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The one thing I really do appreciate our travel agent suggesting was taking a really decadent few nights in a chateau “somewhere”. When she first suggested it, I thought I would really want to pack up and move hotels so much but the photos she showed us of Chateau d’Esclimont, I was kinda sold. And in the end, it worked out really well to do a few nights in Montmartre, stay in the chateau for a few nights and then come back and stay in a completely different part of Paris. It meant we saw a lot more, I think.

The problem was, she didn’t actually organise us a way to get there and back. And the chateau was an hour out of Paris and we were booked in there from New Year’s Day. That as a bit interesting. We decided against taking three different trains with all our luggage etc and got a car to drive us there and a taxi back at the end. Neither of us were confident enough to hire a car for that part of the holiday so I’m not sure how much I would recommend it. The plan was to head down there, spend one day out and about on the grounds and in the town, one day at Versailles and one day at Chartres. But both Chartres and Versailles were not exactly close and there was not a way to get anyway from the chateau other than taking a 15 minute taxi ride to the train station and then taking the train to places. I think Versailles was an hour train ride, from memory.

Still. After we finally got ourselves organised out of Paris and arrived, here was the view:

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And the front:


Our room was the top right hand window. The grounds were gorgeous to wander around in, beautiful manicured topiaries and other more wild woods and lots of other buildings – quarters and I think little cottages for family stays. And a pool, a helicopter pad and tennis court but were closed for the season. It was pretty cold and we headed back inside after a quick sticky beak.

Our room. Or rooms? Chamber?
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And this was the stunning view from the window facing the bed:


It was a very fancy hotel. We almost didn’t see any of the other patrons. The restaurant was very fancy in one of the rooms downstairs and the food very French, meaning I had a green salad and C tried all kinds of meats that I would never ever eat. I found French food (when I could eat it) very rich and I progressively ate less and less over the holiday. We were limited by food options as there was not really anywhere to go other than the hotel restaurant.

We made it to Versailles on the second day (the first of our proper stay) by accident as when C was inquiring how to get there, they booked him a taxi to come get us so we ended up doing it a day early. Evidence we were there (and Galactic Suburbia in the Hall of Mirrors)

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But, and you know there is a but coming. Versailles was a gorgeous walk from the train station. But it was an hour ride there and back and then hanging around to get a cab back to the hotel (pretty sure we had to call someone who was at home making dinner for her kids and then she popped out to give us a lift back to the hotel). And it was cold. And we stood I don’t know, an hour? Two hours? waiting in the line out the front before we actually went in to the grounds. We wandered around. I yet again lost enthusiasm well before I managed to see everything. We did a bit of the Marie Antoinette stuff – and took the little train thing around the grounds. And we had a delightful lunch. But. I started to get a cold shortly after the photo above and by the time we headed back it was pretty much evident I was sick. I’m not sure if it was all the standing outside in the cold or if the jetlag combined with all the wedding stuff that finally ended up in the usual burnout cold thing. I got a bit miserable.

And really, you book yourself the kind of holiday staying in the middle of nowhere, with almost no internet (no wifi but they had a cable that we had to share), nothing much to do, in order to just spend time with each other and chill the hell out. So that’s what we decided to do for the rest of our stay here. We did a bit of a food shop in Versailles at a supermarket and that kept us in snacks and a few light meals. We ordered room service a bit. I took to my bed in a very Jane Bennett fashion, with that glorious view and the whole series of The Closer on DVDs to watch and I finished knitting these two scarves and it as utterly relaxing and divine. We just hung out and it was really great.
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The cowl on the left is the Sartorial Cowl made from Blue Moon Fibre Arts De-Vine in the colourway Kraken.  The scarf on the right is the Barbara Cowl made from a prized skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk which I bought in Toronto when I was there for World Fantasy Con at Lettuce Knits which Jonathan very kindly schlepped to with me.

Final picture of the view from breakfast:


If you have to be somewhere feeling miserable with a cold, it really was a good option :)

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