life in France is so different to the UK - the town had lots of small, individual shops (here in the UK most shops are chains), cafes and restaurants - for a town of 50000 people it had a lot of services! We wandered for most of the day, having coffee and croissants outdoors in one of the many cafes on the little squares, lunch in a typical restaurant and a drink overlooking the river! Boulangeries and patisseries filled the city with the smell of fresh bread and I felt so french to go and buy a fresh baguette and wander the streets eating as I went. The tourist office has created a trail which allows you to visit 67 of the most famous/spectacular buildings in the town - the cathedral, the Abbey of Saint-Germain, the steam houses, old homes and famous residences.