27 May 2022

A BANK HOLIDAY DAY OUT

 


Yesterday was a bank holiday in France for Ascension Day.  There are several bank holidays in May and we tend to forget about them!  

We thought we would have a day out doing a touristy thing and go to our favourite place, Chinon, for a mooch around and a spot of lunch.  We were a bit late setting off and part way there it suddenly dawned on me that it was a bank holiday and I thought that finding lunch might be a problem by the time we got there.  

In the UK restaurants make sure they are open on bank holidays to catch the extra trade.  In France many of them close because it's a bank holiday!  Many of those that are open are booked up for family gatherings because.......it's a bank holiday.

We were pondering what we would do if we got there and found no place at the inn.  (This has happened to us several times before.)  Then, just as we got to the village of Lilette I remembered the little restaurant we have driven past so many times before, usually on the way to Chinon, saying we must stop and eat there one day.  So yesterday we did.


It's a very typical village hotel cum restaurant cum épicerie (village shop), traditional decor probably not changed much for decades, apart from a coat of fresh paint, and run by a husband and wife team.  She does the front of house, he does the cooking.  Both very friendly and she speaks good English (which we can actually manage without but she was keen to be helpful).  I did wonder if maybe they had taken the place over recently as the paintwork seemed fresh even if the underlying fixtures and fittings seemed to date back several decades.  I loved the chairs and tables!

Although it was a Thursday, the menu du jour option was not available because it was a bank holiday, only à la carte, which was fine by us.  There was plenty of choice and the whole meal turned out to be delicious. 



Delicious starters (entrées).

A tasty main course (plat).

A fabulous dessert which was freshly made to order.


And here it is.  L'Auberge de Lilette.

We will definitely be going back.

I had to chuckle when I went to the loo (bathroom).  The fresh decoration had obviously not got that far and although it was perfectly clean, had obviously not been "refreshed" for a long time, probably decades.

I do wonder what some foreign visitors think of the toilets in France when they come from countries where they are generally spacious and spotless.  Here they are often very much the opposite.  I have frequently been obliged to use toilets that are not nice at all out of sheer desperation.  Often quite swish restaurants can have really horrible toilets - even more disconcerting when you see that they are also used by the kitchen staff - eek!

I hasten to point out that even though they were old fashioned, the toilets in this auberge were clean and tidy!

One of the biggest mysteries of French toilets is why there is often no hook in the ladies toilet where you can hang your bag.  The toilet floor is not the place you really want to put your bag........

In this toilet there was a charming hook for the purpose, probably dating back to the 1960's.  I seem to remember seeing things like this for sale in Woolworth's when I was a child (in the days when every small town in the UK had a Woolworth's and it's where you would go for absolutely everything from sliced ham to shoe polish and bathroom fittings!).

Many of the establishments around us have had serious upgrades in their toilet (bathroom) facilities in recent years, I am happy to report.  However, yesterday, I had one of those "desperate" moments and had to use the public facilities when we finally got to Chinon.  They were truly nasty, smelly and awful and the first cubicle door I opened had one of those no seat, crouch down only jobs.  Aaarghhh.....luckily the one next door with an actual toilet was vacant!

And, predictably, many of the restaurants in Chinon were in fact closed for the bank holiday!

6 comments:

  1. The great thing about France is how such an unpromising building like that can house such a good restaurant. It looks very similar to one where I stopped once, but I cannot remember the name of the village. I would have remembered Lilette for obvious reasons - well, obvious to me anyway.

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    1. I know. It took a few years for me to stop sniggering schoolgirl fashion every time we passed through the village. I now don't think of it.

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  2. I remember those small cafes so well.... but the loos! I well remember my first encounter with a stoop and poop, my husband thought it very funny!

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    1. My mother called them "squatters holes" when she saw them.

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  3. I have heard of 'bank holiday' for some time now (decades) and I have yet to figure out what exactly there are/for. However, they sound quite nice; any reason to have a day off.

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  4. I think "bank holiday" in the U.K. is the equivalent of "federal holiday" in the U.S.

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