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

Monday, 28 May 2012

Another booking and more accent stuff

After booking a table at the Lion D’Or in Amboise, I made a second call; this one regarding our lunch on Tuesday. Tuesday is the only day that we’ll venture West of Tours. The main reasons for going that way is the market in Bourgeuil, the village of Candes Saint-Martin, some Saumur Champigny wine tasting (and buying) and – on the way back, a visit of the castle and the gardens of Villandry. 

Why these particular places? 

Bourgeuil: because of the weekly market. I want to pay a visit to the honey lady with whom I have been shopping for the last 12 last. I need some honey for my mother and two bottles of honey vinegar, one spiced with garlic and the other with sage. Excellent for making vinaigrettes. 

Candes Saint-Martin: to admire the to me most beautiful view in the Loire Valley, the confluent of the Loire and the Vienne River. And to pay a visit to my favourite Saint: Saint Martin of Tours. 

Saumur-Champigny: my favourite wine, as you know by now!! 

Villandry: the gardens are an absolute must and I also like to shop in one of the out-buildings where local artists are selling their creations: jewelry, hand-painted silk scarves, trinkets, etc... I also would like to return to the Epicerie Gourmande, a wine bar that also sells teas, goat’s cheese, salami, etc. 

We’ll have a brief stop at Ussé, to make some photos of Sleeping Beauty’s castle and maybe at Langeais if we are not too tired and if my friends are interested. 

We’ll have lunch in Turquant, just up the road from Candes. On the way we can stop at Montsoreau or visit the soap factory of Martin de Candre. I’ve seen all these places before, on several occasions even. So it’ll depend on my friends’ interests if or where we stop.

The restaurant in Turquant is called ‘L’Hélianthe’. I’ve been there on two previous occasions, in 2008 with my friend C. and in 2010 with my friends Béa and Jean-Luc. The place is just great; a troglodyte cave that has been decorated in a simple, yet very attractive and inviting way. Food is delicious and the bill gentle! The restaurant has a tiny outdoor terrace – only three miniscule round tables. When I made my reservation – this time the man didn’t comment on my accent – I insisted on having apéros on the terrace weather permitting.

The inteior of L'Hélianthe, with a nice mezzanine.
The chairs look - and are - rather uncomfortable.
But the food makes up for it!

When we ate at L’Hélianthe in 2010 the terrace furniture was safely tucked away inside, despite the fact that the sun was out and the temperatures were quite pleasant. The reason was obvious though, because some serious renovation work was being done at the Marie across the road (2m wide!). The masons were cutting the white ‘tuffeau’ stones with an electric circular saw, creating a lot of noise and dust. However, at about the same time we arrived, they stopped working and set out to have lunch in a nearby bar. I therefore asked the manager whether it was possible to put one of the small tables and three chairs on the tiny terrace for us to have our aperitif alfresco. The manager was all smiles and very helpful and asked one of the waiters to take care of it. However … and here’s the ‘accent-stuff’ again, he jokingly added: “I guess these good people don’t get much sun in Brussels!”

2010: The 'Mairie' under reconstruction.
I guess the work will be done by now.

I gave him a big smile and said: “That’s why we come to the Loire Valley, to have some.” At the end of our delicious meal the manager bought us a drink! The Touraine is such a great place and the people are kind and have a great sense of humour … especially if you speak the lingo, even – or especially? – when you have a Belgian accent … You should try it!


chm said...

All this looks pretty interesting. When your trip is over, you’ll be so exhausted you won’t be able to go back to work. Hope you managed to get some extra vacation so you can rest from your vacation.

It seems it’s going to be quite a party at S&S’s on June 6th. Can’t wait to meet or see all these people whose comments I have been reading over the years on various blogs.

Leon and Sue Sims said...

You going to have such a great time Martine.
We will be back in Melbourne and be just as jealous as you were with us.
We might even be jealous of the lovely Loire weather while back at "Melbourne our home by the bay" in mid winter. You can't believe how cold it gets in Melbourne in the depths of winter. We sometimes get zero celsius. (LOL).
Have a great time.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Martine, I have just left a message on Leon And Sue's blog, as a blogger friend (now a friend) who lives in France, met them the other week. My friend Diane (who I have met) has made France their permenant home.. she has a fantastic blog.

The Broad said...

I would love to try out a Belgian accent -- if only I knew what made it different!!! ;-)

Your upcoming trip sounds just wonderful and once again I wish you Bon voyage!

Louise said...

Martine, what a thrill to read about your plans. I know all of the places you are going to visit. I actually have a photo I took at Villandry as my screen saver!

Nadege said...

From your descriptions about the trip to the UK last year, I know you are taking care of all the details and you are going to have good time in the Loire. I hope the weather will cooperate too.

Sheila said...

I love your new header photo.
Definitely a keeper. Sounds
like you are going to have
a wonderful (well organized)

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Sounds like you are well planned and each stop has a very organised meaning. Love the look of the restaurant and the interior décor. Looking for ward to the 6th :) Diane

Anonymous said...

Hoping you have a great time in the Loire, which I'm sure you will. Looking forward to all the photos and your wonderful descriptions. Bon voyage.

ladybird said...

Chm, How did you know? I indeed took two extra days off from work, simply to recuperate from this exhausting vacation. LOL. Have a safe journey down to Blois tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

L&S, I've just read your blog and learned that you got home in one piece, except for the foie gras. We'll be toasting at your health on Wednesday at S&S's BBQ party. Hope the day will remain dry, although I've heard that Susan has a plan B, just in case!

Anne, Thank you. Diane and I have become blog friends a couple of months ago and we'll be meeting for the first time next Wednesday in France. Wish you could be there too!

Kathie, When the French try to imitate the Belgian accent, they're always 'overdoing' it. I bet you would be just great at it!

Louise, Villandry is awesome ... Just hope it doesn't rain when we are there. I don't care much for the castle, and especially not that awful gallery with all the 'morbid' paintings. The gardens are fabulous though.

Nadege, Lovely to read you. The weather is my main concern right now. That and the fact that my friends will think that I'm a control freak :)!

Sheila, Thank you. It is a nice photo but I hope that soon I'll have many more photos of all these lovely spots in the Loire Valley to use as headers.

Diane, So I'm I. I'm so greatful to S&S for organizing Wednesday's party. See you then!

Veronica, Thanks! I intend to shoot a lot of photos. Mats will probably declare me crazy, like he did last year in Deal/Charing! :)