5 Patisseries with Coffee

In France it is quite easy to find somewhere for a good cup of coffee or a drink of some kind, but a coffee to go with those very tempting French patisseries is another matter.

However, here four patisseries we visit where there is a coffee shop or tea salon and where the patisserie is mouthwateringly good. The fifth is a bit of surprise, unless you are really familiar with French habits. All four are chocolatiers and the fifth ……..read on.

1.   Patisserie Bremaud – Bourgueil

Packed out on the morning of the weekly market on a Tuesday in Bourgueil, but so good! Their speciality is the Galette Bourguelloise and there is also an amazing range of cakes.  A complimentary chocolate with the coffee too and ice-creams made in-house are available in the summer.

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3, 5 Place des Halles, Bourgueil

Good to know: Patisserie Bremaud own the registered trade mark for Galette Bourgueilloise.

2.   La Maison de Rabelais – Langeais

Situated in a quaint building just opposite the Chateau de Langeais. Their hot chocolate is excellent, especially on a Sunday morning after a visit to the market. Light lunches and snacks also available as well as some superb patisserie, selected teas and coffees, plus gifts to take home for friends if you can bear to part with them.

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2 Place Pierre de Brosse, 37130 Langeais

Good to know: There is out-door seating with views of Chateau de Langeais.

3.   Duchess Anne – Saumur

A favourite place to visit when in Saumur and another centre of excellence! Even when Saumur is busy, this coffee shop feels quite removed from the outside. Light lunches also available and daily newspapers are available, an asset for solo visitors!

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22 Rue Franklin Roosevelt, 49400 Saumur

Good to know: ‘Joseph’ is their satellite patisserie on Boulevard du Maréchal Juin, next to a really good wine shop. Good parking outside for both.

4.   Au Royal Chocolate – Azay Le Rideau

Azay is worth a visit, although rather crowded in the summer. Au Royal Chocolate has a really long display counter full of tempting treats. The seating area for coffee is limited, but the coffee is excellent. Hardouin, the traiteur d’excellence for charcuterie has a shop just opposite.

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Good to know: The Paris Brest and the almond cookies are huge, enough for two people unless you are truly gourmand.

5.   The Wild Card

What is little known, is that it is quite acceptable to buy from a nearby patisserie to eat with your coffee. Of course, it is only polite to check first.

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Good to know:  There are two bars in Place St. Pierre, which is a great place to sit and watch the world go by. Speaking from experience, both are happy for you to buy from the patisserie a few steps away.  Also, just around the corner in Grande Rue is the Barre du Chocolate for exquisite artisan chocolates. There is also a really good patisserie in Montsoreau next to  a bar/café and another bar a few steps away. Just perfect on a Sunday morning when the antiques fair is there and the food market just opposite.

Go on – spoil yourselves next time you are in France!

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5 Family Fun days in France

Something for everyone, from inflatable fun by the River Loire for younger children, swinging through the forest for all ages in Saumur to an amazing theme park with a trip through the ages for the whole family.

1.     Saumur Forest Adventures

A 5 hectare park where you can follow different games, climb from tree to tree, climb a rope ladder, swing on a pendulum to name just a few. Paintball and Laser games in the forest available too. The routes are graded according to age and there is a special area for the very young climbers.  Perfect for families for a whole day’s entertainment in their parkland.

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Saumur Forest Adventures

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Re-opens for 2017 on April 1st.

2.     Lulu Parc

Lulu Parc is by the River Loire and aimed at younger children, inflatables, bouncy castles, zip wires and rides. The rides and inflatables are graded by height of the children. Next to the park is a ‘ginguette’, the name for an open-air eating place by water, which usually has evening entertainment.

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Lulu Parc

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Quai de la Loire, 37210 Rochecorbon

3.     Lac Rille

The trains at Lac Rille delight young children and parents alike as they run along by the lake. The steam and diesel trains have been beautifully renovated by a team of volunteers. By the lake is also a collection of climbing frames and dens made from natural wood forms, including a chance to make music out of wood.  The café which forms part of the campsite is open to the public and serves excellent ice-cream as well as drinks and snacks.

The area is a stopping off point for migrating birds and on the far side of the lake is a marked nature walk, bird hide and information board.

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 A walk around Lac de Rillé

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4.     Puy de Fou

Something for all ages at Puy de Fou. It was voted the best theme park in the world, but ironically not as well known as some of the bigger names. A tremendous visit  which is bound to catch the imagination of the whole family. It is essential to book in advance. Each event is a huge extravaganza with special effects,  well researched historical content and a dash of artistic licence to complete the performance.

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Puy de Fou Spectacles

Facebook Page – over 1 million likes on their page.

5. Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci spent the last three years of his life at Clos Lucé, Amboise, which now houses models of many of his designs. In the grounds are working models of his designs displaying his amazing ingenuity.  It is well worth a visit and, being inter-active is great for children. A video of these amazing machines taken during one of our visits is available here

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Chateau de Clos Lucé

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Just 5 of family fun days out enjoyed by guests at www.frenchholiday.co.uk

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5 Family Friendly Restaurants

Children are welcome in French restaurants but not all children enjoy French food. Here are 5 restaurants which cater well for families with a mixture of French and other cuisines.

1    Crêperie Saint Pierre La Quichenotte

La Quichenotte is tucked away a short way down a passageway by the church in Place St. Pierre in Saumur. A cosy family run restaurant with lovely food (including galettes or a 3 course lunch ,’menu de jour’. It is excellent value. Welcoming staff and English spoken. Galettes, a savoury pancake with a choice of fillings, and crepes with chocolate sauce and ice-cream should keep any youngster happy. Recommended for a stress-free family meal with children or a great refuge after too much shopping!

2 Rue Haute Saint-Pierre, 49400 Saumur

2    Le Panorama

Le Panorama has a magnificent view of the Chateau of Saumur and the River Loire. There is  a large outdoor terrace and indoor seating. The view from the terrace is truly panoramic. It is a good place for either a drink (hot or cold) or a meal.  Friendly owners and a menu in French, delightfully translated into English too. The menu is comprehensive and serving times not restricted to French eating times.  Handy to know if you are with children.

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Le Panorama, Parking Du Château Rue Des Moulins, 49400 Saumur

3    Les Farmers

A very innovative place to eat, ingredients sourced locally as the name implies, and there is a bar.  Run by a  young and lively crew with various entertainment events throughout the season, with some new events planned for the 2017 season. The situation is great for families as it looks over the lake at Hommes. There are five lakes, fishing, swimming in one lake, picnic areas and woodland walks.

Les Farmers is a ‘ginguette’ which is a traditional French concept of somewhere to eat and enjoy music, often by a lake or river.

This short video gives a good idea of what it is all about!

Open seasonally, so check first on their Facebook page.

4    Caves des Marson

Something a bit different. Eat like a trogolodyte in a cave! Fouées, similar to pitta bread, are cooked in a traditional bread oven and served with a variety of fillings, beans, garlic butter, rillette, cheese and Nutella.  At Les Mortiers, we make them in our bread oven  as a change from pizzas. They were originally testers to see if the oven was hot enough to bake bread. There is more on fouées (also know as fouaces) here –  Wikipedia on fouées

Website Caves de Marson

1 rue Henri Fricotelle 49400 ROU MARSON

5    Cafe Le Musée

The  café/bar in Parcay Les Pins serves a very good ‘plat du jour’, as well as snacks and will appeal to children too. The pizza van is there once a week, buy a pizza and the friendly café owners will provide you with cutlery, seating and the change to buy liquid refreshments of all types. There is also a van serving fish and chips once a week, which is particularly loved by the french residents of our village.

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2 Bis Place Jules Desbois, 49390 Parçay-les-Pins

Family friendly restaurants recommended by guests at Frenchholiday

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5 Favourite Restaurants

Five restaurants where the atmosphere is good, the dishes are pleasing to the eye and you can relax  to enjoy your meal easily.. Most of the ingredients are locally sourced and fresh and with a good selection of local wines.

There is no order of preference.  Enjoy!

1.   Vincent Cuisiniere de Campagne

19 Rue de la Galottière, 37140 Ingrandes-de-Touraine

Link to Website

2.    L’Orée du Bois – Le Breille Les Pins

2 Rue Saumuroise, 49390 La Breille-les-Pins

Link to Website

3.    Au Chapeau Rouge – Chinon

49 Place du Général de Gaulle, 37500 Chinon

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4.    Les Entrepotes – Chinon

88 Quai Jeanne d’Arc, 37500 Chinon

Website – not known

5.    Le Bouff’tard

4 place 8 mai 1945 37340 Hommes

Website – not known

 

Cointreau or Combier – or both!

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Sun-dried orange peels from the West Indies, local spices from the south of France, alcohol from France’s northwest, and secret ingredients from the Loire Valley – a formula that became the world’s first triple sec. It sounds wonderful. It happened in Saumur and was the inspiration of Jean-Baptiste Combier after countless years experimentation to make the perfect recipe.

Combier orange liqueur was first available in 1834 in Saumur. Cointreau followed 41 years after in nearby Angers. Both Combier at Saumur and Cointreau, near Angers, are situated on the River Loire which was used for a main river for transporting goods, such oranges from the West Indies upwards from the coast and then onward by canal to Paris.

Combier is still in the same premises where Jean-Baptiste Combier and his brother opened a confectionery shop in Rue Saint Nicolas, Saumur,  in 1834. In back of his shop, he developed alcohols and liquors with his still to fill its sweets and chocolates and created the famous “Triple Sec” liqueur.

His dream of inventing something new and original was a great success and was only followed later by Cointreau. It is worth a visit to see the beautiful copper stills, sample some of the huge range of liqueurs made there and come away with a selection of your favourites. Visit Combier

Cut and paste the link below to see a  video about Combier (in French)  with some great photography showing some of their other syrups and liquers too and also what goes in to making their products.

http://tv.bpifrance.fr/Combier-createur-de-saveurs-depuis-1834_v3041.html

To end,  just for fun, here are a few recipes (not cocktails) using Triple Sec, but visit and you will come away with more than Triple Sec.

Margarita Cake

Over the Top French toast made with Triple Sec

Two simple ideas – add Cassis liqueur to home-made ice cream for something quite special or a dash of Combier Fruits of the Forest liqueur makes a fresh fruit salad into something special.

The difference between the two could be the subject of great debate, but far better to spend the time sampling them both with friends. The link below gives a comparison of both drinks.

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Comparison between Combier and Cointreau for Margaritas and Cocktails

A cycling holiday in the Loire Valley

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This post was going to be about safety and cycling, but there are so many excellent websites dealing with this that my mind switched to options for a cycling holiday in the Loire.  The different nationalities, ages, abilities and ways guests have enjoyed cycling from Les Mortiers is interesting too.

There is a link to a cycling safety website is given below. The site has many other useful links on the subject and worth looking at if you are considering cycling on holiday.

A well seasoned and keen cyclist might look for a specialist offer, where everything is provided,  at a price. However, the region is so well provided for cyclists that, unless you want to spend  every day on the saddle, then being free to pedal as you wish, when you wish and as the weather suits you is a good option.  If your partner or the family do  not share your enthusiasm for a daily ride, then self-catering with cycles provided, or bringing your own, is a good option.

The wide spectrum of people who cycle for instance from our own property is interesting.  Here are a few examples:

  • Keen cyclists from the USA, one family brought their bikes in their suitcases.
  • A father who cycled each morning for the bread with both his children on one bike, one at the front and one at the rear.
  • A family who brought a tag along bike with them, the first we had seen but very popular now.
  • A lady from the Netherlands with a bike with hydraulic brakes.  Mike was in awe!
  • An Estate Agent  from Canada who was privileged to visit Cyfac, a local and highly renowned company making high end cycles and frames for many of the bikes in international races. He was awestruck by the bike he was given to road test
  • A New Zealand girl traveller sponsored on a cycle trip around the world and currently in South America. Her bike was wrapped with inner tubes to mask its value against theft.
  • Guests who have pushed themselves to the limit, not having ridden since childhood and not walking far the next day!
  • An amateur cyclist from the USA who rides like a professional and even helped us put the roof on the new extension to our house!
  • And a family who experienced an exploding tyre whilst they had stopped at Lac Rillé for a picnic! It happened during the excessively hot summer.
  • And, of course, like many of our guests a short cycle in the morning for fresh bread and croissants or  a coffee in the bar.

The countryside, quiet roads and forest routes in Anjou and Touraine are perfect for cycling, whatever your style. The slide show link below has some views from cycle rides around where we live. For the less adventurous a ride to Lac Pincemaille is a pleasant outing with well marked trails through the forests, whereas the more experienced venture to Bourgueil, along the banks of the Loire or as far as Chinon. Information is readily available for the many routes marked around the region. The most famous being the Loire a Velo. We have a library of local cycle routes for our guests including maps for the local area and further afield for the more intrepid or those who carry bikes on their car wishing to cycle a particular route.We have cycles available for your use and a rescue service, if required.

Just for interest, below are some Solex bikes which were for sale at a recent Vide Grenier (car boot sale).

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Cycling around Les Mortiers

A site with some useful guidance about cycling and keeping children safe.

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Traces of World War 1 from the people of Parcay Les Pins

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A very special exhibition ‘Traces of World War 1’ opens this May,  where the people of Parçay-les-Pins tell their stories by means of objects, images and testimonies. The aim is to show traces of the past to better understand and comprehend how it was.

Parcay Les Pins is very privileged to have a museum of national status in the village centre. It is dedicated to the French sculptor, Jules Desbois, who was born in Parcay Les Pins. He was a friend of Augustus Rodin and Camille Claudel.

‘Traces of the Great War in Parcay Les Pins’ opens on 23rd May until 1st November 2015 at the Musée Jules Desbois, Place d’Eglise, Parcay Les Pins, France.

Website: Musée Jules Desbois

Footnotes:

The museum also contains the very beautiful works of Jules Desbois as well as the, no doubt, very stirring reminiscences which will be part of this exhibition. Do not miss them!

More photos to be added, when available.