Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Best holiday EVER with HomeAway.co.uk

I'm having a poorly day today, resting at home after a very hectic week and a 12 hour drive on Saturday. Last week we were lucky enough to spend a week in my most favourite part of France - Champagne. It really is a little visited place and I don't really know why - it's dead handy for Disney (more on that later), only three hours from Calais and best of all, you can get cheap champagne direct from the "maison"! We left last Friday after both working a full day and arrived at our hotel in Ashford around 11pm. Only problem was that we had booked the wrong premier inn, which involved another five mile drive, which at 11pm with two small children feels more like 500 miles.

The next morning after what felt like two seconds sleep, we took the chunnel to France - it was really quick and easy but doesn't really allow you a rest from your car unlike the ferry, or the chance to eat anything! As bargainmummy, I was interested to see quite a few cool shops in the terminal building including a Pandora shop, though it was ridiculously busy so I didn't go into any of them :(

We drove in a hailstorm to Dormans, Champagne and nearly came a cropper on the motorway when the car in front of us did a 360 degree turn right in front of our car. It was a pretty hairy moment and not one I wish to repeat anytime soon. We had really reduced our speed owing to the conditions but it seemed that no-one else was concerned about dying on the roads, certainly not the driver who nearly killed us by whizzing past at 90mph before he lost control. Thanks pal.

We arrived in Dormans late afternoon and were immediately welcomed by the lovely owner Isabelle. From the outside, La Maison du Clos Rigaux (I still have no idea what that means, anyone!) didn't look like much, but as soon as we opened the gate to the back garden, we were ushered into another world of good taste, shabby chic interiors and general loveliness. In fact when we arrived home on Saturday I felt ASHAMED of our house and how functional it is - nothing is lovely at all.

After our long drive, we were pretty pleased to be presented with a bottle of champagne to welcome us to the region, made by the owner's son - it was called Bertin and was beautiful.

Here are some pictures of the house, it really was like staying in a 5* hotel, the smell of lavender pervaded, it had its own TOWEL ROOM with neatly folded fluffy white towels. I would like to take lessons in how to make up a bed the way Isabelle does - so many layers, all lovely, cosy and warm.
Lovely Bedroom!

World's most tasteful lounge
Little haven of peace and quiet

One of the things that I loved about the house was the presence of a piano. Before I left home I played piano every single day of my life. It was my sanctuary from stress and something I really enjoyed tinkering on and playing Andrew Lloyd Webber ballads (I am not ashamed to admit that).
It was great to see my son immediately drawn to the piano and he seemed to naturally understand how it worked -musical genes you see!
Piano man
The day after we arrived, we took the train to Paris with my oldest son. On the website, it says "train station 20m" which I took to mean meant 20 minutes drive. However it actually meant 20 metres! So we were easily able to walk to the station and catch the train. I'll write a post about Paris some other time as all the photos are on my husband's phone.

I have to admit that a lot of the activity undertaken that week involved tasting champers. We went on the Mercier tour with our boys which meant going on a little train and doing a tour of the caves followed by a well earned tasting! However I'm not actually very keen on Mercier champagne so we had a drive up to the village that makes Dom Perignon champagne (Hautvillers) and proceeded to buy up most of their stocks for this year, not in Dom Pom itself but some of the lesser known maisons whose grapes are grown on the same ground as the Dom Pom ones. We found ourselves paying between 14 and 17 euros for brut champagne, slightly more for the rose and vintage ones, but still much much cheaper than the UK.   We also visited Moet & Chandon which was lovely, I have come to the conclusion that to work in one of these places it is a requirement that you have long legs and blonde hair.
A good day
My head has started pounding again, so I'm going to leave it there for today, I'll fill you in about our day from hell at Disney in a few days....arggh!


  1. The drive sounds a bit of a trial , but I hope it was all worth it in the end! Nothing is ever simple with kids in tow is it!? Xx

    1. It was worth it, just wish we weren't so far up north, everywhere is FAR! Except Scotland, except that's far too as it's four hours, where is near?!


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