My Travel Blog

Fine French Cuisine and The Chateau de Compiegne

While in Saint Quentin we decided to go out for dinner.  Our friends Bruce and Tess had wanted to take us to the best restaurant in town, but it was closed.  Did they miss out.The food at Restaurant Villa D’Isle was great and our waitress happened to be the owner’s daughter. After dinner she gave us a tour of the place.  The huge building where the restaurant is housed started out as a wood working factory, and then a textile factory.  The original living quarters are still there. Lisa insists that our waitress told us the building was originally a house, but she’s wrong.  It was always a commercial enterprise with some space dedicated to housing the owners.

Lisa and I on the staircase at Restaurant Villa D’Isle.

Some of the original 17th century tile floors.

Their patio for summer dining was incredible. Pictures don’t do it justice.

We also saw two movies while in Saint Quentin, as the theater was only two blocks from where we were tied up.  Most American movies in France are dubbed.  It’s pretty funny to hear Arnold Schwarzeneggeror Sylvester Stallone speaking in French.  You certainly lose something in the translation. If you’re in France and want to see a movie in the original English form look for the letters VO on the marquee.

Do you need any radishes?

Our next stop was Compiegne.  The cathedral was one of the most ornate we had seen.  I’m not sure what the deal is with showing old bones of saints, but the Cathedral in Compiegne had its fair share.  I think it’s totally creepy.  The big sight to visit in Compiegne is the Chateau de Compiegne.  This 1337 room palace was Napoleon III’s favorite hunting lodge.  The back yard lawn stretches for five kilometers.  That’s 5,466 yards.  What would par be on a 5,466-yard hole, and what club do you use for your tee shot?  I’m thinking a howitzer.  The gardens around the palace are magnificent, and the pathways that parallel the backyard lawn are delightful.  We didn’t walk the entire 10 kilometer round trip, but we did a good portion of it.


Not a bad little sitting room.

Now that’s what I call a real backyard!

A bridge right behind where we were moored.

From Compiegne we headed for Soisson with a stop at Vic sur Aisne.  We moored next to a large grain silo.  As we were walking into town I noticed the silos had grass growing out of the top.  You know your gutters need cleaning when the lawn on your roof is taller than the one in your front yard.  Talk about déjà vu!

Lisa and I walked into town to check the place out, and find a boulangerie.  Right in the center of town is a very cool chateau, and it looked very familiar.  I told Lisa we had never been on the Aisne River, but I had to admit the chateau did look familiar.  As it turned out I was wrong, and we had been on the Aisne twelve years ago, and had stopped at Vic sur Aisne.  It didn’t matter.  The town was a real treat with three or four chateaus behind tall stonewalls.

Check out the garden on top of the silos.

The chateau in the middle of Vic sur Aisne.

We ended up meeting a French couple on a boat tied in front of us.  They had this very cool dog.  I think it was part pit bull, though I’m not sure.  The one thing I do know is their dog didn’t understand any more French than we do.  We couldn’t stop laughing as we watched this man chasing his dog around a parking lot while yelling in French, and the dog completely ignoring him.  The dog might as well have been an obstinate teenager!

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.