We packed everything up pretty much last night, so this morning was the last minute bags and final journey bits and bobs. On the road for 8:30am, we took the lead as we headed back up to Reims, through the lovely sweeping roads that see places like Joux-la-Ville, Sainte-Vertu and Yrourre. Barely touching the outskirts of Tonnerre, carrying on to Chaource, a barely worth it stretch on the A5 motorway and onwards north on the A26 to Reims.
Once on the motorway I relax; this is the best bit about travelling long distances in France. The behaviour and etiquette on French motorways is some of the best I’ve seen, in my admittedly little experience of European driving. Three lanes is the standard and people act properly, with lorries on the outside and crazy speeders on the inside. The middle is the sort of safe-zone for overtaking and generally keeping out everyone’s way. Anyone that is approaching a car that looks like it’s about to overtake a lorry will put the foot down to make sure they don’t box that person in; something that makes my blood boil in the UK. It’s not long before we’ve arrived at a quick toilet stop. As soon as I open my door I know there’s a fast jet above, so I clumsily get myself half out the car to see it’s 2 Eurofighter Typhoons in a low-level flypast. Amazing. Toilets were holes in the ground; not so amazing.
Before long we are in Reims and flying around the Leclerc, which is a belter at the size of at least 2 football pitches. We had time to spare but we were all rushing for some reason, perhaps excited at the prospect of getting home. Travelling long distances in cars is always a struggle, but it’s a bit more taxing with a small child in tow.
Back on the road, it wasn’t long before we got ourselves up to Calais and into the Eurotunnel holding place, where we disembarked for a bit of leg stretch, dinner and a walk around the duty free shop. It is basically a one-stop shop for cheap plonk and is obviously geared towards people hopping over and back again, as most of it was the very bargain wine and spirits. Some nice stuff there and loads of perfumes etc, as well as some more opulent wares like foie gras and caviar. We had a nice pizza from the only café in the place, which took a bit of time due to dittering people in front, much to the chagrin of the poor person serving the food. A comedy eye roll or two shared between us was good though, and we soon had two decent pizzas to get through. Grandma went to Burger King for some chips but after 10 minutes hadn’t moved in the queue so cut her losses and done without. Soon we were called to our cars and in what seemed like seconds, boarded on the Chunnel and off to the sunny shores of the United Kingdom.
The weather had already turned in France and we arrived to more rain in the UK, but we knew we were just up the road to our B&B so didn’t really mind. I was looking forward to a decent sleep in cooler climes and made quick work of getting into bed early and watched John Wick 2. Didn’t make it all the way through and was off to sleep for what I hoped was a long time. Tomorrow is the long stretch and we’re hoping for a good run. We’re so used to the fast French motorways that the reality of UK roadworks and etiquette will no doubt be a shock to the system.