Beside lunches with friends on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, our programme also includes two lunches in restaurants that I definitely want to go to. The first one is the Lion d’Or at the foot of Amboise castle. We’ve never eaten there in the12 years we visited Amboise, simply because the restaurant looked really old and not very inviting. While preparing this year’s trip I checked the website of the Amboise tourist office and found that the place has changed a lot, with a new interior and a very attractive menu. Comments on Tripadvisor and L’internaute give the restaurant a good to excellent rating, although one or two people complained about the service being slow and one dish being under or over cooked. But because accidents can happen or the chef can have an off day, I decided to ignore these bad comments and book a table at the Lion d’Or on the day of our arrival.
2010: Amboise castle.
The restaurant is in the row of house in the left bottom corner, facing the Loire River.
If I am to judge the restaurant by the tone of the phone call I made to book our table, we are in for a good time. The man on the phone sounded very welcoming. When I told him that I was calling from Belgium and would be in Amboise around 1 p.m. next Sunday, after leaving Brussels at 5 in the morning, he immediately answered by saying that he recognized the accent! This is very common ‘practice’ in France. The French like making fun of our accent. In the ‘early’ years this really upset me and I tended to riposte by saying ‘I would like to hear you speaking Flemish!’ That always used to shut them up, but it didn’t really make me popular. Nowadays I simply smile and say ‘I recognize your accent too!’ First they are startled: ‘I have an accent?’ And then they realize that it’s just a joke. ‘Of course, you have. To us, you French have an accent too!’ And we all have a good laugh about it and the ice is broken.
The man at the Lion D’Or was no different. He just couldn’t stop laughing. When he asked me for a phone number, I deliberately pronounced 77 as ‘septante sept’ (the Belgian way) instead of 'soixante dix sept' (the French way). This resulted in another salvo of laughter on the other end of the phone. Before hanging up, the man wished us a pleasant and safe journey and said that he was looking forward to seeing us on Sunday! Just hope the food will be as good as the man’s sense of humour!
More about the second booking I made in my next post.