Moving onward.

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From Paris we headed west, and decided to revisit La Rochelle,  on the Atlantic Coast of France. It’s famous for the seafood and lovely to walk along to port, people watching and seeing the restaurants huming with people at the weekends eating the massive and incredibly expensive platters of seafood.  We treated ourselves to a traditional moules and frites in a cream sauce – our favourite.

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We stayed in a  town centre car park aire in La Rochelle, which has space for 24 vans and is always usually full. We met Mutleys twin brother while we were there, very very strange to see two of him.  The other dog was slightly longer haired, looking like muppet in the winter, but the same height and coat. They got on well, and had it been a girl I would have been tempted to snaffle her!

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The weather this trip has bee very changeable, with a fair amount of rain as well. So watching the forecast we decided to head further south towards the Dordogne where my next concentration of vide greniers could be based and the weekend was promised to be a good dry one.
The vides greniers that I look for are usually the bigger ones, and I use a couple of french websites videgreniers.org and brocabrac.com  to see them out, searching either by a town, or department. The process takes me quite a while as I then filter out the big ones and plot them on the map to work out our route for the day. I found one which was set in a beautiful setting of an old domaine, now slightly derelict, but it made an amazing backdrop for the stalls. I think I now have quite a few kilos of bling that should last me a while.

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We stopped at a few places along the way south,  including Cardaillac,  tiny village with lovely views over the area from a high tower, which we climbed, only for me to find out my leg muscles really don’t like stairs anymore, and I could hardly walk for the next few days after climbing the umpteen stories to the top of the tower in the spiral staircase!

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We stopped just outside of Figeac, on the river, which proved beautiful at sunset with the autumnal colours on the trees.

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Then we moved south to a tiny village aire of Lunas,  before we got to Albi where the Bishops palace has beautiful gardens.

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A romantic weekend in Paris!

With the weather forecast boding well for the weekend, My wonderful husbee suggested a weekend break in Paris,  which meant lots of vide greniers as well.  The last time we visited was a couple of years back, when we went to the motorhome show there, staying north west of the city, first on a campsite for one night,  then at the show itself, as it’s only 5€ to park the van there, and then a really easy scoot into the city.
This time we stayed on the south eastern side, at a site that takes our ACSI card (which enables cheap camping for a van, 2 people,  a dog and electricity of a maximum of 18€ a night – bargain price for being 25minutes out of the centre, this site was only 16€ per night). We ended up staying 5 nights, as we had a great time. 
The Sunday was lost in a blur of about 10 vide greniers around the city, and I bought some wonderful pieces of bling for my baglets. My long suffering husband chauffered me around on our trusty scooter, while I collected my stash – I think what we are consuming  in beer and wine I am more than putting back into the van weight wise in bling!

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Once the business side of the visit was complete we concentrated on the beauty of the city, fed the numerous ducks in one of the fabulous parks to the east of the city, and exploring the Latin Quarter by the Seine.
There’s a very old and gothic cemetery where Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are buried, to the north east of the centre. It’s an amazing place, with huge old family tombs a covered in moss, all haphazard in design and creating the most atmospheric grave yard I’ve ever seen. With the sun  out and the trees providing shade and lots of dappling light it was very emotive walking around.

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We tracked down a delicious Kurdish kebab shop, four days on TripAdvisor, and joined the queue to taste their delightful chicken kebab. This isn’t your average kebab which looks like a huge sausage then carved off, but marinaded skewers of chicken fillet, cooked over charcoal, while the flat bread is cooked in front of you, rolled out and popped into the oven only to reappear minutes later, bloated withe air and cooked to perfection, light and airy. The cook then pops some tzatiki style sauce on it, some salad, including our favourite coriander, 4 big skewers of the charcoal cooked chicken,and then dusts it with seasoning – I think Sumac, slightly lemony in flavour. The queue was about 10 deep when we got there, and the team worked really well together, with kebabs flying out with each order. We chose  chicken but the also had vegetarian options, and lamb.  At 7€ it wasn’t cheap,  but certainly very tasty and I would go back.

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I can commend watching the beautiful architecture of Notre Dame in the light of the sunset, and just sitting on the steps of Mont Matre people watching, trying to spot the pick pocketers out of the tourists, and being amazed that people still fall for the 3 boxes and one pea conman trick. We also found great pleasure in the immense space by the pyramid at the Louvre, saving going in for another visit.

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One area I wanted to explore was Chinatown – found by a Google search, and we were instantly transported to the Far East. Loads of restaurants witb the crispy peking duck hanging in the windows, and numerous supermarkets selling all manner of ingredients and fesh products that to my shame I have no idea what some were. We did stock up on some things including a great chinese dry mix for Char Sui pork, the bright red pork – I discovered it on our last french trip, and have bought loads more as it’s really tasty.

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It’s a really lovely city, although like any big place some parts leave a lot too be desired, but it’s great trying to get under the skin of it all.  We weren’t all blessed in Paris tho, as our lock for the scooter  broke, so we had to pop into the weird jumble of the Leroy Merlin store opposite the Pompidou centre. On entering the shop, they ask what you’re looking for, then tell you to follow a certain colour line on the floor and it leads you down escalators, up steps, round corners in a store that is like a tardis inside. A 10 minute walk later and you find the padlocks, and have to follow the line back again to pay and get out.

So, where are we now?

Well, I did this whole post, and had issues uploading it, with photos of our fun, and it’s gone, so I’ll just have to re do it, but this time in stages as I don’t want to risk loosing it when uploading it with the photos again.
Are you sitting comfortably?

OK, We had planned a usual weekend with markets and car bootsales,  but Germany for some reason seems more flea market crossed with antiques than our usual choice of second hand goods, not to mention the prices that people wanted for items as well, when I buy my bling for my baglets I have a budget in mind,  and can’t afford to increase it. So when we pulled up at what had promised to be quite a big car boot sale on one Saturday to find about 10 stalls, full of total rubbish I would be ashamed to put in the charity shop, we decided enough was enough.
Amazingly we found internet there, and searched where the best vides where in France within a days drive from where we were, and then set the route in plan. Bruce drove for about 4 hours, in actually terrible weather, and we went back to Metz in France where the were a few large vide greniers going on the following day. We were lucky enough to get a parking spot in the car park and had great fun trundling around  the vides in the morning.

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We also had more time to explore Metz,  and loved the floral displays they had near the river.

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From Metz we moved on to Nancy,  chasing weather as well,  as the autumnal late summer just wasn’t really happening. At Nancy we parked on the canal side which at a price of 13€ a night including electric hook up, and right in the city centre, within walking distance of the main sites.

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So Nancy was our very cultural stop. We walked around the lovely Parc de la pepiniere, and marvelled at the very ornate Stanislas square with gilt decorating anything they could find. We also discovered a very good deal for the museums,  a ticket for all 6 was only 10 euros each,  saving quite a bit of money as it was around 4€ or 6€ to get into each. So we did as many as we could, getting in 5 of the 6, to get our monies worth! We went to the Museum of fine arts, where Bruce met a Picasso, and I found an extraordinary artist in Emile Friant.

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Our favourite was the Museum of the Nancy school, a house full of beautiful art nouveau sculptures and furniture. We also visited  the Aquarium, and one for the history of iron, and the Museum for the region of Lorraine,  our least favourite.