It has been brought to my attention (thanks, honey!) that I’ve been neglecting this space lately. Okay, for a while. I vow to do better. So I’m going to provide updates on what we’ve been up to, but I’m afraid they’re going to go in reverse chronological order. Sorry about that. Please bear with me. Let’s start with last week, when we went to a family wedding in the Touraine region.
We took the high-speed train to Tours, then drove to our hotel in Angles sur l’Anglin, one of the 100 most beautiful villages in France. The tiny boutique hotel was sublime, with vines crawling between the shuttered windows and an enclosed courtyard and garden that made us feel like we were out in the countryside, not mere steps from the village center. Lucky us, we had a gift voucher that upgraded us to a suite, so we enjoyed a positively massive room with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a sitting area. It was way more space than two people needed, but it was the last room available, so we made do. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant that night, which was wonderful.
The following day, we visited a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Abbey of Saint-Savin in Poitou-Charentes. The abbey’s mural paintings are of particular beauty and significance. As you follow the ceiling mural from one scene to the next, you see images of the major stories from the First Testament. In the 11th and 12th centuries, during which they were painted, not everyone could read. These ceiling murals were intended to be a learning tool, a primer to the Bible for those who didn’t have a copy of their own, an idea first put forth by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century, who said that Christian images should serve as a Bible for the illiterate (the first “For Dummies” book!).
We also made a stop at Cadieu, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the same village. Our friend Leah referred to me as a “foodie” recently, a label that surprised me a little, but I suppose I can’t really argue. In my defense, though, living in France is wasted on you if you can’t work up some enthusiasm for the cuisine. And working up some enthusiasm was no trouble at all here. The restaurant is out of this world, but the prices aren’t, with a three course lunch at a completely reasonable €21. But since we aren’t really known for being reasonable, we didn’t order that. I’ll let the pictures (and their descriptions) at right, under “photos” speak for themselves, but I will tell you that if you ever have the opportunity to order lobster served with butter froth, fried basil and garnished with a strip of bacon, you should do it. Don’t hesitate. We spent what remained of the afternoon getting facials (yes, Johann too!) at the famous La Roche-Posay spa and enjoying its pool and sauna.
The following day we visited Roc-Aux-Sorciers, a site where fantastically preserved rock carvings from 15,000 years ago were found. Prehistoric people carved a spectacular 20 meter-long parade of bisons, ibex, horses and female figures (hunting and ladies probably being the most exciting stuff around for early cave-dwellers). The site was first discovered in 1950 and now has a wonderful visitors’ center and a very high-tech presentation that explained the carvings’ methods and meanings. After lunch at a nearby crepe restaurant with a view of the village castle, it was time to get ready for the wedding. Again, I’ll let the photos do the talking here but will just add a last “felicitations!” to the happy couple, Sebastien and Corrine.
On our last full day in the region, we hit another Michelin-starred restaurant, which was about an hour’s drive from where we were staying. Château de Curzay was worth it, and I highly recommend a stay if you’re ever in the area. The château has 22 magnificent bedrooms, luxurious common rooms (see photos!) that really make you feel as if you’ve been transported back in time and 300 acres of land with trails for walking or horseback riding. There’s also a pool, and did I mention the restaurant? I had surf (yes, lobster again), he had turf, and the feast was such that we needed a VERY long walk in the woods afterwards to work it off. The rest of the day involved ooh-ing and aah-ing at the castles and fields of sunflowers we went by on our way back.
So there you have it! Hope you like the pictures. Next up: our visit from Rob and Leah.