Not long ago, I received a nice comment from someone I don’t personally know, but who reads, or had read, my blog. She said (paraphrase), “You write about your international travels without being arrogant.” That was a nice compliment and a good reminder in one, so I am treading on slightly thin ice with this post. You see, when we are on our way home from Tunis, we usually have to spend the first night in Paris and then catch the direct flight to Seattle the next day. It just turns out that the flight from Tunis to Paris doesn’t get us there in time to make the connection on the same day. Rather than stamp my feet about this perceived inconvenience, I have tried to embrace it. It is nice to be forced to spend a night in Paris now and then, and since we are in that position at this time in our lives, we have tried to find some favorites to enjoy for just one night. We don’t yet have “that restaurant” with the roast chicken to die for, like Diane Keaton’s Le Grand Colbert in Something’s Gotta Give, but we did discover a nice way to get around just checking into one of the hotels at Charles de Gaulle Airport to wait out our layover.
A year and a half ago, when we were concluding our grand winter driving trip through Western Europe, Allan and I discovered a B & B in a village only about 10 minutes away from the airport. The village is Mauregard, and it is a little agricultural community that is the living definition of a bedroom community. There is not one store or restaurant of any kind in this tiny town. There are just quaint, shuttered houses, the B & B, and a little family cemetery. As I said, everyone here is resting in one way or another. This area grows wheat, sugar beets, and rape seed, from which canola oil is milled. From within just one kilometer of the Paris Ring Road, the soil is famously fertile. In fact, Paris is situated where it is because of the soil, the river, and the ease of defense.
We like it here because Jerome, the proprietor, has renovated the former barn of this massive, 1,000-1,500 year old estate, which was a sugar beet mill, in an industrial/historical way. I think it is really comfortable and interesting, and we love being here. In summer, we can take a nice walk around the village and the multi-acre grounds. In the winter, we can sit by a cozy fire and meet some other interesting travelers. In the mornings, we are awakened by the church bell next door rather than a wake up call from reception. We feel like we’ve put our feet down in France, if only for an overnight. We do have to rent a cheap car to get here and to a neighboring village for dinner, but it ends up being equal in cost to staying at the airport hotel.
Here are a few photos. Jerome is just beginning a huge renovation, joining the original mill to this renovated barn that is now the B & B. It will ultimately have 31 rooms, a small wine bar, and some sort of shuttle to and from the airport, so keep this place in mind. He only works through booking.com, but it’s easy.