Sunday, 1 March 2015

and makes a little list

I haven't done a list for ages, so here's six things I learned on my holidays.

1) I live somewhere which is very beautiful, even in the rain. This is good as it rains. Often and luxuriantly.  Bergerac and the countryside around needed sun to show them at their best.


2) Don't believe all you read/hear about France being a country of intellectuals and serious "talking head" TV. They have their own version of "Come Dine With Me",  "Un diner presque parfait" Scores given for Ambience, Decoration and of course Cuisine. And also "Le Choix" think "Take Me Out" but  with more participants and in a resort, but I didn't really like that and it was on at dinner time. There are also award shows.

not sure which was best; Sean's look of total bewilderment (I don't think he speaks French) 
or Marion's frock

3) There doesn't seem to be the same camaraderie between dog owners in France as here. Most French dogs had their leads tightened and were pulled well away from Dogstarke. And she is no ravening beast.

Interestingly when we were in Ile de Re a couple of years ago we had lots of interaction with fellow dog owners. But we were there slightly ahead of the season and the tourists were  mostly Dutch or German.

this cute dog did want to make friends

4)  It's might be not so common now in Paris, but out in the country people still do have two hour lunch breaks. Museums and shops closed and folk headed home or to the restaurant. Service stations were full of families and single travellers sitting down to a proper lunch. MrS and I were questioned on where our hot dishes were when we paid for our salads and coffees. On non travel days we eschewed the salads and joined them, there's no fun wandering around looking at closed shop windows in the cold. In fact our best meal of the holiday was at lunchtime, at La Tour des Vents, Montbazillac, No wine as MrS was driving (I was providing moral support and he reciprocated by turning down pud., given up by me for Lent). Though he did wolf down all the chocs and canelles that  came with coffee. And Dogstarke was welcomed too!

madeleines and cannelles similar to those described

5)  Those mountains on the Volvic label really do exist! I got quite excited when I spotted them but couldn't take a photo. I didn't think it was such a good idea as I was driving.

Here's a view from the service station instead.

6) Calais gets a bad press. In guide books they say it's just a transit town and has nothing to offer. I don't agree. We arrived late and managed to have a good dinner. OK the first place we tried (both recommended by the nice young concierge at the Mercure hotel) was a bit grumpy and turned us away (kitchen closed)

probably worth a try despite the grumps

but we had fun at the other La Vieux Fourneau, which was full of French families enjoying themselves on a Friday night.

                                                            taken the next morning 

Saturday morning there was a good market in the square which unfortunately we had to forgo. Devoted though he is to cheese and tempting as it was MrS decided it would probably have lost its appeal after 500 miles in the car.
And then who could dislike a place which sold these?

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