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

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Sun, friends, drinks and sightseeing – part two

Upon my arrival at the Grand’Place last Saturday afternoon around 2.15 p.m. most of the seats on the terrace of ‘La Chaloupe d’Or’ were taken by people finishing a light lunch. I wandered inside and found the place deserted except for a few waiters who were waiting for their orders by the bar.

I went out again hoping that by three there would be room on the terrace for me and my American friends B. and P. I took another stroll around the Place, this time venturing into the open gate of the city hall. It was very hot in the enclosed courtyard, with the June sun heavily beating down on the white stone walls. There were two elegant fountains, representing some ancient god – Neptune by the look of it and the presence of the water spouting fishes.

Neptune? Your guess is as good as mine!

The door in the left wing was open with a red carpet leading up the steps and the chandelier in the hallway brightly lit. The stroller that sat at the bottom of the stairs indicated that there was a baby in the wedding party I had seen on the balcony.

At quarter to three I decided that it was time for me to return to the Chaloupe D’Or hoping to find a table for me and my guests. I was in luck and secured a small table near the railing; in the shade of the red and green parasols that covered the larger part of the terrace. I ordered the house specialty, called a ‘Golden’, which basically is a cocktail containing Campari, white wine, soda water, ice, a slice of orange and a slice of cucumber. I watched the people on the terrace and listened to their conversations. Once again, I was struck by the multitude of languages I heard around me.

The terrace of La Chaloupe d'Or on Saturday afternoon
while I was waiting for my friends.

At the same time I kept an eye on the passers-by. B. had sent me a photo of him and P. and I was pretty confident that I would recognize them, especially as B. had told me that he was very tall and really stood out in a crowd. I hadn’t sent them a photo of myself, but was wearing my green scarf (the one I’m wearing in my profile picture) for them to identify me. This turned out to be a bad idea, in view of the heat. I had therefore attached the scarf to my handbag, hoping it would help my guests to find me.

And all of a sudden they were there. I recognized them immediately. They looked just like in their picture. I waved to them and they joined me at the table where I was sitting. It didn’t take long before we were happily chatting away. It was as if we had known each other for years. They told me about their eventful journey, their plans for the rest of their stay in Europe and the reasons why they – especially B. – were taking this trip down memory lane.

We ordered a second round of drinks and sat on the terrace for well over two hours. It was very hot, but the drinks were refreshing and from time to time a cool breeze brought some welcome air. I gave them the macarons and a small map of Brussels that had I picked up at the tourist office and that showed the main points of interest. Then B. opened his bag pack and took out a beautiful hardcover book containing an amazing collection of stunning photos of the US and … a bag of freshly shelled pecan nuts.

P. suggested I should use the nuts to make a pecan pie. I’m afraid though this is not going to happen, as yesterday my mother and I opened the package and ate almost half of them. They are soooooooo good!


GaynorB said...

It reads like a very enjoyable meeting Martine, and those pecans do look delicious!

The Broad said...

What a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

ladybird said...

Gaynor, The pecans are just great. The best I've ever eaten!

The Broad, I can think of worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. :)

Craig said...

I'm really glad that it went well Martine. There's nothing better than being shown around by a proud local so I'm sure that their holiday was enriched.

ladybird said...

Craig, I think they were impressed by the Grand'Place and that they enjoyed their visit.