There wasn't any waiting and we just drove straight on, everyone smiling and waving us forward.
Once on the train, it was smooth, painless and – even better – an informative sign in the loo let us know we were getting the car across in the greenest way possible.
Thank you, Eurotunnel, for making it all so easy and keeping us green!
Sunday, 10 May 2015
|Peanuts growing in glass|
So off we sped, following the hotel's chef, David Royer, who cooks "95% bio", which translates as organic, as he bombed through the French countryside for the next 10 minutes.
We arrived at a little garden of Eden, all created from scratch four years ago by the bubbly, smiley Nicole. High points? The peanuts, growing down into a long glass container; the spiral herb and flower garden; the co-planting to keep pests at a minimum; and Nicole's enthusiasm that we sniff every leaf, taste every flower, smell every bloom.
I began to find myself trying to work out how to say, "Do you need an intern?" in French, because wouldn't it be wonderful to come work here and learn how to make such a perfect organic garden, that's all farmed by hand – "No machinery" – that not only tastes good but looks a picture too?
We left, finally, after stopping for tea in the little patio and being shown the dried flowers in jars she uses for enfusions. How, we wanted to know, does she stop the petals from turning brown? But sadly beyond our school French...
"Is your restaurant locovore?" Which usually means 30km.
"Smaller than that," David said.
Then, making a perfect circle, we went back to Les Orangeries for dinner at its restaurant, served in an impossibly pretty, stone-walled courtyard with the carriage door open to the little lane which runs behind and the golden evening sunlight. First course: salmon sprinkled with leaves and flowers from Nicole's Jardin des Possibles. Perfect.
So often when I've travelled, it's me who does all the arranging: beforehand, with all the organising, and during, with all the frontline interfacing with folks along the way. However, on this trip, I'm learning that being the plus-one is actually the best-placed person. You get all the joys with none of the stress. Note to self: do this again!
|Doorway of our room|
I'm the tag-along on a trip visiting and reviewing 'green' modes of Channel crossing and accommodation in France for greentraveller.co.uk.
So, first up, we took Brittany Ferries overnight service from Portsmouth, England, to Cherbourg, France. You get on at 10.45pm, find your cabin – which is neat as a pin and amazingly comfortable – sleep like a baby, then wake up in time for a cup of tea and croissant before arriving ready for the day. Perfect! No time wasted and there you are.
Our first destination on this jaunt is Les Orangeries, in Lussac-les-Châteaux, southwest of Poitiers. I think I'll let the pictures do the talking here, because it's so terribly pretty: all honey-coloured stone buildings that run into each other, the roadside frontage hiding the large, lush garden with al fresco dining, a pool, an orchard, lawns and paths behind.
|The garden with pool|
|Al fresco lunch|