According to my friend the French for ‘vole’ is ‘rat mulot’ … although he isn’t quite sure. But never mind that. What’s important is that the name ‘rat mulot’ brought back some happy memories from last year’s Loire Valley trip.
On our way back home we usually stay overnight in the Champagne or Paris region. Last year, I had found a cute chambre d’hôtes in the ‘Prince’s town’ of Chantilly, just north of Paris. To get there, we could either drive straight through Paris – something I like to avoid – or take an alternative route leading us around the French capital by either the east or the west side. The west seemed the shortest and most logical option. Our itinerary led us through a lovely riverside village, called Triel-sur-Seine, which peacefully lays in one of the meanders of the Seine River.
A quick internet search revealed that Triel had several restaurants, two of which looked very attractive. The first was called ‘Auberge Saint Martin’, near the village church. It was described as ‘gastronomic’ and the restaurant’s website showed some photos of a very elegant and classy interior. We were tempted … Time has shown however that we are never very hungry after a week in the Loire Valley where food and wine are abundant and excellent! So we decided to go for the more relaxed atmosphere and everyday-kind-of-food of a place called ’La Grange du Petit Rat Mulot’.
Mauricette, our faithful GPS, had some trouble finding Triel. Luckily, we had a roadmap and two pair of eyes to find our way through the jungle of signs that hang over the multi-lane roads around Paris.
June 2009: the 'Mairie' of Triel-sur-Seine
Triel-sur-Seine turned out to be a charming village, or should I say small town. ‘La Grange’ was located on the main road right across the ‘Mairie’. We parked the car in front of a butcher’s shop and went in to buy some ‘charcuterie’ for our picnic supper later that day at the chambre d’hôtes. While we were putting our purchases in the cool box in the car, we saw a group of twelve people crossing the road and pushing the restaurant’s door. By the time we arrived, all the tables had been taken. We were greeted by a very friendly girl who said that, unfortunately for us, the restaurant was full. My friend then produced his most charming smile and said: “But we’ve come all the way from Brussels to eat in your restaurant.” Somehow the girl seemed to believe him and said that we could come back in 45 minutes. As soon as someone left, she would hold the table for us.
Forty five minutes isn’t a very long time and we were in no hurry as the landlord of the chambre d’hôtes didn’t expect us before 5 p.m. We therefore decided to have an aperitif in the nearby village bar.
(to be continued)