I woke up early today because we’re taking our mini trip outside of Paris. I was very excited because we’ll be traveling around France!
So everything went well, nice ride, nice view, la la la…
Arrived in Tours
We have a car rental reservation with a company name ADA. It was a bit far from the train station but we thought it’s ok because we got a good deal (cheap). Clair & I did a mega research and planning for this 8 days trip. We chat everyday building our itinerary piece by piece.
We took a short bus ride at the station and then walked a few blocks, lugging our rolling bags, and finally found ADA office at Avenue Maginot.
But lo and behold, the office was closed! Peering through the garage, we can’t see any car parked. We tried calling their number but it was not in service. It was truly a WTF moment.
I took out the email confirmation which I had printed, to check that I had the correct information, as well as to show Claire that indeed I had a booking. Car rental is my responsibility.
Saved by Lonely Planet
Good thing Clair brought along a Lonely Planet France guide. We looked for other car rental company in the area and found Ecoto on the list. I know of Ecoto because they have the cheapest deal in Loire Valley. I emailed them to make a reservation but they never replied to me.
Fortunately though, they picked up the phone when we call them. But he was speaking in French and I was fumbling because I did not practice what I was going to say before.
But I understood the that he got a car available; that it is for 77euros (cheaper than ADA’s 84); and that the office closes at 12 noon. I checked my watch, it was 1130. 3o minutes should be enough since it’s a tiny town, but we still have to find their location. So I told him, almost crying:
S’il vous plait, vous doivent nous attendre. Nous sommes des Étrangers et nous sommes perdus!
“Please, you have to wait for us. We are foreigners and we are lost!” I practiced this statement thinking it can be handy. What do you know?
They were very nice and helpful. I’m going to be the only driver on this partnership because Clair can only drive automatic car and manual is cheaper, and multiplying it to 8 days is significant. Curiously, I presented my international driver’s license that I got specifically for this trip, but Ecoto asked for my Philippines driver’s license.
So at exactly 12 noon, we’re out of the Ecoto office with our car and map and we’re on our way to Mer, where our hotel, Le Clos is located.
Château de Blois
Blois is a small town but there are a lot of branded shops and nice restaurants. The most popular attraction of course is the Château de Blois.
It was 3pm so we rushed through our lunch in this nice petite café beside the château. The chateau closes at 6pm and we’re afraid that we won’t have enough time to explore it. The guide book says we should allow 2 to 3 hours per château. We must be some kind of superhero because we were able to see the whole place in just an hour!
This is the first château I’ve ever been to, so I’m so impressed! But a lot of the areas were closed so it’s easy to breeze through the 4 stories of the east wing, which is basically the only one open to public. I think people spent more time at the souvenir shop, hehe.
Oh well, I guess if you want to stay and watch the documentary they have, in the language you choose, you can easily spend over 2 hours in here. The interesting things you see in here are the crazy and lavishly decorated bedrooms of the royalty. They have elaborately patterned wall papers, ceilings, stained glass, heavy curtains, huge chimneys, and grand oil paintings by known artists of that time. My most favorite item in the château is the baby grand piano with intricate decoration. I love it and spend a lot of time taking picture of it.
After the souvenir shop, it was still early and we had to decide if we want to go back to our little town of nowhere, Mer, or stay. The guide book did say that there are some happening places in here and so we decided we will wait for it to happen. It being still 5pm, we decided to walk around the shops and got tea and cake at this nice little place.
We’ve been noticing that a lot of the eating places we go to only have 1 person working in there and so it usually takes a long time for them to notice us and get our orders. Of course the order also takes a while, but as it’s the case, we can also sit there forever.
At 7pm, we decided to go to the Velvet Jazz where it supposed to have live band playing every Thursday, according to our guide book that we now consider as best friend. We needed a few minutes to realize what day it is today. When we’re on holiday, we lost track and have no sense of time or date. We’re fortunate that it was Thursday and ordered a bottle of wine! This of course will also serve as our dinner, lol.
We had to do a lot of ordering and inquiring and getting instructions in French here in the province. I’m really quite happy for that because it’s some kind of validation of the 2 years I’ve been going to Alliance. Sometimes we get thrown off when they suddenly asked us something we do not expect, like if we order water and they want to know if we want them with ‘gaz’. We look at each other, ‘glace’? but it’s freezing!? Anyway, there never was a live band. We finished our wine and left for neverland.