09 April 2008

From Palluau to La Ferté-Imbault to Blois

We had dinner in La Ferté-Imbault, deep in the forests of the Sologne, last night. The restaurant is called L'Auberge à la Tête de Lard — The Fat Head's Inn, or something like that. It was a five- or six-course meal for 30 euros per person.

Rooftop views at Palluau-sur-Indre

I'll recite my courses: head cheese (fromage de tête) with a balsamic vinaigrette; salmon terrine with asparagus points; boneless rolled roast of rabbit with a sausage stuffing and several vegetables, including fennel; green salad with walnuts; cheeses (local goat, Auvergne bleu, and Pont-l'Evêque from Normandy). Walt, Candy, and John had different courses that included things like duck with olives, sea trout with fennel sauce, snails in garlic butter, omelet with lardons and mushrooms, and... I just can't name the all.

New growth on a grove of trees in the Indre River Valley

The wines were a white from the Menetou-Salon wine area north of Bourges (a considerable distance east of Saint-Aignan) and a red from St-Nicolas de Bourgueil (considerable distance west of Saint-Aignan down the Loire, near Saumur). Both were excellent. Menetou-Salon is a Sauvignon Blanc that is softer and more florid than white Sancerre wine, the neighboring area. And St-Nicolas is a nice Cabernet Franc from the best part (according to many) of the Bourgueil area. It was a 2004.

No, this is not a joke. It's a street sign in Palluau.

It's pouring rain this morning and is supposed to rain steadily until mid-day. We will be driving up to Blois around noontime. Our friends are taking the train to Paris (and we don't get to go...) to spend a few days wandering the city and eating in some restaurants they have read about and want to try.

Views between Palluau houses

The pictures in this post are from Palluau-sur-Indre and I took them Sunday afternoon. As I think I wrote, Palluau is up on a promontory above the Indre River Valley, so the views are nice. It's what is called a perched village, of which there are many in Provence and the Dordogne but fewer in the Loire Valley.

I like the austere look of this house in St-Genou.

It's been a nice visit, despite some iffy weather. J & C say they might well be back for a return visit before the end of 2008, and we can look forward to that.

Typical doorway and stoop in Palluau


  1. You've mentioned the Auberge à la Tête de Lard before - it certainly sounds like un bon rapport qualité/prix.
    We have a ruelle de Ha-Ha in Preuilly, and the tiny house on the corner is for sale - if only we'd known 2 years ago! What a fantastic address we could have had! (I take it you know what a ha-ha is?)
    And that house austere?! With raspberry coloured shutters and an orange front door?!!

  2. I like the idea of St. Genou. Presumably he has a sort of head start when prayers are in the offing....

    (I never realised "ha-ha" was also used in France - maybe both the term and concept came from there to England, rather than the other way around).

  3. Hmm, I've googled houses for sale in Preuilly, and I wonder if I've found the one on ruelle de Ha-Ha .. so cheap; such a huge garden...... [sigh]

  4. Yes, I know what a ha-ha is and according to dictionaries it is a French term that English has borrowed.

    I guess austerity is in the eye of the beholder.

  5. Aytolycus, which one? I'm on the FNAIM site right now. Do you have a number? If not FNAIM, where should I be looking?

    People, I shouldn't be doing this! I have work to do! I'm not in the market for a house, won't be in France for months, and really should be living my own life instead of drooling over rural France. Please stop tempting me with restaurants, houses with large gardens, ha-has, and spring flowers near chateaux.

    Ignore previous paragraph.

  6. Louise, I looked for a minute but I couldn't find the house on the ruelle de Ha-Ha in Preuilly either.

  7. Your Fat Head dinner sounds wonderful. Next time we visit...

  8. Susan: Since I didn't know what a ha-ha was, I looked into google.fr and found this that may be of interest to youi: Ha-Ha is a notable street artist operating out of Melbourne Australia. His notability comes from the prolific nature of his art, the skill of his work and his unique and individual style. It is suspected that Ha-Ha is actually Regan Tamanui.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ha-Ha (street artist)

  9. OK, I can't stand the suspense any longer! What is a ha-ha and what is the website for the house with the large garden and the small price that we all want? :)

    Your dinner sounds fabulous, Ken!


  10. BettyAnn, I found the following definition for ha-ha at www.copper-beech.com/glossary.html :
    Ha-Ha is a sunk fence; that is, a ditch with one sloping side and one vertical side into which is built a retaining wall; a ha-ha creates a barrier for sheep, cattle, and deer while allowing an unbroken view of the landscape.


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