Sunday, June 12, 2011
Hotel d'Angleterre, Chalons-en-Champagne
This week must be about the sixth or seventh time we've been to the Hotel d'Angleterre, a solidly bourgeois hotel in Chalons-en-Champagne, the least glamorous town of the Champagne district. It's main virtue is that it's a brilliantly based pitstop for breaking your journey between the Channel Tunnel and the south of France - or Alsace for that matter where we've been this past week. (It's about 3 hours from the tunnel.)
It's much less flashy - and less touristy - than Reims and Epernay - a rather nice provincial town of the type you still find in parts of France that aren't served by a nearby Ryanair airport. That makes it sound staid but it's not entirely that - just look at this 'happening' which we caught the tail end of as part of a weekend of street theatre.
The other virtue of the hotel is that the food is good and that's by no means a given in today's France. There's a one star Michelin star restaurant named after the proprietor Jacky Michel but like the locals we always eat in the brasserie Les Temps Changent where you can get a fixed price menu for 21 euros (VAT and service included). Basically Michelin standard food using less expensive or leftover ingredients as I've pointed out here*.
They also have the most spectacularly lavish brunch-style breakfast which we don't normally bother with but decided to this time as we knew we were unlikely to get any lunch.
A useful base if you want to tour Champagne, obviously too. Rooms are from 95€, breakfast a slightly pricey 16€ a head but as I say it would last you all day ...
* Just in case you were wondering why I've blogged about them twice, no it wasn't a freebie - we paid our own way and they had no idea I was a journalist!