Upon leaving Metz, we decided that, instead of going southwest toward our next stop, we would go north, and even back east a bit, to visit the recently restored Château de Malbrouck. I particularly enjoyed the workshops and explanations of how the restoration was done, and as an added bonus, throughout the château and grounds were works by the French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle (no photos allowed).
We also, stupidly, decided to continue west along the border and then zip up north to the border town of Givet. It was very cute and I’d love to spend a few days there; unfortunately, we still had several hours to drive to our lodging for the night, in Épernay. So we spent most of the day driving and arrived exhausted and cranky.
But we were able to recover the next day, which was pretty much bliss: we had a picnic in Epernay and then did a terrific champagne dégustation during which we shared most of a bottle with the propriétaire while trading travel stories for an hour. We would have stayed longer, but we had to run because we’d reserved places on the canal cruise. That was lovely, and then we spent the evening chatting with 2 Swedish couples in our chambre d’hôtes.
– – – – –