On our last day in Paris, we visited Musée de l’Orangerie and marvelled at the old masters … Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, Modigliani … and Pablo Picasso (the photo is just for Devens). Our visit was on Kylie’s recommendation and well worthwhile.
As an aside, it is amazing how some try to jump the queue even when there is obviously only one line.
The day was, for the first time, wet … drizzly wet and not enough to spoil it for us but Les looked a picture with summer shorts, shirt hanging out and a coat!
Again on Kylie’s recommendation, we walked across the Tuileries Garden to have lunch at Le Soufflé. Joy had a Cheese soufflé and Les the Beef Bourguignon followed by Caramel & Rhubarb. Delicious!
A cab to the airport took 70 minutes in horrendous traffic (the start of their holiday season), the BA flight was late arriving and landing, a walk to our hotel, a late snack, and an early morning sleep.
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The gallery is only a selection of our photos for this blog. There are more on our Flickr site
A slow start this morning and then a visit to BNP Paribus – a long story that will have to wait.
A taxi to the 6th Arrondisement (Saint-Germain des Prés) sometime before our lunch appointment, so time for a spot of shopping before arriving at Restaurant Helene Darroze. This restaurant was recommended to us by the ladies at La Grande Maison. It is Michelin starred but we haven’t determined how many. We had emailed for a reservation and been given a lunch spot; their evening reservations are hard to get. In addition to fine dining (La Salle à Manger), there is a tapas option in Le Salon.
We chose a ‘main’ course, and the chef selected two starters and a dessert; a cheese course came as always in France, before desert. Joy loves that! The food was brilliant, service was spot on and our experience was wonderful.
After lunch, we walked back to Madeleine via Le Soufflé (securing a lunch reservation for tomorrow; they had not replied to our email!).
The other restaurant we had tried to secure a reservation was L’Astrance in Passy. Our position on the wait list never advanced.
This morning after a late breakfast, we headed to Musée d’Orsay. Unfortunately the queue was gigantic and slow moving. We resolved to book tickets, (but have been unable to find the right on-line purchase).
So we continued on to the Champs Elysee and the Arc de Triomphe, then back to the hotel. A total distance since departure this morning of 8.5Km. We had not been this way before on foot.
Apart from vacating an outdoor ice cream café due to smoking, all went well.
In the evening, we managed to get a reservation at Le Petit Marche. This little restaurant was recommended to us (by Peter Sullivan in 2009) based on the quality of its fresh produce as well as traditional style. They would have seated 60 and turned over a number of tables. Great food and service with some Asian influences.
A visit to the Touraine and Bourgeuil & St Nicolas de Bourgeuil Region
We are now in routine. Breakfast and out the door by 9.30am back around 5.30pm
First stop today in the opposite direction to yesterday’s samplings, and the first stop was at Chateau du Petit Thouars. It seems like a long time ago as I write this but we arrived at the Chateau to notice the impact of the recent heavy rains. Micaela edged through the gate successfully and our first tasting of the day was underway. We tasted three basic Cabernet Francs and then a premier vintage, 2009. The tasting finished with a Cremant sparkling from Cabernet Franc grapes which was added to our collection (and also later consumed).
Afterwards we viewed some history and wandered up the hill above the caves to the pigeonniere and the vines. We were accompanied by the vineyard dog and his ball.
After yesterday’s experience and with questionable weather again, Micaela opted for lunch in a wine bar in Chinon. The need to park the car on a busy Saturday gave Joy a little time for shopping before Micaela re-joined us.
Next stop was Fredric Mabielau which was in St Nicolas de Bourgeuil. This tasting continued with the predominant red, Cabernet Franc. This vineyard rises from sandy loam up the slopes and this was reflected in the wines we tasted. The final (red) wine was a 2010 Eclipse situated near the forest line at the top of the rise. We then tried their Saumur Blanc from Le Puy Notre Dame vineyard.
As if we had not already appreciated the many varieties of Cabernet Franc available, Domaine des Chevallerie showed us their Cabernet Franc collection of 15 wines in their cave. We were ably led by a lively cellar door lady who capably handled a number of visitor groups very capably. It was her weekend job; she normally works in the cellar labelling wine etc.
Dinner tonight was at La Grande Maison. Two couples have left and a new couple joined us today.
We headed first to Passavant Sur Layon to visit Chateau de Passavant for a tasting of organically produced Anjou white, rosé, and red. A small family vineyard with amazingly low prices.
Then a picnic in the Layon area by the banks of the river. A great spread was produced but the highlight was the collapse of the table setting as Les joined Joy on one side of the table! There has been a lot of rain in the Loire so the table really didn’t collapse, rather the supports sank into the soft earth.
Then on to Domaine de L’Elu to try Anjou Appellation wines from vines around Aubin sur Luigne. This was another young organic producer with experience in Champagne and Provence. I think we have mentioned that there are two grape varieties in the Loire – red Cabernet Franc and white Chenin Blanc. What is amazing is the impact that terroir (growing conditions – soil & climate) has on the wine. The result is a large variety of examples that make for amazing taste experiences – similar to what we experience in Burgundy. Here there were also examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and Rosé.
Domaine Soucherie was a much larger but still newish producer. Here we had a tasting of Anjou and Savennieres Appellation wines – and found a desert wine, Chaume 2009 that approached our Dolcé favourite. Of course we are restricted, but that became a purchase (€25 for 750ml).
At the end of a long but very interesting day, we headed back some distance to La Grande Maison with Les struggling to keep his eyes open. The weather was overcast, sunny, and then the rain came as we were heading home.
Dinner in Le Puy Notre Dame (10 minutes drive) opposite the huge (relative to its surroundings) church which is the centre of the appellation by that name.
We returned for a drink with our hosts and fellow residents in the vineyard as the sun set on this solstice day.. It was 10.30pm.