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

Monday, 14 June 2010


After spending some time in the artisan village of Turquant, we drove back to Candes Saint Martin. On the way I wanted to attract my friends’ attention to the ‘Aigue Marine’ a former river barge that has been transformed into a restaurant. You may remember me posting about it last year. At the time we had even considered having lunch there. However, two things stopped us from doing so. The menu card was rather limited, with very basic dishes. And there was a stiff wind blowing from the river. It had already knocked over two parasols and paper napkins were scattered all over the deck. It looked uncomfortably chilly and windy. “Well, maybe next year.” I’m quite sure that’s what we said to each other then.

L'Aigue Marine in 2009

The boat is moored between Montsoreau castle and the village’s main roundabout. Or better, it was … As this year, it had vanished. The sign on the quay announcing the presence of the vessel was still there, but the boat itself had gone. I don’t think it had gone sailing, as it never looked that ‘river-worthy’ to me. Or maybe it’s a seasonal thing; you know the kind of tourist attraction that’s only operational in summer.

Back home I googled the restaurant’s name. It hasn’t a website of its own, but is mentioned in most online restaurant directories. One clearly states that the restaurant is open all year round, even mentioning the dates: from 1/01/2010 till 31/12/2010. Booking is required for groups. The Montsoreau website, however, says that it’s closed from November till March.

So I wonder what has happened. Unless my eyesight is failing, there was no sign of the boat when we were in Montsoreau in May. Has it been relocated? Or simply towed away because it was in a poor condition? Or did it sink? I haven’t found any local press article mentioning a fire or other catastrophe aboard the ‘Aigue Marine’. So the mystery remains.

I’m really curious to find out what became of it as it was an important landmark on that particular stretch of river. If you’re living in the area or vacationing near Montsoreau you may be able to help me solve this mystery …


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