05 August 2021

From Sancerre to Pouilly-sur-Loire

We didn't stop in Sancerre in October 2014 because Walt and I had been there before. And I went back there in 2015, I think it was, with CHM. As with many wine towns and villages (Bouzy in Champagne, Vouvray in Touraine), the area area around Sancerre is fairly agricultural and almost industrial. You see a lot of tractors and trucks pulling trailers.

Our destination was Pouilly-sur-Loire, an equally famous wine town as Sancerre, where equally fine white wines are made, mostly with the same grape (Sauvignon Blanc). The bridge over the Loire, with the Berry province on one side and Burgundy on the other, is a simple, low-slung bridge. There's no significant boat or barge traffic this far up the Loire river.

This is what we saw as we drove into Pouilly (pop. 1,621), looking for a restaurant I had read about. It was called Chez Mémère — I just found a newspaper article saying it closed down permanently in 2020... a victim, partly, of the pandemic, I bet. The French word mémère is an informal term meaning grandmother, grandma, granny.

We were tempted to stop at this winery, which we saw before we found the restaurant, but by then we were really hungry and thought we'd have a better chance of getting a table at the restaurant the earlier we arrived there. The winery is called the Domaine Masson-Blondelet. Here's a link to its web site.

We needn't have hurried to get to Chez Mémère, though. The restaurant was not at all full when we walked in, but we were turned away. No reservation? Tut tut tut. No way. Who would have thought a restaurant with such a down-home name, located in such a tiny town, would be all booked up on a Tuesday at lunchtime in late October? Welcome to Burgundy!

We asked if there were any other restaurants in town. The Chez Mémère staff said there was just one other, on the south edge of town. So we headed there to get something to eat before continuing our drive into the heart of Burgundy. But not before I snapped this photo of a stained-window at Mémère's place.


  1. Looks like Memere is a good gardener. Those dragon begonias below the window look great. I never had good luck with those.

  2. You should have made a reservation to stop there on your way back. What better recommendation than being turned down in a tiny town on a week day in late October?

    1. We didn't want to stop in Pouilly on our way back. Usually, when it's time to leave a gîte and go home, we want to go as fast as we can. I remember that on the return trip we bought sandwiches in a supermarket in Sancerre and had a picnic in the Sologne at lunchtime.

  3. Now, I feel bad that you never got to experience this place. I certainly understand that feeling of not wanting to stop and do a big meal when you have a long route ahead of you, heading home. I hope your meal at the other restaurant was decent.

  4. I really enjoy reading about your trips to small town France. Looking forward to seeing pictures of the gite.


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