In September, Dan and I went on a road trip around Northern and central France. In my previous posts, I talked about our visits to Lille, and Roubaix. Arras and Pierrefonds were our next destinations.
Having booked a few nights at a rural chateau quite far south of Lille, we planned for our next overnight stay to be in Compiegne. Finding that Arras was on the way when we planned our route, we chose to stop off there to stretch our legs a little.
We wandered around the cobbled Place des Heros and Grand Place squares, taking in the French architecture and browsing the market stalls set up all around the town. Due to the big market taking place that day, Arras was a hive of activity.
The town hall and belfry really stood out on the square. You can walk up to the top of the belfry for a view of the town. However, the town was getting so busy and we were eager to get back on the road, so we chose to head towards our next destination.
When planning our road trip, I had discovered that Pierrefonds was located not too far away from Compiegne. It looked like a good place to look around with a chateau and lake to walk around. After checking in to our hotel, located on the outskirts of Compiegne, we were back on the road again.
As soon as we neared Pierrefonds, we spotted the impressive chateau, and we couldn’t wait to get closer to such an enchanting building. Pierrefonds proved to be very busy, so when we finally found somewhere to park the car, we made our way up the hill towards the chateau.
I find that old buildings can sometimes be a little creepy. Standing right in front of this domineering building and looking up at it, it was pretty breathtaking, if a little spooky! It certainly looks like something out of a film, and so it isn’t much of a surprise to know that it was featured in the BBC series Merlin.
You can walk around the inside of the chateau for a fee. However, we decided to enjoy a slow walk all the way around the outside of the chateau and the grounds, which was completely free to do. I was really pleasantly surprised that it was free because I would have happily paid to see the views and the chateau up close.
Being perched on a hill means that beautiful views of the town can be seen from all sides of the chateau.
There were people sat on the grass and eating picnics, and it really was the perfect place to do this.
We wandered back through the town, watching people riding swan pedalos across the lake.
Ready for food, we headed back towards the hotel and found a nearby Leon de Bruxelles restaurant. Having never eaten at this chain before, we decided to give it a try.
Dan opted to have burger and chips, whilst I thought I would be daring and try the seafood salad.
It turns out it wasn’t so much of a salad as a big platter! I’m not a huge fish fan so I think maybe I was being a little optimistic with how much fish there was! At least I had been brave and tried something different for once though.
After a wonderful day sight-seeing and travelling, we were looking forward to the next stage of our road trip, staying in a chateau in rural France.