11 June 2009


On Tuesday of our week at our little maison we took Mike and Jackie to Valençay for the day. Ken and Walt had both mentioned the market there on Tuesdays and of course there is the fabulous château.

The back entrance to the château - the main entrance was closed. Hence the scaffolding.

We were lucky to get two other unexpected treats while we were there. In the château there was the "Passion Orchidée". There were magnificent displays of the most amazing orchids in various locations all over the château. We had come across something like this in 2007 in Dunkirk. There the town hall was completely taken over by hundreds of fantastic floral arrangements and wildlife scenes built around the collection of orchids. After a few days we saw the whole thing being dismantled and stowed in huge lorries presumably to go to the next town to hold the exhibition. In Valençay it was on a much smaller scale but no less impressive. Sadly, visitors were not allowed to take photographs and being brought up to do as I am told, I abstained, especially as there were plenty of CCTV cameras around.

The exhibition was only on for a couple of weeks but I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes orchids if you can get to see it in some other part of France.

As we arrived at the château we were somewhat disppointed to find we were surrounded by coachloads of very young schoolchildren. As it turns out, they were very well behaved and were there to see a little vignette put on by the château just for them and of course us and the other handful of lucky visitors who had braved the cold drizzle that day. We didn't understand a word but it was very entertaining to watch - presumably about some of the escapades of Prince Talleyrand, one of Napoleons ministers and a very colourful character, who bought Valençay in 1803. The children were obviously quite spellbound.

The French do this sort of thing so well - they must enjoy dressing up and showing off.

After our visit to the château we shopped on the market and Mike treated us to some Valençay goat's cheese. We ate it for dinner that evening and found it to be delicious and quite different from the St Maure goat's cheese which was until now our favourite. The Vâlencay was much creamier and smoother than the St Maure which was fairly tangy by comparison.

Our cheeseboard had Valençay, St Maure, Chaource and Pié d'Angeloys.

After the shopping we went for lunch, choosing a restaurant where we felt able to take Lulu for her first dining experience. She charmed the ladies who ran the place immediately and we found a table tucked away at the back where she was likely to cause less havoc. All went well until two ladies chose to sit at the table opposite, mother and daughter I think, and they spotted her pink nailpolish. I know, I know, it's really sad but ..it looks great. They went all gooey and started giving Lulu titbits, something we avoid doing at home. Naturally she behaved perfectly while food was forthcoming but became a bit unruly when they decided to eat it themselves. But we coped and all in all it was a successful first attempt at taking her into a restaurant.

This is the restaurant we chose for Lulu's first dining experience

Mike and Jackie set off in slightly better weather on Thursday to continue their French tour and we knuckled down to a bit of DIY. We actually did very little of a useful nature but chilled out and caught up with some more friends.

The intrepid motorcyclists. They don't always wear matching outfits. It's a bike thing.

The week was soon over and we were back on the train to England. We think Lulu enjoyed her trip. She certainly enjoyed the attention and she travelled really well. I was proud of her.


  1. I think they do that little outdoor play every year at Valençay - we saw it in 2003!

    It is a nice town and the market is pretty good there. Many of your photos look very familiar! :)

  2. Jean, Do you know whether the Orchid show is still on next week? We've been to Valençay last year, but I wouldn't mind going back to see the orchids. I just love them. Martine

  3. Lulu will be bilingual before you know it,


  4. Walt - it's a very photogenic town and château.

    Martine - I think the show is gone now but I suspect it is touring France so you may still be lucky.

    GG - She is already - she says woof in the UK and wooffe in France !!