Monday, May 21, 2007

Fabulous Rainy Sunday

Ken mentioned in a recent post of his that we had friends Carmen and Cam in town this weekend. They're staying at a bed and breakfast down the road from us. On Sunday they came by and picked me up and we went out for a short tour of some local sights.

Cam and Carmen at the Château de Chenonceau.

The weather was just dandy - by that I mean that it was deeply overcast and cool, with spitting rain and some real showers mixed in from time to time. We drove over to Thésée-la-Romaine, across the river from us, to see the bits of old roman ruins. Then over to Monthou-sur-Cher to take a quick look at the exterior of the Château du Gué Péan where there is an equestrian club and school.

The château seen from the garden of Diane de Poitiers.

Next up was the star of the day : the Château de Chenonceau. We parked and walked down the beautiful allée of trees at the entrance to the gardens and walked around in both the de Medicis and de Poitiers gardens for a while. The colors were very muted, with greens and blues being the dominant springtime colors this year. By the time we made our way into the château itself, rain started coming down. We couldn't have timed it better.

We spent a good hour and a half exploring the rooms, looking at tapestries and paintings, and the views from the windows. There were a lot of other visitors, but it wasn't horrendously crowded as I know it can be. All in all we had a very pleasant visit.

The central fountain in the Diane de Poitiers garden.

The rain slowed to a light drizzle right when we were ready to leave and we had a nice stroll back to the car. Once again we were off, and drove over to Amboise to take a look at the château (another drive-by) and we stopped briefly in town for a candy bar to take the edge off a bit of hunger.

Next it was on to Montrichard and a little farther south for yet another drive-by of the Château de Montpoupon, then back to the house through the forests and fields of the southern Touraine. The landscape was a deep lush green owing to the two weeks of rain we've just had.

When we got home, Ken had done the prep for our late afternoon meal. We opened a bottle of Veuve Clicquot that Carmen had given us and munched on a feuilleté of pork sausage that Ken picked up at the bakery that morning. Next we sat down to some local pork and duck rillettes and cornichons.

A decorative urn.

The main course was an asparagus tarte. I made the crust earlier in the morning, Ken prepared the locally grown asparagus while we were out and wrapped little bundles of them in ham, then while we were having appetizers, I made the custard and assembled and baked the tarte. We served it with a salad of cherry tomatoes in a balsamic vinaigrette and herbs from our garden.

The next course was salad of oak leaf lettuce and endive with toasted walnuts and some of our local goat cheese. For dessert we had fresh local strawberries accompanying a cannelé, a timbale-shaped cake flavored with vanilla and rum, served with a dollop of crème fraiche.

Leaded windows overlook the Cher River.

Yum ! It was a nice day and it was great to see our friends from California. The last time we saw them was three years ago in Paris on the occasion of Cam's proposal of marriage to Carmen.


  1. I love the Château de Chenonceau! It is one of my favorite sights to see in France. What a nice visit for you and your friends.

  2. I guess it cannot spit rain and spit morning at the same time ;-)

    Glad to hear that despite the weather, you had an enjoyable outing. I hope Carmen and Cam heaped praise upon you for that meal. I'm sure it tasted every bit as good as it sounded!

  3. Chenonceau is wonderful, but the crowds can really get you down if you don't time the visit right.

    And the food was very good (if I do say so myself). We got lots of praise.


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