“Looking for trouble” on President’s Day weekend in Robert-Espagne, France… part one

A couple of weeks ago, probably between Bill’s two most recent TDY trips, I asked him if he’d like to take a trip over the long President’s Day weekend.  He said sure.  Off I went to Booking.com, my trusty source for pet friendly accommodations.  Next weekend, we have plans to visit a new Hunde pension, so maybe we can take a few more petless trips.  But, for now, Zane and Arran have to come with us when we leave town, so pet friendly digs are important.

I had originally wanted to go to the Czech Republic, like we did last year.  I found a really nice looking and pet friendly apartment near Chodova Plana, which is where Chodovar Brewery and Beer Spa is.  But the apartment I wanted to book was not available for President’s Day weekend.  It’s a shame, too, because we went to Chodovar for President’s Day weekend in 2009– ten years ago– and it would have been fun to go back this year.  They have done a lot of renovating since 2009, but it’s still cheap.  When we went in 2009, we stayed in the hotel at the brewery, but though the hotel is pet friendly, Zane and Arran are not hotel friendly.

Since the apartment near Chodovar wasn’t available, I went back to my list of saved properties.  When we were still living near Stuttgart, I saved a bunch of pet friendly accommodations that ticked all or most of the boxes of what I look for when I look for pet friendly places.

Luckily, we’ve found plenty of places where our dogs are welcome.  Our visit to rural Robert-Espagne, France was very pet friendly, as we booked the weekend at the charming, historic Maison Qui s’y frotte s’y pique, a house that was built in 1920.  The owners, Alexandre and Stephanie, bought the house about a year ago and renovated it with a new kitchen, bathroom, and electric shutters.  It now boasts mixture of old world charm and modern convenience.

I was a little hesitant to book at first.  For one thing, the rates for this house are dirt cheap.  Sometimes, when you get dirt cheap rentals, you get everything you paid for and less.  For another thing, I wasn’t sure what there was to do in the area.  I think I found it when I was looking for rentals near the Champagne region, but Robert-Espagne isn’t super close to Champagne, nor is it that close to Lorraine.  It really is in “the real France“… as in, it’s not really a tourist friendly area.  However, if your goal is to experience France, away from your American countrymen, it’s not a bad place to be.  And if you want to walk your dog out in nature, go kayaking, or visit historic sites from World War I, it’s also a good bet.

We planned to do none of those things… I just wanted a change of scenery and maybe the chance to pick up some champagne.  I had read there was a small vintner near Robert-Espagne that offered tastings and tours.  I also looked forward to good food and people watching.  We did manage to have a couple of meals and we have six new bottles of champagne.  I got some pictures, too, although our plans to do a lot were a bit thwarted because we were distracted by an issue that came up just after our arrival at our rental house.

Speaking of the house, here are a few photos…

The outside of the house.  “Qui s’y frotte s’y pique” is a saying that translates to “If you go looking for trouble, you’ll find it.”  Come to think of it, that sounds like the story of my life.


On our way to the this house, I got a message from Alexandre, the owner, who asked in French that we call his parents when we were two hours out from our arrival.  Neither Bill nor I ever studied French, but it wasn’t too hard to figure out his request.  His parents live two doors down from the rental home, and they are super nice people.  However, they really speak very little to no English.  It wasn’t a big problem.  We basically understood what they said.  Alexandre’s mom speaks a little English and Alexandre, who is a captain in the French Army, speaks a tiny bit more.  He visited yesterday, since he is based near Strasbourg.  He and Bill bonded over being soldiers.  Alexandre has been to both Iraq and Afghanistan and he said he was very impressed by the dining facilities on the American bases.

The stairs were very old fashioned and creaky!  The floors are wood or tile.

One of the bedrooms.  We didn’t use this one and kept the door shut after I shooed Zane off the bed.  Incidentally, the owners prefer that animals stay on the first floor.

The other bedroom.  Both rooms have flat screen TVs and schranks.


Upstairs bathroom.  It has a generous sized tub and a shower, and everything is brand new.


The downstairs toilet.  It doesn’t have a sink…


But it does have a rainfall shower.  We didn’t use it because it wasn’t convenient.


The living/dining room.  It has a table for six, a couch, television, and two chairs.  We put our own towels on the furniture, since Zane and Arran are couch potatoes.


We got a kick out of the owners 45s.  He had a bunch of 80s era pop music, some of which was from the US and some from France.  I was impressed to see that he had a turntable equipped with a CD player.  It looked like it would also accommodate an MP3 player, although I just used my laptop.  WiFi is free.

Very nice kitchen with a striking tile floor.  It has an induction stove top, a huge fridge, dishwasher, and most everything else you’d need.

Smoking is not allowed in the house, but you are allowed to smoke on the porch.  We don’t smoke, so this wasn’t a concern for us.

You can also play foozeball…

Grill out… or play darts.  The dartboard is on the wall next to the grill.

For three nights, I paid 180 euros (175.50 for the house and 4.50 in taxes)…  I think it’s a steal.  If this looks good to you, you can find this property listed here on Booking.com.  Or, you can just search for Robert-Espagne.  I think it’s the only property available in that area.

ETA: As of 2020, pets are no longer allowed.


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