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

Monday, 30 September 2013

‘Le XII’ – Part 1

Le ‘XII’ is the name of a fairly new gastronomic restaurant in the village of Luynes. It’s located in the centre of the village along the road that leads up to the castle. I had found it on the internet while preparing this year’s trip to the Loire Valley. I had never heard of it before, but the photos and the menu card looked really inviting and tempting.

I had been particularly charmed by a photo showing a sunny outdoor gravel terrace with rustic garden furniture, and the medieval castle of Luynes in the background. Against one of the chairs stood the ‘ardoise du jour’, a slate on which the daily menu at 12 euro was scribbled in white chalk. It all looked very idyllic and somewhat reminded me of the Château of La Ferté-Milon in the Aisne (02) department in Northern France where we had lunch in the eighties in a restaurant called ‘Les Ruines’. The particularity of the Château of La Ferté-Milon is that it consists of nothing but a façade. Not because it has fallen into ruins, but simply because it’s the only part that was actually built*.

The château of La Ferté-Milon in the village by the same name.
Photo from the internet.

The façade of the castle-to-be, which was commissioned by the Duc d’Orléans in 1398, overlooks the valley of the Ourcq River. With its height of 102 m and length of 38 m it’s very impressive, especially at sundown, when the rays of the sun behind the glass-less windows make it look as if the castle is on fire. The construction of the château was abruptly stopped when the Duc d’Orléans was assassinated on November 23rd, 1407 by John Fearless*. 

After this short parenthesis we will return in my next post to Luynes and ‘Le XII’. The restaurant lived up to our expectations, except for the setting! When I called to book a table, asking whether it was possible to eat al fresco, the young lady simply replied “No”. “Not even an aperitif?” I insisted. Negative! Later I understood why; the restaurant doesn’t have an outdoor terrace and the photo on the website was a clever example of professional Photo shopping!

(*) There is some controversy about whether the construction was stopped after the Duke's assassination or not. If you're interested to learn more about the castle and its history, click here. Sorry no English version available.


The Beaver said...


Isn't that fake terrace misleading as far a running a business is concerned?
It's a bit a "bait and switch" promo.

The Broad said...

I've long been interested in the son of the Duc d'Orleans who was a wonderful poet and prisoner of England's Henry V after Agincourt! Read about him in a fascinating book translated "In a Dark Wood Wandering" by Hella Haase.

Niall & Antoinette said...

I agree with the Beaver- it really is a case of knowingly misleading the client as from what you say they don't have a terrace of any kind!

@Broad - I have a copy :-)

chm said...

Le temps a laissé son manteau
De vent, de froidure et de pluie
Et s'est vêtu de broderie
De soleil riant, clair et beau.

Il n'est ni bête ni oiseau
Qu'en son jargon ne chante ou crie.
Le temps a laissé son manteau
De vent de froidure et de pluie.

VirginiaC said...

You must have been very disappointed.
That is dishonest to advertise their restaurant with photos reflecting things that don't exist.

ladybird said...

TB, Maybe the restaurant did have a terrace for private use by the landlord. But we didn't see it!

Kathy, Now you've made me curious about the Duc. Winter is a super time to plunge oneself into some history reading.

N&A, We were very disappointed indeed, but the excellent meal somehow made up for it.

Chm, Your comments are often a challenge :) I googled the poem and now know a lot more about Louis, Duc 'Orléans who as assassinated by John Fearless and his son Charles who was a gifted poet! Thank you.

Virginia, I think so too. The next time I'll check instead of assuming that the photos are for real.