PICTURE POSTCARD!

LA BELLE FRANCE

Roses, bales and vines in Loire

Roses, bales and vines in Loire

Just a short word (honestly)! –  On Sunday morning as I was driving from Le Puy Notre Dame into Doué la Fontaine, for my Bar Preservation Society meeting, I just had to stop the car and pull over to take this picture of one of the regions beautiful rolling rose fields, alongside the  baled hay with vineyards in the background.  It conjures up dreamlike days and is pure picture postcard France at its best! Doué la Fontaine is home of the rose and is grown here in enormous numbers and varieties and celebrated annually in a superbly scented and colourful festival called  les Journées de la Rose to which people come not only from all over France, but from all over the world.  The picture really sums up the small region around Le Puy Notre Dame, roses, wine and agriculture.  We have many guests in our holiday accommodation who often say that the region is picture postcard France and they are right.  The Loire in general is quite flat being all about the majestic river, (at least when it has any water in it!).  But in the wine appellation regions scattered along its length you suddenly start to see vine covered slopes and fantastic views.  All you have to do is to spend a little time exploring the little lanes and  byways.

Anyway, hope you share my pleasure of this snap!

A+ Brian

Gîtes du val de Loire

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Le P’tit Resto, Saumur

If you are the sort of holidaymaker that rushes around from point A to point B or who spends all the time snapping pretty, evocative pictures then the chances are that in walking up to the flashy Auberges and Brasseries further up the street into la Place St-Pierre, Saumur, you will have missed “Le P’tit Resto” in rue de la Tonnelle completely – unless you read this blog of course!

The entrance is quite inconspicuous, there are no tables and parasols outside and no sign of busy waiters and waitresses bustling around serving food with the great “voila” which is a necessary ingredient of French panache.  If you stick your head through the door you will find no attempt to create a historical facimile.  If you go a bit further you will also see that the menu is restricted and the meat almost entirely composed of cheaper cuts, no Cote de Boeuf  here. This is the sort of cooking which our grandmothers, back in the UK, were so adept at preparing particularly in the lean years after the war. Ironically of course it is now the height of foody fashion.

interior of restaurant

Interior

So, why have I put it on this blog and on our restaurant review?  Because, simply, “Le P’tit Resto” is a Saumur institution!  Generations of office and manual workers have filled this small restaurant for years.  (One of the menus is simple called le Menu des Ouvriers, the workers menu),  and the reasons for this popularity are simple:-  it’s good, honest local food at a very affordable price, cooked and served with a smiling proficiency by the husband and wife team of Claude and Brigitte Frémont. Claude does the cooking in the open kitchen with his grills and ovens  for all to see adding to the convivial atmosphere and Brigette bustles around the tables single-handedly with cheerful politeness and efficiency .  The ‘Plat de Jour’ price is €7.80 and the set menus start at €9.80 with wine included, no wine list of course, just excellent, honest Saumur rouge, blanc or rosé by the pitcher.  Each menu starts with a visit to a groaning buffet table for your entrées followed by the main course, served at the table, afterwards a huge plateau of assorted cheese appears being shared around the tables and then the desserts, an example being Panacotta with a Coulis de Framboise, which is just delicious. There are a few options including steak if you don’t fancy the day’s fixed menus which will feature thing like:- Boudon Noir, Andouillette and Tagine de Agneau. Incidentally, the restaurant is only open at lunchtime, 1130 – 1400.

There will be those, of course, who will bemoan the lack of “theme” and the fact that there is no attempt to serve food which may have more appeal to the tourist hordes which descends on Saumur.  These people can be safely ignored because they are really missing the point which is that the restaurant is a fine example of traditional, french, regional cuisine which quietly goes its own way supported by its multitude of devotees.  In fact, it is so popular that unless you are there by midday the chances are that you will be asked to go away and come back half an hour later.  All these diners can’t be wrong!!

à bientôt

Brian

Gites in Loire Valley and Loire wine tours  See all our restaurant reviews