Saturday, 23 July 2016

Where to Wait at a Station

We have written before about the proceedure for stamping your ticket before you board a train, now it is time to look at where to wait on the platform.

If you are catching a train at a terminus station (Gare du Nord, Paris Montparnasse) you wait until the train and platform is announced - usually about 20 minutes before departure - and then you walk the length of the train until you reach your carriage (voiture, or car).

 This ticket is for seats 43 and 44 in carriage 20

 If you are catching your train at an intermediate station, go to the platform once the train is announced, then find the " Composition des trains" board. This will show the train carriages and where they are stopping at the station.

The ticket above shows voiture 20, so you look for that number on the board and see that it corresponds with the letter G. All you have to do now is locate the Letter G on the platform - it will be on a board hanging from the edge of the canopy - and stand there. Almost magically, when the train stops the door to your carriage should be immediately by the sign.

If you want to combine a day of 186mph in a fast train with 55mph in a classic car, email us and we can start planning your trip to experience the treasures of the Loire Valley.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Old Loire Vintage Wine

We like to include a winemaker in our tours. It rounds off the day nicely and winemaking is an important part of the culture here. One of the wineries we visit specialise in old vintages from the area. A tasting with them gives you the opportunity to sample wines from the last few years, which you can lay down in your own cellar, or you can benefit from the perfect cellaring conditions in a Loire Valley troglodyte cave and buy something from the 1980s, 1970s or 1950s. Only the finest quality Vouvrays, Montlouis, Chinons and Bourgueils are kept this length of time and it is fascinating to experience how different they are from the younger vintages.

A happy client with a bottle of 1959 Vouvray he has just selected.

The operation is so small scale they do not own a labelling machine and all the bottles are labelled by hand. You will be guided through the tasting with tips on what to expect from each of the wine, how to taste like a professional and shown the difference taking the wine with food can make.

If you would like to learn more about the wines of the Loire Valley, email us and let us know. We would be delighted to include a visit to a specialist wine cellar in your tour.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Looking after the Grandes Dames

When we chose the Citroën Traction Avant as the car we would use on our tours we knew that we would have to be extra careful about maintenance.

As anyone who has owned old cars will tell you, unlike modern cars they need regular greasing and oil changes - 600 miles between greasing, and 3000 miles between oil changes. They also develop squeaks and rattles that need tracking down and fixing, and quirky little problems often occur.

 Célestine and Claudette receiving their winter maintenance.

We are lucky, because where we live there are trained mechanics who did their apprenticeships on the Traction Avant, enthusiasts who retired from their regular jobs to spend all day fixing classic cars, garages that specialise in car restoration, and young mechanics who can repair anything from a lawnmower to a Group B rally car.

This means that although our cars are not museum pieces, they are in tip-top working condition.