Charente: Day 1

Posting has been light the past several days because of a weekend trip to the Charente region of France. I left my laptop in Paris, knowing I wouldn’t have much time to use it anyway.

I woke up at the ungodly hour of 6AM Friday morning for a 9:30 train. The train station is a 15 minutes metro ride from my house, but I wanted to leave plenty of time to finish packing and grab coffee. The train ride there was pleasant. The entire Stanford program sat in the same car. Instead of homework, we spent most of the time conversing.

Our first stop was lunch. It certainly wasn’t Paris.

The food was very good. I found I rather like Charente cuisine.

Our next stop was Abbaye Saint-Amant de Boixe, which is a beautiful Romanesque abbey. Monks have not lived there since the French revolution, but it is well kept and open to tourists.

The cloisters are not intact, but the setting was beautiful anyway.

After the abbey, we departed for Cognac, where we stayed for the weekend. Our hotel, Hotel Le Valois, was basic but nice. They had a lovely continental breakfast in the morning. I may or may not have eaten the equivalent of an entire baguette each morning.

The city of Cognac counts the manufacturing of cognac and related tourism as its major industry. After checking into the hotel, we set off to find dinner. The woman at the reception desk told us that the main square was only a block away. We indeed found the main square. On a Friday night, it was practically empty. The only other people we came across were some teenagers breakdancing. Every store and half the restaurants were closed. We eventually went into a clearly family-oriented creperie a couple storefronts down from the hotel. Late January is not exactly the height of tourist season. Il était tout vide. 

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