Italian Road Trip: Oxfordshire to Piedmont
(Day 1 - Chalons, France)
Follow Poochtravellers Boris (lab) & Marmite (border terrier) on their first European road-trip to holiday in the beautiful Italian region of Piedmont.
Boris, our 8 year old Labrador and Marmite our 5 year old, Border Terrier knew something was going to happen when they saw bags being packed and the car being prepped. Nothing, however, could prepare them for the adventure ahead.
Leaving a sunny Oxfordshire, early one Wednesday morning, we headed to Folkestone to catch our Channel Tunnel to France. We had closely followed Poochtraveller's advice on how best to prepare all the paperwork necessary and knew what to expect.
To say it went smoothly would be an understatement. Arriving at the terminal, we were directed to the Pet Centre where we had to scan Boris and Marmite to find their chips. Couple of stamps and we were on our way. It all happened so quickly, we managed to get an earlier train! It should be noted that we are not travelling in school holidays; things are much quieter. We could imagine it being very busy in peak season so build in time!
First stop; Chalons en Champagne - Hotel Jardin le Pasteur
From Calais, we headed for our first stop, Chalons en Champagne. Utilising the “aires” on the motorways, these are far superior motorway stops compared to the UK. With great picnic areas, grassy areas and toilet facilities, if your pooch needs to stop and stretch their legs, you won’t go wrong with an aire.
The journey to Chalons took about 3 hours 45 minutes and we arrived at our doggy friendly hotel; Hotel Jardin le Pasteur. Set within a private courtyard, you can reserve parking on site for 16€. There are a variety of room options, all of them dog friendly but for one night we chose a Classic Double Room. Dogs are additional cost on top of the room charge. For our two, it was €15 each.
To make life easier for us, the hotel gave us a ground floor room, straight off the car park. The room wasn’t massive but very clean, modern with all the amenities one might expect including tea making facilities, and safe. The staff are super dog friendly and even asked where they were when I checked in! There are water bowls dotted all over and free poo bags too.
France is a very dog friendly country. They are often welcome into shops and restaurants (bar supermarkets) but like the UK, always ask rather than presume. Chalons is a beautiful town, with lots of timber-framed facades and its many religious buildings.
Dog Walk - Jard Park
For us, right in the heart of the city, the Jard park was perfect for walking the dogs It is composed of three gardens, and is a lovely green space to wander around. The Petit Jard, a landscaped garden; the Grand Jard, a French-style formal garden; and the Jard Anglais, situated on the banks of the canal, was perfect to see something of normal life in Chalons but also get some great views of the cathedral.
Dinner next door; Restaurant Le Petit Pasteur
For dinner, we went to the restaurant directly next to the hotel. This came highly recommended on trip advisor and was called Restaurant Le Petit Pasteur. This is a very busy, small bistro so make sure to book. With two set menus from 32€ for three courses, the food was excellent.
I had emailed them ahead (thanks Google Translate) and explained we would have two dogs with us. Happy to accommodate us on their spacious terrace, I don’t know if they will take dogs in the winter, so definitely worth checking. The hotel is also happy to help recommend restaurants too.
Breakfast at the hotel the next morning was a well stocked continental breakfast, all self serve. Dogs are welcome in the dining room and it’s a lovely sunny setting, very quiet with no road noise to disturb the peace.
This is actually our second stay at the Hotel; we can’t recommend it highly enough and perfect place for a stop over to the rest of France.
For us, however, we are crossing the border and headed to Switzerland! Keep you posted!
Helene, Nick, Boris & Marmite
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