1 August 2009

CATCHING UP, part two.

On the Wednesday of our week's holiday we decided to abandon the washing up from the night before and go out for the day. We did a tour of some of our favourite old haunts, including Azay le Rideau, Candes St Martin and Rigne Ussé. The roads are just perfect for motorcycling and with frequent coffee stops along the way, what more could you want.

Down by the river at Azay le Rideau

We stopped to do some shopping as Susan and Simon of Days on the Claise were coming round in the evening. Shopping by motorcycle is challenging at the best of times. It's a balance between what you would like to buy against what you can actually fit into the panniers or bungie onto the seat. Our most notable casualty in that respect, some years ago, was a frozen raspberry pavlova which Nick bungied on rather gently, thinking he didn't want to crush it. Unfortunately it fell off the bike seat into the road and was almost squashed by a passing car. We rescued it and glued it back together with a bit of whipped cream before serving it at a family party. Nobody noticed the cracks !!

The château at Le Grand Pressigny, the extension not visible in this view.

For Simon and Susan we did a sort of surf and turf barbecue. We had saucisses from the local butcher, ready made beef brochettes from the supermarket and fish kebabs which we constructed ourselves. Or more accurately, Susan did. They arrived (bringing with them some cherry jam, marinated goat's cheese and wine) just as we finished the night before's washing up. We accepted their offer of help in the kitchen and Susan took over the chopping whilst Simon took over the barbecuing. Perfect guests !!

The old and new blend well together in this view.

On Thursday we were up early to do the next round of washing up and be ready for Alex and Nicole of Chez ANIA and our Grand Day Out. They had deposited the girls early at summer camp and were off the lead for the day to do a spot of winetasting. I had previously requested suggestions from Jim Budd of Jim's Loire and off we set for Chinon. In the end we only managed one of his recommendations, which was absolutely brilliant, Baudry Dutour.

The lovely old Citroen lorry at Baudry Dutour.

Nicole wanted to see the market at Chinon (which she declared to be inferior to the Saturday market at Loches) and we had lunch there at one of our favourite restaurants, L'Ardoise. For 16 euros each we had a fabulous meal, a kind of taster of the food they serve in the evenings. It was delicious. After lunch we rounded off the day's winetasting with a trip to Olga Raffault and Domaine de la Commanderie.

Jim had made several other suggestions which we couldn't fit in and have saved for a future Day Out. Winetasting takes a long time and should definitely not be done in a hurry. It is also easy to get sidetracked and just "nip in here" to see what's on offer. Each nipping in can take longer than you think.

Then a coffee stop at one of the little cafés at Montsoreau village finished off a most enjoyable day.

We ended the week with a visit to the PreHisto bar for our usual aperitif. We said hello to Jean-Paul who introduced us to his new companion, Duke. A poodle, I think.

And that was it. Another great holiday in our little maison.
I didn't have long to wait for the next one.............only until the next weekend !!


  1. Hi Jean, I recognize the bar in Montsoreau. We had lunch in Montsoreau this year in the other bar just around the corner. It's a lovely spot, except for the heavy traffic.

    And yes, we will be in France beginning of September, but we won't be anywhere near the Loire Valley. September is the perfect time for our annual trip to the French Alsace. But as you said, it's a pity, as it would have been nice meeting up with you and Nick. Martine x

  2. Martine, I hope you enjoy your visit to Alsace. Perhaps we could get together some other time.

  3. 'Nicole wanted to see the market at Chinon (which she declared to be inferior to the Saturday market at Loches)'

    The Wednesday and Saturday markets in Loches are certainly very good.