We arrived to La Gare du Nord as planned at 10h20 AM despite ongoing general strikes.The ride on the Eurostar was quiet and I had a nap, while our son was plying on Internet, and exited to have it on the train. The total time in tunnel is 10-20 minutes. The seats were comfortable.
On arrival I have located the Relay store. They sold all sorts of SIM cards and had both Lycamobile and Lebara. I have purchased a Lebara card which had about 6E of air time. I could activate it later by registering online from an aire de repos on the freeway.
We then walked to the taxi stand. The line was quite long and moving slowly. Our car reservation was for 11h30 and I started to be nervous. A guy on a motorcycle asked if we were interested by a quick ride, but with all our luggage and kid this would have been impossible.
We finally got a taxi, and he drove us to Place d'Italie to our car rental at Europcar. The driver told us we were really lucky as we past the Seine, as the strikes were in preparation and 30 minutes later they would have closed streets. Europcar office was empty and we received the keys for our Kia car. We then walked through the shopping center to the parking, but everyone was stopped to pass security and we were asked to open our bags and suitcases.
Eventually we got to our car which was unimpressive, but functional. we couldn't find the SD card and there was an alarm. after thorough inspection of the car and returning to report missing or damaged parts we finally took of to the Loire. Our next stop was Bracieux close to Chambord Castle and with Michelin starred restaurants.
We dropped our bags at the hotel and drove to a small supermarket for water, wine and nibbles. Then after leaving our bags at our room at L'oree du Chateau, we drove to Chambord which was in renovations, so we didn't want to stay, as we visited a few years back. The road to the castle is simply spectacular, and looks magical. We parked our car at the hotel and walked about 500m to the Relais d'Artemis, of which we had very good souvenirs. The weather being nice we were seated in the gardens. The garden was full, and we enjoyed a very pleasant and delicious meal with local Sancerre wine.
A salad for our son and rillettes de saumon for us, delicious.
Followed by Aiguillettes de poulet for our son,
Bavette a l'echalotte for me, and
Lomo de cerdo for my husband, delicious.
A chocolate mousse cake simply divine for us.
The hotel receptionist walked us to our room, which was nice. he also offered if we were tired to make us sandwiches and he had drinks. Our hotel didn't have air conditioning, but the room was big and on the pond. Mosquitoes were bad, but we had a fan, but there are no windows screens no where in Europe although there are mosquitoes. Not sure why, but it would have helped in many European destinations. We brought our coils and Muskol and slept with open windows. The air was really humid, but then it started raining and we could have a good sleep.