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

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Begging for bread

This year’s first complete day in the Loire Valley, was rather a busy one; with my travelling companions visiting de castles of Chenonceau and Montpoupon and me spending the day with my French friends in Francueil. It was in fact so busy that none of us thought of buying a baguette for our evening picnic. So much for me trying to be the perfect tour guide! We still had some ham, cheese and rillettes left from the previous day. And as far as wine was concerned, we had the remaining five bottles of Françoise I, Amboise Touraine, from the Cave des Vignerons.

By the time we got back to Vouvray, and after having a beer on the terrace of the village bar ‘Le Bouchon’ with Susan and Simon, all the bakeries in the village had closed for the evening. Although we weren’t very hungry after the delicious and copious lunches we had eaten, we didn’t want to go to bed on an empty stomach. What were we to do?

Le Bouchon (Tabac sign), the village bar in Vouvray.

J.L. suggested that we’d ask the lady of the chambre d’hôtes whether there was any bread left from breakfast. It seemed a good idea, but then I remembered that she had told us last year that the daily maid, who has three sons, usually gets the surplus of bread and croissants.

From our previous stays in Vouvray I knew that the bar also served a daily workman’s lunch. So maybe Valerie, the young lady who runs the bar, had a piece of bread she could spare. It seemed a bit strange to ask her, though, and we tried to think of another option. There was the pizzeria a bit further down the road. Maybe we could get a takeaway pizza … No, we discarded that option, as it would be a pity to let the excellent ham and other food items go to waste.

Finally I mustered all my courage and walked into the bar. There was only one patron sitting at the bar, chatting with Valerie. I attracted her attention. When she came over I said, rather embarrassed: “I know this is a strange thing to ask, but do you have some bread we could buy from you?” She looked puzzled, so I explained our problem.

“I’ll see what I’ve got” she said and went into the backroom. She was back in a jiffy. “Will this do?’ she asked waving half a baguette in the air. “That’s just fine. How much do I owe you?” I answered. “It’s on the house.” she replied. I thanked her for her kindness and walked out into the street to show my ‘loot’ to my friends. We decided to have another drink, to make up for Valerie’s generosity.

It was well over half past eight and getting rather chilly when we walked back to our chambre d’hôtes to ‘feast’ on our ‘demi-baguette’. We spent the rest of evening eating and talking about what we had done and seen during the day. By half past ten we decided to break up the party and go to bed, as Tuesday promised to be another busy day, starting with an hour’s drive to Bourgueil.

Have you ever been in a similar situation where you had to improvise and do something you normally wouldn’t even consider doing in everyday life?



Leon and Sue Sims said...

Loving your stories as for embarassing moments, I have them every day.

ladybird said...

Leon, lol!