31 August 2009


L'eglise at the château of Montreuil-Bellay

30 August 2009


In the public gardens and park, Descartes, August 2008

29 August 2009


Another doorway at the château, Le Louroux.

28 August 2009


Cottage, Le Louroux. Looks deserted - but it might not be.

27 August 2009


Windows at the château, Le Louroux

26 August 2009


At the medieval market, Angles sur Anglin, 2008.

25 August 2009


The well at the château, Montreuil-Bellay

24 August 2009


At the medieval market, Angles sur Anglin, August 2008.

23 August 2009


A doorway at the château, Le Louroux

22 August 2009


Stallholder at the vide grenier, Bridoré,

July 2009

21 August 2009


House with old business sign, Montsoreau.

20 August 2009


The Mairie at Le Grand Pressigny, summer 2008.

19 August 2009


A sunny day at Brehemont

August 2008

18 August 2009


Apéro time.

The usual, at the PreHisto.

17 August 2009


The Son et Lumière, Azay le Rideau, August 2006.

16 August 2009


A barn door.

Repaired, in the true spirit of thrift, French style, with the lid of a sardine tin.

15 August 2009


A poodle, fluffed up and ready to go.

14 August 2009


One of the things we are looking forward to is the annual bash of the Association Rétro-Mécanique which takes place on 15th August down by the Gare. We went a couple of years ago and it was great fun.


These lovely old cars were all snoozing quietly in the afternoon sunshine in Huismes in the summer of 2003. They were part of some sort of old car rally and their owners could be heard enjoying a lunch break and the prize-giving speeches in the salle des fêtes in the village.

There were quite a few English registration plates there. It's nice to see that the French are just as besotted by old vehicles as we are.

We're off on our hols now. Back soon. Then I MUST get back to the story.

10 August 2009



On Sunday evening we ate at Chez Grand Ma in the village. We talked about what we would do for our last day and a half and Jackie thought she would like to see a château and do some wine tasting.

So, on Monday we set off towards Chinon, aiming in the general direction of Cravant les Coteaux and Baudry Dutour. Unfortunately, girls being girls, we had a slow get up in the morning, there was lots of gossip to get through and fresh croissants to be fetched and eaten at the leisurely pace they deserve. Consequently, we arrived chez Baudry Dutour just as they closed for lunch. Actually I have a suspicion they had scived off for the whole day.

No problem, the road through Cravant is wall-to-wall wine makers so we stopped at the first one that looked open and swooped. We came out with a half-dozen mixed bottles between us. Fairly restrained wine shopping for me, I must say.

Jackie was keen to try some sparkling wines so we went to Gratien and Meyer. This company has fabulous premises with spectacular views overlooking the Loire river. Very smart and sophisticated.

Nick and I had done the tour of the cave a few years ago, where they demonstrate the way the sparkling wine is made and stress endlessly that it is "méthod traditionelle". In other words, it is made in exactly the same way as champagne with similar results but they can't call it champagne because the vineyards are in the wrong part of France.

This time, I thought the wines were a bit more pricey than they used to be but we enjoyed our tasting and bought a few bottles. Jackie looked very happy indeed. Maybe this was because I was driving and she was doing most of the "degustation".

We then headed for the château we had chosen to see, Montreuil-Bellay. En route we called at Ackerman as we thought we might just need a few more bottles of bubbly.

(Ackerman's own advertisement for X NOIR)

They now do a sparkling rosé in a very girly bottle. Now I know you shouldn't choose wine just because the label is pretty but it just had to be done. (I only bought one, in case the label was the only thing to commend it.)

There had been changes at Montreuil-Bellay since our last visit, too. Unfortunately there was scaffolding around some of the buildings but nevertheless it is still a beautiful place. We skipped the hour-long guided tour (in French) as we didn't feel we had the stamina for that but it was lovely to wander round the château and gardens in the sunshine. And, guess what, they do their own wine too - so we were able to taste some more.

Back on the little terrace of our cottage, we had dinner at home and chatted away through the sunset. The evening was still and warm and we were entertained by the swallows swirling overhead. Then suddenly, as if someone had flipped a switch, they disappeared and the Grand-Pressigny bat formation team came out. The rooftop view is just wonderful in the evening light.

Tuesday morning came all too soon but luckily our flight wasn't until 5 pm so we had a fair chunk of the day to enjoy. We went to Loches for lunch, via Le Louroux to collect Nick's present.

We had had a lovely time. The weekend had started with drizzly rain but warmed up to 32°C and sunshine. Even the return trip courtesy of Ryanair didn't seem so bad having had such a great time to remember.

7 August 2009



Le Louroux is a pretty village north of Le Grand Pressigny. We had passed through many times and seen the back of the château from the road. After our morning at the brocante we decided to take a walk around the village and see what there was to see.

There is a Maison de Pays, a cross between a tourist office and gift shop

Barrie was keen to have a look at the château as it has recently had a new roof. It is not open to the public but you can walk freely around the outside.

The village also boasts what must be one of the oldest bus shelters in France.

Wait inside for the bus to Ligueil

In the moulin there was an exhibition and sale of paintings by a local artist. I bought one for Nick as a surprise present. You can see it in this photo - almost. So it will still be a surprise. The exhibition is on until the end of August.

In the village there are some very pretty houses and a bar/café. There is also a substantial lake around which you can take a long walk. Apparently it is signposted in one direction but not the other - it is therefore effectively a one-way walk around the lake.

4 August 2009



When we arrived at our little cottage for the weekend, there were TWO vases of flowers and some little plums to welcome us from Nicole.

The sun was shining but by evening it was drizzling.

Barrie had agreed to escort both of us to the social event of the year, the Guinguette et Bal, in the square behind the church that evening.
We had an apéro at the PreHisto where we bumped into Gail and Chris and all five of us went along to enjoy this uniquely French entertainment.
A meal, four courses with choice of andouillette or entrecôte for mains with plenty of wine from unlabelled bottles. This was followed by some very lively dancing to a very French live band. All taking place under canopies and umbrellas but a great start to our weekend.

We had spotted a few things we might do on Sunday but our resident tour guide, M. Barrie Fairhead, came up with a much better suggestion, the Foire à L'Ail, or garlic festival and Brocante, or secondhand market, at Le Louroux.
(Not an easy name to pronounce, I find.)

Some very tasty brocante was for sale here

Le Louroux is a pretty little village north of Le Grand Pressigny with a château and a lake with a circular walk around it. More about the village next time.

Anybody need a new alarm clock?

The brocante was superb. There were lots of interesting things for sale as well as the usual broken toys, chipped crockery, old jumpers and worn-out boots that normally abound at these events. There was the usual bar and food stall plus a sausage seller and, of course several garlic sellers. We had a great time hunting down the potential bargains.

The sausage man was there with a large variety of scary sausages

The bar was doing much brisker trade
(Notice the Bash Street Kid on right of photo !!)

The nut roasting machine was there

I bought bunch of garlic, of which there were several varieties to choose from and a bunch of shallots

I regret not buying this lovely old Godin poêle. The lid catch was broken and it needed cleaning up. For 30 euros it would have made a great chimnea or plant holder.

Next time perhaps.