Tag Archives: L’Embarcadère

Café Gourmand – A French Speciality

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My monthly contribution to My French Life, the global community of French and francophiles connecting like-minded people in English & French has just been published, this time in the Gastronomie section.

One of the best inventions in French cuisine in recent years, in my opinion, is the café gourmand.

I’m not big on desserts. Also I think that the best and most inventive dishes in French restaurants are the entrées. By the time dessert comes, I’ve usually had enough to eat. What I really prefer is a cup of coffee with a little tidbit on the side. And that is exactly what a café gourmand is, except that there are usually three or four different little tidbits. Read more

La Loire à Vélo – Loire by Bike #1

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Loire by Bike is part of the EuroVelo bike route from the Atlantic to the Black Sea. We’ve already covered quite a bit of the Loire route as well as a small portion in Germany, in the Rhine Valley, between Basel and Lake Constance, on our way back from Croatia last year. In another post, I talked about cycling around Angers and crossing the river on barge, which I thought was rather exciting!

Yesterday, we did a portion closer to home, setting out from Closerie Falaiseau and going as far as Menars, a 30 K round trip altogether. The first 7 kilometres are not too wonderful, as you have to take the main road that runs along the Loire Valley, with the first 3 K at 70 kph. After that, the speed limit drops to 50 kph but it probably takes the cars another couple of kilometres to  really drop speed. After that, you can take the “mail” as they call the esplanade used as a parking lot on the waterfront in Blois and Amboise.

Next, you have another couple of kilometres along a “shared bike/car route” with very little traffic, flanked by houses with climbing roses on one side and a grass verge on the other. Then once you reach the riding school, motorised traffic is prohibited and you cycle along a bitumen road mainly through a lovely shady forest. Next time, we’ll put the bikes on our Thule bike carrier on the back of the car and start at the end of the “mail”.

At one stage, we cycled under a lovely old stone railway bridge no longer in use (it’s cut off completely at one end) and many clusters of water irises in the little stream on the left of the cycle path. The path wasn’t over busy, but we still passed other cyclists, often with children and lots of joggers and strollers. There are also benches along the way to rest.

When we got to Menars, we rode into the village, which has a very large castle built in the 17th and 18th century with very dry looking grounds. Unfortunately, since it was Monday and a public holiday to boot, there were no bars open so we had to make do with our usual water and biscuits then ride all the way back to Blois for an apéritif at Le Penalty. After that, we rode home, stopping on the way at L’Embarcadère to reserve a riverside table.

When we got back, our first yellow rose was out!

A Celebratory Lunch in Blois

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To celebrate  this truly momentous day in the life of our couple – the purchase of Closerie Falaiseau, our beautiful Renaissance home in the Loire Valley built in 1584 – we chose L’Embarcadère in Blois , with its lovely view of the Loire. It was a perfect spring day, with bright sun and blue sky.

View from L'Embarcadère

Embarcadère means landing stage, from the word “barque” or boat used to ferry people across the river. L’Embarcadère thus has a nautical theme. We’ve known it for many years and return each time we’re in the area. It will definitely be one of our regular haunts. Good view, good food, good service, good value for money. What more could your ask?

We started with champagne, of course, and some delicious nibbles – salmon rillettes, tomato tartare, little grey shrimp and prawns. Relationnel then had fillet of cod while I had salmon tartare. We both had a glass of white cheverny and finished off with a café gourmand on a green theme.

We’re looking forward to returning in two weeks’ time to collect the keys and spend our first night in our new home – we’ve already bought the bed!

L’Embarcadère, 16 quai Ulysse Besnard, 41000 Blois, contact@lembarcadere.fr


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