So now that I’m home, I’m ready to recap my adventure. Here is PART I of my list of superlatives from my experience in France:
BEST MOMENT (S):
It is hard to pin down a single best moment and the best I could do is come up with a tie. First of all is a moonlight cruise along the Seine. It obviously has all the elements of a best anything. You have moonlight shimmering on the water. You have a river running through the heart of the most beautiful city on Earth. You have a leisurely – if cold! – cruise that floats you past all the best sights in the City of Light. Pretty fine moment here (if not such a fine photo – sorry!)
The moment that ties with that one is much simpler, but it was just so perfect I had to include it:
Yes, this is a bowl of whipped cream… or rather it is crème Chantilly. The bowl of cream here was simply the finishing touch to the perfect day I spent in Chantilly wandering through the fabulous Château. This was one of those days I spent alone – but not lonely. It was an adventure because I got on a train from Amiens and headed to Chantilly with no clear idea of where I was going. But I found the Château which houses not only one of the finest art collections in France, but has a collection of rare illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages.
I also saw examples of the famous Chantilly Lace:
But the best part of the day was at the end of the tour. There was a restaurant where I tucked into a Croque Monsieur (I hadn’t eaten all day!) and when they offered dessert I went for the bowl of the famous Chantilly cream. I was sitting at a table by the window with a view of the sunset. I still had a long trip home by taxi, train, and bus, and I’d get home after dark, but none of that mattered. I decided to just live in the moment and savor every mouthful of the luscious cream. Whipped cream was “invented” here, and this was probably the ultimate bowl of whipped cream I’d ever eat (I couldn’t finish it though.) There was just something about that moment – it was perfect.
There were a few of those, but this one was definitely the worst. Heading to Metz with my family, we hauled our NINE pieces of luggage (I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not) up a flight of stairs, across the platforms, down a flight of stairs and onto the train. Got all the luggage stowed then collapsed into our seats. It was the evening of a LONG day of traveling. We had gotten a wrong connection at our last stop and had to spend a bouncy (nauseating!) hour on a bus going from the station in one town to another town to catch our train to Metz. Now we were finally on the last leg of our journey after a day spent hauling these bags on and off trains and buses. As we settled in our seats were heard the following announcement: “Attention, passengers, the train for Metz has been changed to Platform 2”. WHAAAT????
Yes, this was a “worst moment” because we had to get up, collect our NINE bags, haul them back up the stairs, across the platform, down the stairs and onto another train. We were three very unhappy campers at that point.
Happily, this was followed by a runner up “best moment” when we saw the view from our hotel room in Metz, overlooking the train station. Totally worth the trip.