France Day 11

August 12, 2022

Moving day II: The 12:23 to Orléans

The Big O in Orleans
The big O is for Orléans

   By the time we realized that splitting our two weeks in France between two different small cities was probably a good idea, we were down to our last three days. Still, Carol’s wish to be done with Marrakesh, coupled with an itch to see something new, pointed us in the direction of the train station and the destination of Orléans.

   Orléans was close by, an hour and twenty by train, another Loire River town steeped in history, a town where Joan d’Arc is still a rock star as well as a Saint. It was slightly smaller than Tours, but offered not one, but two intersecting tram lines for exploring the environs.

(She was burned anyway, when the Catholic Church realized Joan was getting more praise and honor than it. She was later made a Saint, when the church figured out how to monetize the burning at the stake it had ordered.)

   Our new digs were as close to the train station as Marrakesh was in Tours, but one floor less of stairs. There was a tram stop at the corner, and we were smack in the middle of the commercial district with cafés and restaurants on every block. We had changed everything, and everything got better. 

Pleasant French countryside on the train

   My new initial objective when arriving in a French town is to restock the room wine before the 9:00 pm curfew on liquor sales kicks in. But there was a full service grocery store a block away from where we decided to have lupper, and all of which was a five-minute walk from the apartment. Dinner entertainment was provided by a family of multiple generations, including a bevy of kids further animated by the huge ice cream sundaes that Carol secretly filed away for future reference.

The big square in Orleans
A good lupper in the big square

   The big square where we ate catered to kids, as it featured a Jules Verne-themed carousel, a splash fountain, as well as room enough to run about without parents losing sight of them, except for the ones the parents wanted to lose sight of. Just a couple of hours following our arrival, we were already living like the locals again, enjoying their Friday evening out and about.

   The listing for the apartment erroneously stated that air conditioning was provided, but we were surprised and pleased that small fans were all that was needed to keep the apartment cool through the night. Our second floor view (third in American counting) offered a rooftop spectacle of the medieval city from our large screenless windows, which we were able to leave fully open after the bats had settled down for the night.

Plenty of cool breeze from these big windows

   We joined the bats after a few glasses of room wine and a couple of episodes of Sneaky Pete. I lay awake reflecting on the good fortune that has smiled down on us on this trip so far. True, there was a cathedral and, I was sure, monuments and museums to a young woman, who frankly, without the benefit of the Hundred Years War as a historical backdrop and the exceedingly rare occurrence of a French military victory, would have been lumped together with all the other unfortunate women of that era burned as witches for hearing voices in their heads. (She was burned anyway, when the Catholic Church realized Joan was getting more praise and honor than it. She was later made a Saint, when the church figured out how to monetize the burning at the stake it had ordered.)

   Anyway, this is how I feed my anti-clerical bias.

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