When we came to the beautiful town of Bourges by the last train from Paris on a Saturday night, we took a taxi to the hotel. We knew it was not far, but we did not want to search around at night, dragging our luggage along those wonderful ancient cobblestones. “You speak English!” the lady-driver exclaimed. And then she appealed to me, “Madame, you have to tell me where you come from and why! Because I’m curious!” While waiting at a streetlight, she raised her hands upwards in a typically Gallic gesture. I obliged, and she gave us a brilliant smile: “How nice! Now I’ll go home and tell my family about you at dinner!” Thus we became a conversation piece for a French family. The fare was only 6 euros, and the driver explained to us that the minimum fare was 6.40. We gave her a tip anyway. Best Western Hotel Angleterre, we now know, is really the best place to stay at in Bourges. It is situated on a lovely old street, five minutes away from all the attractions, including the famous cathedral. The Prince of Wales, and the future King Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936 because the Parliament did not approve of his marriage to twice divorced Canadian Mrs. Wallis Simpson, once stayed there. His portrait is hanging right next to the Reception. The rooms are spacious and very clean, with all the modern conveniences; the internet is free. In the morning, one can get a scrumptious breakfast in the cozy hall downstairs, with all the traditional croissants, cheeses and hams, fruit, yogurts, and a selection of jams. Rhubarb jam seems a unique feature for this hotel. Most of the staff speak English, and those who don’t, understood my shaky French. They are all very friendly and attentive to the customers’ needs. On May 8, despite the rain, there was a little ceremony and a parade to celebrate WW2 Victory Day. There were wreaths and flowers near the monuments. Maybe this day was the reason why there were so many Americans in town. Chestnut trees were in bloom, they all look gorgeous, with those white catkins of flowers, which look like candles. There were also chestnuts with red flowers, which are actually a mix of chestnut and horse chestnut. We learned that while the real chestnut, which yields edible fruit, usually has yellowish flowers, horse chestnuts have white ones, and the mix has red ones, all of them lovely. The Cathedral can be seen from anywhere in town. It is very impressive, and the arched entrances and numerous turrets can be seen all around the town, as decorative parts of many buildings, including the modern ones, like the main post-office. As I had to send a parcel overseas, I had to speak French there too, and the clerks were all extremely helpful. This historical town, which is only about two hours by train from Paris, is a nice place to visit for a relaxing weekend. ©gretag2012

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