07 June 2015

Le Perche — sous la pluie

Some of you — I can think of a couple of you, specifically — are probably wondering if I'm ever going to post any photos from the region called Le Perche. Well, I do intend to, but the fact is that it rained nearly all the time we were up there last weekend. Below is a picture I took along the way from Chartres toward the Perche, to the west.

Driving the highways of France

It was a shame, because Saturday was beautiful in Paris, and Monday was beautiful as we drove back from Mortagne-au-Perche to Chartres and on to Étampes. Sunday, however, it rained on an off all day long. Every time I stopped the car to get out and take a few photos, it would start raining again. And when I got back in the car and started driving again, the rain would stop. Some days are like that.

It was raining at the Château de la Rivière near Pontgouin...

...and along its tree-lined driveways or allées

The first place we stopped was one I'd never heard of before: Pontgouin. Nearby is the Château de la Rivière. Unfortunately, the only view of it that we could get was from quite far away, and it was sprinkling rain. Those are not ideal conditions, but above there's a photo anyway. La Rivière was built in the 1700s and is privately owned. You can rent the place if you want to spend five or six thousand euros for the week. There are seven bedrooms, a grand salon, and a covered, heated swimming pool, among other amenities.

The Château Saint-Jean, a big pile of rocks on a hilltop overlooking Nogent-le-Rotrou

We drove on to the town called Nogent-le-Rotrou. For years I'd wanted to go see the place, and I finally got there this time after two earlier close calls. It rained the whole time we were in the town, of course, including when we finally found our way up to the old fortified château that dominates the local landscape, after driving around and around in circles trying to locate the access road. The Château Saint-Jean was built about a thousand years ago and is one of the largest fortified buildings of this type still standing in France.

Lost around the edges of Nogent-le-Rotrou, I noticed this "ghost" sign

We got out of the car in the rain to take photos of the old fortress. Fortunately, there were a lot of big trees on the property, and they gave us some protection from the raindrops. We didn't stay long or walk around much, but we did get a few pictures. Afterwards, we went back into the center of town to have lunch in a brasserie on the main square.

Moules à la crème...

...et pommes de terre frites

We hadn't reserved, of course, and all the tables we looked at had little Réservé placards on them. We asked if we could have lunch and were told that if we hadn't reserved the best they could do was to set us up on a little table in the bar next door to the dining room. That was okay. We ordered moules et frites for lunch — CHM had moules marinière and I had moules à la crème. The mussels were plump and tasty.


  1. I spent 3 years in the lycée at Nogent le Rotrou !! City of Sully, Marquis de Nogent le Rotrou and a former Président de la république in the 20's : Paul Deschanel.

  2. Jean would have been an excellent tour guide for this day's outing. Would only the eldest son of a Marquis get the title, or is the title carried by all members?

  3. What a wonderful post, Ken. Beautiful landscape, chateaux and food.
    My favorite aperitif, Dubonnet. Looking forward to more photos of the

  4. I'll bet that I have been on that first road. The only time that I've been to Le Perche, we were met in Chartres by my former au-pair family, and driven back to their home in Ferté-Vidame -- this scene looks familiar, so it was probably along this route :)

    The photos are great, despite the rain!

  5. We did wonder. And wait. But it's always worth waiting for you.

    Too bad about the rain. I like your photos anyway.

    We occasionally go to lunch in La Ferte-Vidame, Judy.

  6. Wrong La Ferte, Judy. We go to La Ferte-Bernard for lunch.


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