Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Friday, 18 September 2009

A day of sightseeing and local cuisine - 2

That morning in Colmar, it looked as if everybody was on holiday. The whole atmosphere around town was relaxed and cheerful. People were strolling around, not bothered by traffic and everybody seemed to be having a really good time. The only vehicles that you’ll meet while wandering through the old town centre are the little tourist trains and silent electrical buses, occasionally ringing a bell – instead of blowing an aggressive horn – to announce their presence, leaving you ample time to clear the road for their passage.
After sharing a ‘Tarte Flambée’ on a waterside terrace, it was time to head back to the restaurant for lunch. We were greeted by a friendly waiter who was the spitting image of the French actor Philippe Noiret in the film ‘Alexandre le Bienheureux’. If you’re familiar with French cinema, you’ll certainly know who I mean.

The restaurant 'Les Trois Poissons' in Colmar
We had a Crémant d’Alsace, a local sparkling white wine, not unlike Loire Valley Vouvray as aperitif. The waiter brought us the menu and explained the suggestions. There was fresh Dover sole, skate and ‘moules de bouchots’. I decided to take the sole, although it was rather expensive (what the h…, we were on holiday, weren’t we?) and my friend chose the skate. Being loyal to the Loire Valley wines, we had a chilled Saumur Champigny and half a bottle of bubbly mineral water to accompany our meal.
The restaurant wasn’t very busy, which slightly worried us. Yet, it turned out that there was no need to be alarmed as it filled up nicely during lunch. The sole came as I like it, ‘Meunière’ style (miller’s wife fashion), which means very lightly coated in flower and baked in sizzling butter until golden brown. The skate was served with a melted butter sauce, enhanced with capers.
By the time we had finished our fish, all the tables in the restaurant were taken. It was reassuring to hear from the conversations that most people were locals, not tourists. This confirmed the excellent comments I had read on the internet about ‘Les Trois Poissons’.
We decided to skip dessert and just have a coffee to top off our delicious meal. After paying the bill we left the restaurant, kindly escorted to the door by the waiter who wished us a pleasant afternoon.

We walked back to the parking lot following the little canal and thus discovering what was left of the old ramparts. Leaving town in the direction of Turckeim, we saw this drawing of Bartholdi and his famous Statue of Liberty on the façade of one of the houses. Colmar is clearly proud of his illustrious son.

Turckheim, the picturesque village I’ve written about in my post about the storks, turned out to be the scene of the annual ‘Course des côtes’. This is a speed race of pumped-up little city cars such as Peugeot 206, Opel Corsa, Renault Clio etc. through the Vosges massif. They make a hell of a noise and certainly pollute the whole area. We saw three of them take off on their hellish ride, two of which were brought back half an hour later on the back of a truck, with their front sides and windshields smashed.
We quickly did some charcuterie and baguette shopping for our picnic dinner, and left Turckheim without seeing any of its famous storks. If I’d been a stork, I would have fled the village too - to escape from the noise and the smoke - to come back only after the racing cars had left and peace and quiet had returned to the village.

15, Quai de la Poissonnerie
38000 COLMAR

Tél. +33 3 89 41 25 21


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