This summer I spent three lovely weeks in Orléans with my daughter and granddaughters, ages four and six. During the week, the little girls, who are bilingual in French, attended a Centre Loisirs pour les enfants (see news photos here) … Continue reading →
When my daughter and I arrived in the off-season at Le Prieuré, astunning chateau on the Loire river just a few kilometers from Saumur, we were surprised to be offered an upgraded room gratis. Imagine our delight and amazement when we entered this spectacular room swathed in roses and graced with antiques and a huge marble bath, with its French doors opening right onto the rooftop overlooking the river. The breakfast served in the room was exactly as in this photo. My own non-digitalized photos are off in a album buried in my shed. You can see the flat rooftop of the dining room in the center right of this aerial view of the chateau and our French doors that opened onto it.
In the restaurant that evening we decided to splurge and order the Gastronomique menu which at the time (1999) amounted to $200. We started with an amuse bouche in the salon, then moved to our table, where for the next 3 1/2 hours we were treated to course after course, eleven in all, including three appetizers, three full main courses (filet mignon, lobster tail, and duck), and three full-sized desserts, with a palette refresher of grapefruit sorbet in between, plus 5 different wines. When the waiter arrived to ask about coffee, we looked at each other and graciously declined. Not another bite or swallow was going into our bodies. We decided it was the most grand meal we’d ever had (or have had to this day). So even when we discovered to our shock when we paid our bill the next morning that it was $200 EACH, we felt it was well worth it for an unforgettable memory.
Here we are, coming in by ferry from Nice to L’Île-Rousse. One of the perks of traveling with my grown daughter, besides the fact that she is very outgoing and fluent in French, is that we are in complete sync as traveling companions. No squabbling over when to get up or when to go to bed. And with her encouragement, I see many sights that would have passed me by had my “old bones” been making the decisions. Her theory: if we’re here we should see everything! So, armed with our favorite travel book, a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide we set out to see every nook and cranny possible during our scheduled days in Corsica.
Top on the agenda was to see many of the places that serve as locations in my novel MOTHER TONGUE which included Bonifacio, the Citadelle at Corte, the Restonica Valley, and L’Île-Rousse. Even made a few stops to capture roadside graffiti scrawled by FLNC sympathizers.But one of my favorite memories was dinner on the beach at L‘Île–Rousse,the western port where we had arrived by ferry earlier in the day.
The restaurant of the Le Logis du Guetteur is probably my all-time favorite. I have dined on the restaurant’s terrace with my best childhood friend (2004, we also stayed at the Logis), my daughter and granddaughter (2013), and my daughter, son-in-law and his mother (2008).
The most memorable occasion was in 2008. We had been visiting St. Tropez and had 1:30 pm reservations. The 40 km to Les Arcs sur Argens was over a twisty mountainous road and the minutes were ticking away.
We arrived just as they were closing down their luncheon service. My daughter, who speaks fluent French, begged the maitre d’ to seat us since we had come so far. But to no avail. But then she caught sight of the chef through an open door to the kitchen.
She called to him and after much cajoling he agreed to prepare our meals but we had to decide on dessert ahead of time so that he could prepare that in advance and then leave. One of their servers, a young woman in her 20s, graciously offered to stay past her hours of duty and serve out meal.
The food was marvelous as always and the view from the terrace of the valley of vineyards and the medieval village of Les Arcs was unparalleled.