Day 3 On Your Bike

Formula 1 Hotel

Formula 1 Hotel

Remember I said we were trying a new kind of accommodation? Last night we stayed for the first time in a Formula 1 hotel. These are the inexpensive hotels usually located by the side of a motorway. I wanted to experience them as although lots of people told us about them, we had never stayed in one. Probably because other people’s recommendations weren’t too enticing. They always had a funny look on their faces when they mentioned them. The look that includes wrinkling of the nose and rocking of the head? But this was an adventure after all so maybe it was time to look.

We arrived about 6pm, tired and hungry and a little cold. It had been raining most of the day but we were dry, thanks to our great rain gear, (I love my rain gear). The receptionist was very friendly and spoke French kindly (s l o w l y) to us. But on the way to our room little doubts started to niggle in my mind.


There was a row of brightly coloured doors with little labels on them. Two said WC and four had a picture of a shower head (apologies for not taking a picture, its early days and I’m still a bit too shy to take a picture of a bathroom door!). The niggle in my mind was saying “do you think it’s possible that there’s no ensuite and we have to come out here to use the bathroom?”. But I ignored that and we went to find our room.

Denis tapped in the code and pushed open the door with his bag ….. I scanned for the bathroom and……couldn’t find it. I walked into the room and searched every nook….it wasn’t there. Ok not a problem, its only one night, I’ll be fine. Lets make the best of this. I went over to open the window and check out the view…and then I started to laugh…. at myself! Until this moment I hadn’t realise how many expectations I had about where I could stay. The ensuite, or at least a  toilet was one and now it turned out a view was the other. Our view looked out onto the car park, which ran right up to our window and two trucks had parked directly outside. This time I took a picture. I’m not sure if you can see it but the yellow truck filled our room with a very nice primrose hue!

Room with a View

Room with a View

During the night I recognised some more of my expectations when two or three noisy girls ran up and down and back down and up the corridors laughing and shouting.

To be completely fair to the Formula 1 there were some plusses – the room was warm, the bed was comfortable, the sheets were clean, there were two large towels and a new bar of soap and a wash hand basin, there was free wi-fi (we couldn’t get it to work, but it might have been the laughing!) and it was cheap – €34 for the room.

As the internet didn’t work we have no place to stay tonight! We could always stay another night here….. Maybe not, so we’re in the town of Rennes, I’m having my petit dejeuner and Denis is down at the Orange (Mobile telephone network) store finding a way to have our own mobile wifi in France. While he was away I noticed a sign in the cafe for free wifi so I’ve been looking at hotels in our next stop, La Rochelle. We’ve decided to go for our tried and tested formula  (little pun) –  the little two star with secure parking for the moto (french for motorbike, btw my french is improving all the time!) and free wifi. We’ll get back to roughing it later. By the time Denis returns I have booked the Francoise 1st Comfort Hotel for one night in La Rochelle.

But Denis hasn’t noticed my great success with only my mobile I have secured our future, he’s a little preoccupied. The Orange assistant (he’s not orange, he’s… never mind) was very helpful and had great English but unfortunately due to a little misunderstanding in French mobile small print (“it is France, poof”, the Orange assistant said in explanation), the first attempt at mobile internet ownership swallowed up Denis’ €20! It seems we have to wait 48 hours before using it or it takes all the credit… ok we’ll wait.

So we’re off to La Rochelle, on the west coast of France, and it’s sunny, and we’re still talking!
The View and Denis

The View and Denis








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