I have to admit that having seen what other French hotels were like, neither of us where holding out high hopes for the hotel in Vitre – however we were both in for a very pleasant surprise!!
The hotel was very different compared to the Ethos in Oxford, however no less inviting. The Petit Billot has a wonderful homely inviting feel to it that instantly lifted our spirits after what had been a long and hellish ride to Vitre. We had originally hoped to get to the hotel for about 8pm ish… high hopes indeed. Due to our slight habit of getting lost (I think we have to thank the French for that for after removing all the road signs when the German Nazi’s invaded and then never putting them back even though the war ended 66 years ago) and of course there was the big dipper road from hell that slowed our progress down. Therefore rather than reaching the hotel at a decent hour it was pitch black, as yes I do actuallly mean pitch black, and about 10.30pm at night. You can imagine how worried we were about turning up at the hotel at such a late hour, but the owner of the hotel was amazing! The owner of the hotel was a sweet little lady called Colette Champs and despite the time she was still waiting up for us and kept looking out for us, she didn’t say anything about the time other than how we must be utterly exhausted (all this in french of course as she spoke only a little english – or Frenglish as we called it) she showed us round to her garage so that we could keep the bikes safe over night and then went and brought us a bag of croissants and bread as well as a bag of fruit and two large bottles of Evian water, all free of charge!! We were both so pleased to have made it and then to have been shown such kindness really made our night… and that was before we even saw the room.
Now here is were I would point out the slight downside to the hotel, the hotel is in a very old building which means there is no lift, but lots and lots of stairs, and of course we would happen to be on the top floor!!! With our legs starting to feel a little bit like jelly and carrying the 20kg worth of pannier bags, climbing 6 flights of stairs was the last thing we wanted to do, however we only had to do it once and the room was worth it!
The room wasn’t modern by anyones standards, but had touches of art deco all around the room, which of course Nikki loved, we had two very comfortable single beds, and a very large bathroom (though only with a shower and no bath). The room also came with a view across Vitre, a desk, a very large wardrobe not that we needed it, and tv, which yes, we did use! There was also free wi-fi, which I am sure begs the question of why has this blog not been posted until we have arrived back home, the truth is we were so thoughly exhausted that night we didn’t have enough left in us to write the blog while in the hotel and so thought wouldn’t have a problem doing it later. We didn’t realise that the next day would be the same and that entries on our to do list would mount up.
The next morning, we have to admit that due to the beds being so comfy, we did not want to get up, let alone get back on the bikes. We are glad we did though. When we went down for breakfast, it was practically a feast! So much so that we needed an extra table to accommodate all the food and the iPad! Definitely what we needed ready for the day of cycling ahead!
If you’re ever staying in Vitre, we would definitely recommend “Le Petit Billot Hotel”. You’ll be made to feel really welcome, however we cannot guarantee you won’t loose some hours of your holiday due to the comfy beds!
Nikki & Dan