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Have just become an octogeranium! I certainly don't feel it but have to accept that it makes me an elderly gentleman!! The sort you should offer your seat to on a train.

So, I thought I ought to splash the cash as I was keen to give my Scottish family a feel for how their old man spends his time in la Belle France with his French partner. I was also keen for my French non-step family to meet my Scottish wing. 

For a genuine French experience, I chose the Manoir des Cavaliers near Chantilly as Chantilly is on a direct fast train line from Gare du Nord where the Eurostar travellers would arrive, and is also only thirty minutes from Charles de Gaulle airport for those flying in from Glasgow. Chantilly is a bit like the Ascot of France with a horse racing track but also has a magnificent chateau. So it's worth a visit. The Manoir is an old jockey training centre on the outskirts with six tastefully decorated bed-and-breakfast rooms plus a coach house (Maison de la Caleche), which is a luxury three bedroom self catering house. I hired the lot and the fourteen of us had the place to ourselves. Brilliant.

As the Manoir was a bed and breakfast establishment, we held my birthday dinner in the Port Bellon restaurant in the nearby medieval town of Senlis where an unexpected bonus awaited us. For no extra cost, the proprietrix of the restaurant had arranged the use of her thirteenth century cave (wine cellar) for our aperitif - icing on the cake or what?

Though I say it myself, it was a truly 'happy family' weekend. Must have another 80th birthday.

Manoir des Cavaliers

Manoir - My stylish bedroom

Manoir - relaxing in the Maison de la Caleche









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  1. Maura McRobbie

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