I adore walking around small towns in France – the cobbled streets, the ever present gardens, the tiny shops selling interesting things – it’s just plain fun.
So the Intrepid Traveller and I decided to schedule our trip to Berlin so that we had almost a full day – plus a full night – in Roissey. It’s about 45 minutes by train from Paris – and seconds from Charles De Gaul Airport. Planes fly overhead morning, noon, and night – carrying people to and from just about everywhere in the world. In order to cater to their needs – Roissey en France grew from a tiny village occupied with farming to the Hotel packed destination it is today. But city planners have worked hard to keep the millions of tourists at bay.
The hotels that surround Roissey have clearly been zoned away from the traditional city center – you can see the ‘ring’ road on the map – and all modern development is prevented from corrupting the traditional city center.
The Roissey Department of Tourism has worked hard to make sure that visitors understand the age of the city – and there are wonderful old pictures – dating from 1905 and 1910 that show buildings that still exist – in all their former glory. We walked from huge plaque to huge plaque – identifying the pictured buildings – and admiring the elaborate dress of the country folk who posed so proudly next to their drug stores, post office, or the Marie. Even the original schools are still proudly in use – dating from before 1905. It’s easy to compare the pictures – with their stern looking teachers and stiff postured students – with the present buildings with their modern renovations.
Our wanderings included visits to the 2 local ‘depaneur’s’ or grocery stores. I needed a toothbrush, forgotten at home during the rush of last minute packing, and besides – these are fun to visit.
Tiny, cramped, with products stacked from the floor to the ceiling – they featured ‘Made in France’ products – a huge fridge full of French Cheeses – and an elaborate selection of French wine (starting price – 2 Euros or $2.65 Canadian). I loved the cookie isle, although fortunately the Intrepid Traveller was there to restrain me. You can’t eat what you don’t buy – so we settled on a fairly larger slice of Brie du Meaux and a Camenbert. We’ll visit the pastery store for bread tomorrow before flying out.
The wonderful thing about small towns in France are the attention paid to common spaces – and Roissey is filled with gardens that are supported by locals and open to the public. We toured the cemetary with it’s war memorial (Roissey was the site of much resistance fighting during World War I), checked out the local Sports facility – soccor field, Boules Courts (18 folks were playing in this area – without benefit of lines or boxes – how they kept from forgetting whose Boule was whose’s – I’ll never know), Play ground, Tennis field, Outdoor Swimming Pool, and community garden. The lilac’s were in bloom, the air fresh, and the walking lovely. Such a pleasure.
Naturally each hotel on the ring road made an effort to keep their clientele’s money safely in their hands – so each hotel offered a bar and a restaurant featuring pretty pedestrian fare – at very high prices. Not our thing – so we went looking for something more local. And not surprisingly – found plenty of options – running from outdoor pizza parlors to sushi and a surprisingly upscale place featuring foie gras and local game! We opted for the tiny, but charming Aux Trois Gourmounds.
Our Dinner at this local Creperie featured a jug of Red Cider (made from local Red Apples), a ‘dinner’ crepe stuffed with steamed potatoes, roasted onions, and lardons and served with a dollop of Creme Fresh, and dessert crepes – Nature with just Sugar. Oh it was delightful and in our price range – under 20 euro for 2.
Best of all – that night there was a free Schubert Festival – Piano, Full 50 people Choir, mini orchestra, Clarinet, etc. It was being held in the local Church d’Eloi – built in 1655 and a gem of that style even today, and we felt that was a must attend. It was delightful – particularly the Mass with a wonderfully full throated Soprano in the main role. Lovely. The church was packed – we suspect mostly friends and family of the performers. The effort was outstanding, the music delightful.
Tomorrow is a travel day – we need to get from Charles de Gaul to Orly – and from Orly to Berlin. Fortunately, both the hotel and the department of Tourism in Roissey agreed on the easiest way to do this.
Take the free shuttle back to Terminal 2E. Walk to Terminal 2F, exit 8. Find the correct bus stop – and board the Air France Airport Shuttle to Orly. Cost of the bus – 21 Euro per person. Travel time on the Bus 1 hour and 15 minutes. Piece of cake!
So up at 7:00 – Delicious breakfast (french croissants and all the coffee I could drink), then a quick walk to the village to buy bread and check out the 4 stall farmers market. There was a cheese truck with probably 100 different cheeses, a vegetable/fruit stand where we bought vine ripe Breton tomatoes that smelled of summer, a meat stand selling uncooked Chickens, Ducks and Foie Gras, and a Rotisserie Truck.
I found that truck the most interesting. There was a large rotisserie machine built into the truck – electric – with chicken’s roasting. In front was a display stand with the cooked chicken parts on sale. It really looked (and smelled) lovely.
Trip to Orly was uneventful, boarding Easy Jet almost boring in it’s predictablity – and now we’re on our way to Berlin.
Signing off for the landing at Schonnefield…. The Soup Lady and the Intrepid Traveller.