20 July 2010

From Paris to Picardy in a Kangoo

What a day today! I got up at 4:30 a.m., just because I couldn't sleep any longer. I was at CHM's apartment in Paris. I had breakfast — tea and a couple of biscottes — and checked my e-mail and blog comments. I posted something I had written the previous evening about the "troubles" in Saint-Aignan (more about that later). Then at 6:40 a.m. I left CHM's place and walked 15 minutes to the train station where I had reserved a rental car.

The agency opened at 7:00, and they did exactly that: at 7:00, I was waiting out front and saw the lights come on. The door was unlocked. I walked in, handed over the reservation confirmation, my passport, and my credit card, and 15 minutes later I was out the door. It took me a while to find my way out and down to the parking garage where the Renault Kangoo was parked, but I finally found the vehicle and was on my way out onto the streets of Paris by 7:30. I got lost for a second, but a minute later I had found my way again and was back at CHM's by 7:45. Paris traffic was still pretty light.

The church in Fresnoy-la-Rivière, north of Crépy-en-Valois

I pulled the car into the courtyard of his building and we started loading it up. More about the contents later, but let me say it was a lot of stuff. We were taking it to a town about 100 miles north of Paris — in the area where CHM's family came from and where his father had a house built some 75 years ago. After we were all loaded up, we headed out. I decided to drive up the Champs-Elysées over to the Porte Maillot to get to the Boulevard Périphérique, and that was probably a mistake. There was a lot of traffic, and road work all along the way was slowing things down.

The village church in Rancourt, north of Péronne

Fact is, by 9:30 we were on the A1 autoroute, driving past CDG airport and on our way to Picardy. We stopped first to see a very old church in the village of Morienval (more later), and then went into the small city of Compiègne for lunch. We drove on to see the 11th-century cathedral at Noyon (birthplace of John Calvin) and then on to the town of Saint-Quentin, where I also had never been before.

A German military cemetery in the village of Rancourt

Now we are in Picardy near the town called Péronne, and in the middle of many of the major WWI battlefields. We saw British, French, and German military cemeteries this afternoon. I've never been up here before, and I have to say it is beautiful. The fine hot weather doesn't hurt.

I don't really have time to blog, but I'll tell you I took 350 pictures today. I'm having a lot of trouble trying to process them on the laptop I brought along on the trip. One day soon I'll be able to post some of them. It's just after 10:00 p.m. as I write this and I need to get some sleep.


  1. Ken, You're practically on my doorstep!:) Less than 200 km from it, in fact! Pity you and Chm don't have the time to pop over to Brussels. It's our Fête Nationale tomorrow and there is a lot going on.

  2. I'm already enjoying your trip since you are going to places I've never been. Those war cemeteries are the worst kind of sad to me. I wouldn't be here if my Dad hadn't made it home from WWI.

    Tell CHM that my father and Grandfather were both born in the 1800s. My Dad in 1898 and my grandfather around 1847.

    I'm glad the car rental was easy. Don't forget to take a photo of the Kangoo for us;) Bonne route!

  3. I always love learning little facts here and there from your posts. Enjoy!

  4. Oh, forgot to say how very cool to see the town where Calvin was born! He shook the world up pretty good! His ideas sent lots of pilgrims to the New World.

  5. Evelyn, that's the Kangoo parked in front of the church in my picture of the church, with CHM crossing the street.

  6. You're certainly getting to see some fantastic scenery.

  7. The kangoo looks nice and fairly large. I hope you got some good shut eye...

  8. For me your blog is one of the best. I am a big fan of your blog. I always learn a lot of things in your post. I enjoy reading your post.


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