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

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Local celebrities

Our encounter with Vouvray’s local motorized police having no serious or costly consequences, we set out on our journey to Preuilly-sur-Claise ; but not without instructing Vera to fasten her seatbelt.

Arriving at the main road that runs along the Loire River, Mats looked in the rear-view mirror and said: “Oh, nice … we have an escort!” While waiting to turn left in the direction of Amboise we saw the policeman who had stopped us driving up the road behind us. He slowed down and stopped beside the car, but didn't even look at us. When the road to Amboise was clear of traffic he headed in the direction of Amboise at great speed. We didn’t see his companion, and supposed that he was off on an urgent call. We followed him at a leisurely pace, still discussing the incident, until we suddenly saw him roaring back in our direction in the opposite lane, peering into the car to check whether Vera was still wearing her safety belt. There is a large roundabout further down the road and we were sure that he had made the run and the U-turn on purpose trying to catch us on some other traffic offence. 

Luckily this was the last we saw of him. However ...

Vouvray - the village bar in on the right,
where you see the 'Tabac' sign.

Two days later, after spending the afternoon at the Garden Festival in Chaumont, I went to Vouvray’s local bar to have a drink and buy some stamps for my postcards. I was chatting with Valerie, the young landlady, when I noticed that one of the patrons by the bar was staring at the seams of my trousers. I looked at him, inquiringly. He smiled and said “Madame, vous allez perdre votre pantalon.” (Madam, you are going to lose your trousers). At first I felt slightly offended, because I don’t like that kind of talk. But then he added: “... car vous n’avez pas attaché votre ceinture!” (... because you haven’t fastened your belt!) 
I immediately knew that he was referring to our encounter with the local police. I quickly learned that his sister had witnessed the whole incident and had reported about it to the rest of the village. You can say that for the last 48 hours we had been the ‘talk of the town’; celebrities so to speak! 
The people in the village were very angry about the whole incident, and found it bad enough that the local population was being ‘harassed’ by the police. The fact that they even ‘bothered’ tourists’, who, beside the wine, are their main source of income, was considered as being over the top. 
I’m sure that, even days after we had left, the village was still talking about our ‘ordeal’ and the next time that they see a tourist being stopped by the police, the story of the ‘Swedish’ car will surface again ... and that they will recognize me and give me a warm welcome when I return to Vouvray.


Susan said...

How funny! Valérie recognises us too now. I always think there are many more advantages than disadvantages to everyone knowing your business in a small town.

Louise said...

How charming! Fancy being a "celebrity" because of the local "swans" !!

GaynorB said...

Famous or infamous?

Perhaps you've (or Mats, if the car was registered in his name) been put on an Interpol 'wanted' list. Do they serve Vouvray in the prison cells. I wonder?

Carolyn said...

Martine, you know how to make a splash.

Bob said...

I have been away for awhile and getting caught up on your adventure. It is never fun to encounter law enforcement in another country. I wonder how many we're arrested for miscommunications!! We are not all fortunate enought to have someone like you to speak several languages. Well, you always need a good story to tell about you trip. Great story.

Mark said...

You're famous now! Maybe they'll put up a statue in your honor and rename the town? You never know!

The Beaver said...

If only those policemen can guide traffic further down the street where there is a pizzeria and the traitor-charcuterie shop. On the day , we were there, enjoying lunch before visiting some wineries, we saw two buses going in the wrong direction and having to do a U-turn and smashing the "bornes" in the process.

Four yrs ago , we were stopped in Burgundy - when hubby showed his driver's license - we told " Merci et bonne route" w/o any explanation. Later that day , we found out that they were looking for a car similar like ours but coming from Marseille ( two Corsican drug traffickers were on the run)

VirginiaC said...

Hello Ms. Celebrity!!! That is a story for the books.

Niall & Antoinette said...

LOL! So you're famous now ;-)
Les flics were hanging around the large roundabout on the way towards Amboise last week as well. Had just come from Chateau Gaudrelle with friend having bought some wine. Quite glad I let her do most of the tasting!

The Beaver said...

Oops just saw my mistake ( or Blogger 's correction !!! when I type)

I typed "traiteur"-charcuterie and it came out "traitor'

ladybird said...

Susan, Valérie is really charming and the perfect landlady!

Louise, I would have liked becoming a local celebrity but for different reasons ;))

Gaynor, I don't think so. So I'd better not end up in a French prison cell!

Carolyn, Thanks! Lol!

Bob, Thank you. Speaking the 'lingo' does help, but can also have the opposite effect.

Mark, Then they would have to change the name to the local wine too. "Would you care for a glass of 'ladybird'?"

TB, The street corner at the pizzaria is very tricky indeed. That's probably why the 'flics' never come near it ... in fear of their own health.

Virginia, It has found its way to the internet yet. So, who knows, ... next step ... Vouvray's local history book ;)

N&A, From what the locals said, the flics are very active, espeacially on a sunny day. Better be careful and stick to water! Yikes. lol