It’s a rainy Sunday afternoon and we’ve finally taken the time to collect our Blésois passes so we’ll have free entry to Blois Royal Castle and the Magic Museum plus lots of other places. The pass will also give our friends a reduction if we’re with them. “So, where do we go for afternoon tea?” says Jean Michel. A Facebook friend from the Loire Connexion has told me about Douce Heure (literally Sweet Time and a pun on Douceur meaning something sweet to eat) on the Loire side of Place Louis XII, so we decide to go there.
As we’re coming down the steps from the castle, a child says, “Look – a duck!” but in fact it’s a mosaic swan which I had never noticed before. We go past some pseudo sumos that are part of a Community Party festival of some sort. We watch for a while. They are exceedingly funny. Now why didn’t I take a video?
We arrive at Douce Heure and regret that we can’t use the attractive lollipop terrace but we go inside and it feels very inviting and cosy after the awful weather outside.
There is a large choice of tea, coffee and hot chocolate. We choose a cake each – a candied fruit cheese cake and a fruit tart – and are halfway through eating them when it occurs to me to take a photo!
We both order hot chocolate. It comes in a special chocolate pot and is thick and creamy. We have two very decadent cups each! That solves the problem of what to have for dinner tonight – nothing!
It’s a little more than a week later and we’re back in Blois with nothing in the fridge for lunch. It’s raining again. “Let’s try that restaurant our last guests suggested,” I say. “The one near the market on the river side.” I phone Le Coup de Fourchette to make sure there’s a table.
We park in the underground parking lot so we don’t get too wet going to the restaurant. Its red, white and black décor is very inviting and there is a large Bienvenue on the door. Inside there is a perroquet (parrot – why parrot?) coat stand. What an excellent idea. I hate having to sit with my coat draped on the back of my chair.
The welcome is warm and friendly and we are shown to our table. For the moment, the dining room is fairly empty but it soon fills up with locals – mainly men – with big appetites as befits a restaurant whose name means “a hearty appetite”.
The waitress explains the menu and shows us the blackboard with the day’s specials. Prices start at about 10 or 11 euro for starter plus main course or main course plus dessert. We choose an entrecôte + French fries + green salad + dessert (café gourmand) each and a ½ bottle of local Touraine Vieilles Vignes red wine for a total of 39 euro.
The French fries are excellent and the meat is tasty. We have three mini-desserts with our café gourmand.
This is not a gastronomical restaurant. It’s a local eatery, frequented by locals all year round and savvy tourists during the summer, attracted by the terrace. It’s been open for just a little over a year and has already earned the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, ranked 2 out of 103 restaurants in Blois, just after Les Planches which is next on our list!
The service and atmosphere are friendly, the food is simple but good and hearty. The servings are copious. Excellent value for money. We’ll definitely be back!Douce Heure, place Louis XII, 41000 Blois. Open all year round. 10 am to 7 pm. Closed Mondays. Le Coup de Fourchette, 15 Quai de la Saussaye, 41000 BLOIS, 02 54 55 00 24. Open Monday to Wednesday, lunchtime only and Thursday to Saturday, lunchtime and evening.