Orleans to Serandon

A new day and the weather is still dull but after the trials and tribulations of the previous day we were hoping for a better run down to Serandon. We made sure we had a good, albeit continental, breakfast before heading out onto the road. I also took time out to take some photos, of the Loire river in its swollen state.

At the time of the taking, the Loire in Orleans, did not look as near to bursting its banks as the Seine, in Paris did.

This time there were no deviations en route, just some minor confusion at a fuel stop, Manzat I believe, where, to get to the parking you had to cut across the access to the fuel station. Most places have the fuel after the retail and parking areas.

Further down the road, we stopped near Prondines, to take some photos as we were passing through the Puy de Dome region.

On arrival at the village of Serandon it was time to put to test the paper instructions for finding the gite. As it happens they weren’t bad, and very soon we were introducing ourselves to Florence, our host.
After a tour of her very nice, she explained where the nearest supermarkets are and gave us her recommendation for the restaurant in the village.
Having unloaded the car we headed to the Intermarche at nearby Neuvic to stock up on essentials. Not that we were planning to eat in but given it was late on Saturday we felt it was prudent to get in some supplies. Well, Beer and Wine at least.
For this evening we ate in the Hotel De La Poste (aka Chez Lisa), apparently owned by a Brit who is also the chef. The food was good and the place is obviously very popular, with a constant turnover at the tables. The associated bar was getting very loud as we left.
On arrival back at the gite we were soon tucked up in bed. Bliss, knowing that we could take our time getting up in the morning and that we wouldn’t have to drive anywhere.

Calais To Orleans

View from Hotel de la Plage

We got up to find the winds had decreased but it was raining hard. The view out to sea was somewhat diminished due to fog.

Gerry had mentioned hearing a fog horn during the night.

We didn’t hang around for breakfast even though we had booked it. The overpowering smell of stale multi-cooked grease, noted during check in the evening before, had displaced any potential hunger pangs we might have had.

Feeling we had escaped a fate worse than death, we set off into deepest, darkest, France.

Brunch was had at La Croissanterie, near Charles Degaul Airport. We had hoped for a hot meal but it was either filled baguettes or hot dogs from the mobile eatery outside. Continuing our journey, all went well until we got to Paris. The weather had improved, well the rain had stopped, but it was generally dark and overcast.
We were making our way around the peripherique, which, for those who don’t know it, is always a bit of a challenge. Anyway we were making good progress when we saw signs indicating that we were going to be booted off our route.
No problemo thought I, having recently updated the satnag. It will know how to get us out via an alternative route.
Not so. It seems it was as confused as I was. After passing through the same tunnel for the third time and having to make some fairly dodgy turns, in very heavy traffic, I decided we had to force the satnag to recalculate without considering the peripherique.
Heading out towards Versailles, the satnag eventually got its act together and we were on our way again. This brief moment of madness had cost us approximately an hour due to the typically heavy parisien traffic.  At one time we were driving alongside the Seine. The water level was nearly at the same level as the road showing just how dire the situation is in the city at this time.
Eventually we found ourselves back on an autoroute, hoping to regain some of the lost time. Unfortunately, the satnag informed us that there was a twenty eight minute delay ahead on our route. We elected to find an alternative route and the satnag took us off the autoroute for Artenay. Once again we fell foul of road closures due to flooding. And once again the satnag had a hissy fit, even sending us into a forest, down a road quite clearly marked as a dead end. We passed houses being pumped out and even encountered a car up to its windscreen in flood waters. Resorting to good old fashioned paper maps, I managed to get us back on track. The time wasted meant we should have stayed on the autoroute and made do with the twenty eight minute delay.  Ce la vie.
At last we made it to Orleans. This was not according to plan, which had us being nearer to Bourges. But it wasn’t to be.
We set the satnag a new challenge. Find us a hotel. Unfortunately, Orleans has changed since we were last there, it is much, much busier and, although the satnag offered many possible hotels in the centre of town, there is nowhere to park. Not even room to double park for a short while and I don’t remember the trolley busses which have priority. We did see the “maid”, Joan of Arc, sat up on her horse and caught a glimpse of the cathedral.
We decided to head to the outskirts and try again. As we found ourselves alongside the Loire river, we struck lucky and spotted a hotel with parking outside. On investigation it transpired that they had a room and off road parking. The Escale Oceania

View from our room at Hotel Escale Oceania
Vin Rouge (Coteaux Languedoc) consumed at Le Barentin, Orleans

proved to be a very comfortable place to stay and, at €87 room and breakfast, good value. No restaurant on site for dinner, however, the concierge recommended a place just five minutes walk away.
Le Barentin has a nice atmosphere, friendly staff and, most important, good food. Gerry and I shared a bottle of red (Coteaux Languedoc)

but I also had a beer (Pelforth Brune). This ensured that we both slept well. Not even a Calais style gale was going to wake us.

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