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

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Loire-Lorraine connection

When we were in Loches in May, I noticed this decorative manhole cover. It looked like a gigantic medieval medallion or shield. What really attracted my attention though was the name on it: Pont-à-Mousson. Pont-à-Mousson is one of our favourite towns in the Lorrain area, in North-eastern France. It’s a provincial type of town halfway between the larger cities of Metz in the north and Nancy in the south.

Looks a bit like a medieval medallion, doesn't it?

We accidentally discovered the town during our first Lorraine trip sometime in the nineties. We had booked a hotel near Lunéville, where you’ll find the famous château that’s also known as ‘le Petit Versailles’ because of the resemblance it bears with the famous Palace that Louis XIV had built just outside of Paris.

We had no particular reason to leave the motorway in Pont-à-Mousson, except that it was raining cats and dogs. Due to the poor visibility driving conditions were dangerous. We felt it would be much safer on the smaller roads where there were fewer trucks. Following the signs ‘centre ville’ we arrived at a large almost triangular town square. Two sides are lined with arcades beneath which shops, cafés and restaurants are located. It was almost lunchtime and we decided this was as good a place as any to have a bite to eat. By the time we had parked the car, the rain had stopped and we took a walk around the square to see whether we could find a nice, yet affordable restaurant.

Pont-à-Mousson's town square.

All through our walk we could smell the tantalizing aroma of grilled meat. We stopped at several restaurants to study the menu card, hoping to find the source of this appetizing aroma. When we finally found it, we couldn’t have been more surprised. The façade of the restaurant was hardly three meters wide. In the front room were four tables and behind it half of the room was occupied by a large counter with a row of tables along the opposite wall. The room was packed with people and there was a very cheery atmosphere.

to be continued


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