So…. today we sadly left Mike and Sheila’s house and began our trip north. A last leisurely breakfast…. a lot of hugs and promises to see each other soon….. and we were off.
Our first stop was to be Cognac for lunch. The roads were really empty. They are always quiet in France, especially if you travel on the toll roads but in comparison with the crowded road conditions of the UK, it is so marked. France is a massive country in comparison to the UK and yet with only a fraction of the population. That really shows up when you drive across country.
So Cognac is to …well… cognac….. as Epernay is to champagne! All the big houses are centred there as well as lots of small producers that I’d never even heard of. The fields for miles out are just packed with grapevines planted in precisely spaced and angled rows. We had hoped to get a visit and a tour in and especially wanted to see the Royal cognac chateau tour. However, it was not to be as there were no suitable English tours on a Sunday. No matter. We drove into Cognac just about at lunchtime and went into the medieval old town. The streets are incredibly narrow and cobbled, straight out of the middle ages. Parking was surprisingly easy and we then walked around the streets. Being a Sunday, no shops were open and very few restaurants. However, we managed to find one in a central square, that had a good crop of diners. Enjoyed an excellent lunch. I had steak and fries with a pepper sauce. Bob had a chicken Caesar salad as did John and Sue had a goats cheese and ham salad. All fabulous and very nicely priced.
After lunch we wandered into the church in the old town where a christening was just finishing. Lovely old church parts of which dated back 1000 years.
Our b&b for the night was about 2 hours on at Neuville de Poitou, Chateau Roseraie. Another one from Alistair Sawaday’s Special Places. Chateau Roseraie
A fabulous place, massive house with huge grounds too. Nice rooms with good bathrooms. But its still massively hot here so the lady of the house gave us electric fans. We dumped our things and headed straight to the swimming pool, which was a divine treat. Spent a happy hour or so there wallowing in the water and on the sun loungers pulled into the shade.
Tonight we ate dinner at the chateau under a shaded arbour. We were seated with another English couple and enjoyed their company. We were served a 4 course dinner: local terrine with garden salad veg; chicken and tomato skewers with rice, vegetables and pickle, cheeseboard and then a special little Bordeaux cake with fruit salad. Washed down with red wine, water, tea and coffee at the end. A good end to the day.