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

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Lunch at L’Epicerie

During our Sunday tour of the market of Amboise we bought some pork rillettes, three delicious slices of ‘Jambon à l’os’ (bone ham), a Selles-sur-Cher goat’s cheese, two ripe and juicy Charente melons and a baguette.

We stored these items in the cool box in the car and drove to the ‘Parking du Château’, a large free car park situated between the château and the Place Richelieu. By the time we got there, it was 1 p.m. and most of the people who had come in from the neighbouring villages to do their weekly market shopping, were about to leave.

Part of the car park: 'Parking du Château'

It’s only a short walk from the car park to the Place Michel Debré and the château. The ‘Place’ is not really a square but more something like a normal street, with the château on one side and several restaurants, bars and (souvenir)shops on the other. Before going to the Café du Château for our aperitif, I stopped at ‘L’Epicerie’, one of the better restaurants in the square, to book a table for three. The waiter insisted on us being there before 2 p.m.

Having a drink at the Café du Château on arriving in Amboise has become part of a tradition that my friend and I have kept up since our first visit in 1999. It was therefore very strange sitting there without him. We all had a glass of (Belgian) Leffe beer, before returning to the restaurant for lunch. Although the air was still a bit chilly, we decided to eat alfresco, where we could watch the tourist crowds walk by.

Terrace of  l'Epicerie'.
In the background, the entrance to the 'Cave des Vignerons'

J.L. had a rabbit’s leg in mustard sauce with tagliatelli, B. choose a ‘Salade folle’ (green salad with smoked duck breast and foie gras) and I had an ‘omelette aux fines herbes’ (omelette with garden herbs) and ‘pommes dauphines’. The latter were rather disappointing as they didn’t look like pommes dauphines at all. Moreover, they were very greasy and foul tasting. I left most of them and ate my omelette, which by the way was excellent, with some slices of baguette.

We washed our meal down with a ‘François Ier’ red wine, an AOC Touraine Amboise. It was slightly chilled and very refreshing. Restored and rested we set out to visit the château. Although it was my third visit of the castle – the first goes way back to 1999 – I got to see it in a completely different way this time.

Before setting out on this trip I didn’t know that my friends like to take their time to visit places and sites. I wouldn’t call it ‘slow travel’, because that’s a concept in its own right. No, J.L. and B. like to explore every inch of the place, shooting artful photos of features that we usually didn’t even notice. This inspired me to look out for special objects, scenes and sights to point my little hobby camera at. Hence my enormous ‘harvest’ of over 600 photos!

This way of visiting definitely has its merits and advantages. However, it also has the inconvenience of deranging a well-planned and carefully timed program … But what the h … we were on vacation, weren’t we?



The Beaver said...

But what the h … we were on vacation, weren’t we?

That's what I always tell myself.. There is always a "next-time" for scheduled places that we couldn't visit for lack of time..........

ladybird said...

The Beaver, I'm already looking forward to 'the next time' !!