Day 11

We enjoy traveling without any preset plan and without any reservations. That way it feels a little more like wandering, and gives us the freedom to linger in a place, or leave it quickly, depending on how it suits us and without being required to be in a particular place at a specific time. Traveling that way has put us in an anxious spot a few times, but it’s also led us to some of our most memorable and interesting places we’ve been.

When I sketched out an itinerary for the driving part of our vacation, I had nothing on it after Colmar. I knew we needed to turn west, back towards Paris, but beyond that I had no idea where we should go. Looking through a guidebook in our hotel room, we decided to drive toward Langres, an ancient town in southern Champagne. That turned out to be an excellent decision and the day turned out to be one of the best of our trip.

Langres is a walled town, on a high hill overlooking beautiful countryside. Despite its beauty and charm, we seemed to be the only tourists there.

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We had the cathedral to ourselves.

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The streets were also quiet and uncrowded

We had lunch at a cafe in the town square, where I enjoyed my first moule frites of the trip.

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M. Diderot overlooked the restaurant

Unsure if we should stay the night in Langres, or press on, Cherie looked to see if there were any Airbnb options in the area. She found a place not far away that looked interesting and booked it with her phone. That turned out to be a great decision.

Our room was in a chateau in the tiny village of Arc-en-Barrois. It was probably the most beautiful place we stayed during the trip. It was also the least expensive.

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Our chateau

We had the place almost entirely to ourselves. There were two other couples there but we only saw them briefly.

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The dining room seemed a little larger than necessary

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There was a beautiful old church right outside our window. Its bells called the faithful at 7 a.m., loudly enough to wake the dead. Fortunately for us we’re morning people.

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The village was also quiet and peaceful. Our kind of place.

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Every village has a memorial to those who died in WWI.

We ended the day reading quietly and enjoying a bottle of wine, one of the highlights of our trip.

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It was a wonderful day–one I expect we’ll never forget.

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