I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chateau du Loir and an Afternoon with an Artist

The home of Marie-Noelle. Her apartment is the third set of windows up on the left hand side of the doors.

standing in front of a memorial to the children (soldiers) of Chateau du Loir who fought in the war.
Hotel de Ville in Chateau du Loir. This is like our City Hall and is where the civil marriages take place.

The home to the right is the one that Edna and Renee remember visiting as teenagers. This is where Grandmere and TaTa Renee lived

Standing in front of Grandmere and TaTa Renee's home in Chateau du Loir.

The home where Grandpere lived with Grandmere. The entrance is the white door

Edna and Travis with cousins Marie-Noelle and her son Gabriel. Her other son Fabrice lives and works in Poland and could not be here with us.

The Loir River in Chateau du Loir
Curiosity must run in the family

Walking the streets of Chateau du Loir

The Grand Hotel where we ate lunch

The Grand Hotel Entrance

The Grand Hotel Brasserie Menu
Today's specials

The Pork Filet Mignon Ancienne (meaning the old style with cream and mushrooms)9(
The Fish with Buerre Blanc (butter sauce)

Sabayon is a creamy dessert of wine, yolks, sugar, and cream over fruit

My ice cream

Francoise's home

The apples on the tree in Francoise's yard.

Marie-Noelle and her good friend Francoise. Francoise is also now a good friend to all of us

Francoise serving coffee

Having coffee and tea at Francoise's house

The winemaker's home and winery

old caves at the winery that we went into and saw old wine making tools and equipment

boxes of wine ready to ship out

the winemaker poured a wine sample

winebottles lined the walls of the winecaves

While we were walking, Travis recognized the caves that are in the watercolor picture he bought from Francoise

Travis is the youngest Labat grandchild and Marie-Noelle is the oldest. They are standing her with Francoise, a new friend

We walked up a hill and enjoyed this view of the countryside

Walking back to Francoise's home through the vineyard

The very delicious meal prepared by Marie-Noelle

The goat cheese (chevre) that has become a favorite...but not for me

Today was a very busy day but also a very relaxing day. Our French family has been so gracious to us since we arrived in France and we have enjoyed spending time with them so much. We started our day with a trip out to Chateau du Loir. Chateau du Loir is the town where Danny's mother lived with her family before she came to America. When Marguerite came to America, her family remained in France. Her parents lived in Chateau du Loir with their daughter, Renee (Ta Ta Renee), until they both died. They are buried in the cemetery there, but we were not able to visit their graves on this trip. Edna and Renee also visited Grandmere and Ta Ta Renee in Chateau du Loir when they made their 12 year old trips. We saw the home where Grandpere, Grandmere, and Ta Ta Renee lived and also the home where Grandmere and Ta Ta Renee lived after Grandpere died. The second home is the one that Renee and Edna remember. It was fun to listen to them reminisce about their memories of staying there and their memories of the pharmacy, and patisserie they visited with Ta Ta Renee. Marie-Noelle knows her way around Chateau du Loir very well as she spent a lot of time there as a child. Both of her grandparents live in Chateau du Loir and it is where her mother met her father. We walked all around the town of Chateau du Loir and ate lunch at the Grand Hotel restaurant. Our lunch was delicious! Marie-Noelle and Gabriel ate one of the lunch specials which was fish with a buerre blanc sauce and the rest of us had Pork Loin (Porc Filet Mignon) with a wine and cream sauce. For dessert, everyone but me had the Sabayon with fruit which was also the house special. I opted for chocolate ice cream instead, surprise surprise. After lunch we drove into the country to visit with Marie-Noelle's good friend, Francoise. She and Francoise had worked together before retiring. We had no idea what a wonderful afternoon we would have! Francoise is retired and lives in what was once her summer home. She is an artist and paints with watercolors. We were delighted to discover that she sells her work and it is all beautiful. Renee, Travis, and I bought pieces and it was so hard to decide what to choose. She served us coffee, tea, and cake while we relaxed outside under her apple tree. We were also pleased that she was able to speak to us in English. Marie-Noelle said she had no idea that Francoise had such good English and that she would try so hard. After relaxing outside and visiting, Francoise took us to meet a “winemaker” that she knew. He did not speak English and we found it very funny that as he spoke his french to us, he would slow down and speak louder as if that would help us understand. It was also difficult for Marie-Noelle to translate, because she said he spoke too fast in French to her. He described himself as an “artisan winemaker”. His team consisted of himself, his wife, and one employee except for harvest time when he needed help to bring in the grapes from the vine. He said that he grows the grapes, harvests the grapes, makes the wine, and then drinks the wine. It is a small operation and produces approximately 100,000 bottles in a good year. He poured a small tasting of three wines, an aperitif, a white, and a red. His grapes were not a chardonnay as we are accustomed to, it is a chenin grape. We then toured ourselves through his extensive labyrinth of caves that is approximately 1.8 miles of passages lined with wine bottles. It was pretty chilly with very low ceilings. We enjoyed the tour very much! After returning to Francoise's home, she packaged our purchases very carefully and we went for a walk in the countryside. There are many caves carved from the limestone in the hillside, much like the wine caves we had visited. While walking, we nibbled on fruit that grew abundantly along the side of the road. We didn't eat it all, but we saw blackberries, plums, apples, apricots, figs, pears, walnuts, nectarines, grapes and pumpkins. Travis was amazed at the variety and thought that we could have made an entire fruit salad had we collected it all. The vegetable gardens behind the homes were still full of vegetables and the flowers were still blooming as well. We ended our walk by walking through one of the vineyards of the winemaker we had visited. We nibbled on white and red grapes as we walked down the terraced vineyard. It was getting late so we left Francoise with promises to return one day and went back to Marie-Noelle's home. While Marie-Noelle was preparing our dinner, Danny was able to talk to her other son, Fabrice, on the telephone. Fabrice lives and works in Poland and was unable to join us on this trip. Marie-Noelle had prepared a simple but delicious meal for our supper. We ate a ham and cheese bread, salad and tomatoes, beef pate and bread, cheese platter, and fruit salad. Despite the fact that it was simple, we still found a way to stuff ourselves. I will close with the Deep French Thought of the day....while eating goat cheese (chevre), Renee remarked that we had seen a lot of sheep but never any goats. Where are the goats she asked and I responded....making the cheese! Until tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment