Wednesday, September 14, 2016
14.09.2016 - 15.09.2016
No alarm so we slept until after eight. We must have needed it. Quick breakfast and out the door. We tried it without GPS today on local roads. Only got lost once and easily caught it. We made one slight detour when we spotted a beautiful windmill off the road. We turned, found it and took pictures, then got back to our road. We drove to Château Brissac-Quince, found parking and were just in time to catch the obligatory French tour.
We caught up with the French tour in the first room, the Grand Salon, and it was a huge group which made photos difficult but the guide was nice about laggards for pictures. It’s a beautiful, nicely furnished and well-cared-for château. Its fame lies in the fact that it is seven stories tall with 204 rooms and is known as the "Giant of the Loire Valley." It has been owned and lived in by the same family since 1502. Although it is a private home, they do allow photos which I truly appreciated. The tour ends in the family wine cellar for a free tasting and you exit through the gift shop where, to my delight, I found muguet soap, my favorite scent. Château Brissac web site
We had planned lunch at the nearby Logis hotel-restaurant but were rather abruptly told they don’t serve food. Wonder what the terrace is for? Rejected, we walked up to the Tourist Office for a restaurant recommendation and got two, one a creperie which we don’t like and the other a gem just down the street. It’s in a historic building and if you sit outside, you have a tiny view through the trees of the château. Aux 2 Terrasses Restaurant has two terraces and limited inside seating. All ingredients are locally sourced and they post their sources on a board inside the restaurant. The kitchen is open to view which is fun and the staff small but attentive. Ed started with a tomato salad with feta and I got rillettes of sardines and goat cheese on toast with a salad. We both ordered beef and pork brochettes with salad and sauteed potatoes. Ed got rum raisin ice cream for dessert and I got pistachio . . . both excellent. Very good meal in a most pleasant atmosphere. We thoroughly enjoyed their watercolor paintings of local scenes. [Aux 2 Terrasses Restaurant, 8 Place du Tertre 49320 Brissac-Quincé; +33 (0)2 4168-4987; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; and the web site: Aux 2 Terrasses web site]
Next we drove to St. Rémy-la-Varenne to visit the Priory that was founded in the 10th century. You start in the Tourist Office which is in the Priory and are given a booklet and orientation and do part of the tour. Then you return to the Tourist Office and get another orientation and finish the tour. It’s a lovely old Priory and the young woman working there was very nice. The most imposing thing was the huge Renaissance Fireplace in the Priory House. It has been recently restored to its polychrome magnificance and is worth a trip to view.
We were also treated to an exhibit of decorated squash and gourds done in Priory workshops, an autumn tradition. Priory Saint-Rémy-la-Varenne web site
We returned via Brain and stopped at Cocci Market for wine, cheese, melon and bread. Back at the gite, we met our hostess for a brief chat as she was picking apples in our lane, and we were gifted with two plump apples. We also met two of their sheep, a friendly pony and a crazy tuxedo cat. Fun evening!