We found a ‘watering hole’ in the next village: Chaumont-sur-Tharonne. Despite its fancy name, the village didn’t have a castle. It did have a nice church, a mini-market, a pharmacist and … a bar with a tiny sidewalk terrace. There was also a nice and shady village square, where we could park the car at only a few steps from the bar.
Across the road was what looked like a nice restaurant with ‘colombages’, a feature you would rather expect to find in Normandy. There were people having lunch on the terrace of the restaurant and the aroma’s that drifted from the open door were very tantalizing indeed. By then it was half past twelve and we hadn’t eaten anything since our brief stop at the service station north of Paris.
For a second I considered inviting my friends across the road and have lunch there and then. But then I remembered that B. had told me that she had taken the trouble of making some fresh bolognaise sauce, and we were going to have that with spaghetti when we got to their house. So we settled down for a quiet and refreshing drink. I asked for a ‘pression’, a draft lager beer, which turned out to be a Loburg. Loburg is Inbev’s (Belgian) equivalent to the Danish Carlsberg and Turborg beers. It was strange to find it in this tiny French village, because, as far as I know, you can no longer get in Belgium. Not even in Leuven, which is the hometown of Inbev!
B. and J.L. both had a chilled white wine. We were sipping our drinks, sitting in the sun and enjoying the silence of the village square. Every now and then the peace and quiet were disturbed by a passing car and at half past twelve the church bells chimed. But apart from these occasional noises, the square was a heaven of peace. And it looked so pristine; you could almost eat from the street.
We set out on the last lap of our trip to the Loire Valley ... I was impatient to get to our destination, as I was really curious about seeing B. an J.L.'s holiday home. Would it be as nice as the photos I had seen?