Drenched and flustered I arrived, dry and serene I left the Château de Crécy in remote Romagne.
The importance of the Rest Day in bicycle touring cannot be overemphasized. They don’t have them at the Tour de France for nothing, and even us lowly tourers averaging only 10 mph need a chance to rest the legs and mind.
That my Rest Day was semi-wittingly scheduled for the Château de Crécy was a stroke of semi-intentional genius. Arriving in a village with zero open businesses, only a relic of a “tabac” closed long ago, I first worried about food/supplies. Asking how far such things were I was chagrined to hear they were about 10 km away.
This would prove to be a miracle in disguise.
I knew breakfast was included, and was told there was a 25 Euro dinner each evening. Being a general cheapskate on a longish tour, the number 25 initially rattled my economic core, but given the distances…I gave it a shot.
All thanks to the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster that I did. The château dinner proved to be a (perhaps typical) four-course French affair, and each course left me very, VERY like Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster every time Bertie was lucky enough to dine at his Aunt Dahlia’s and receive the ambrosial offerings of chef Monsieur Anatole.
It was damn good, in other words.
A few photos below that don’t do justice to the meal, and a few others taken during a Rest Day in which I simply, wonderfully did nothing but amble about the village while waiting for that night’s dinner. By the day after Rest Day, my legs, mind, and stomach, were ready for anything.
Romagne at rush hour on a Wednesday afternoon. Actually I did see a few people zooming back home from work, probably from one of the 1,000,000 surrounding vineyards.
And here is one of those 1 million vineyards, with yet another rain squall in the background. Whereas Europe was hot as hell three weeks ago, the temps were right at 60 degrees in the middle of a blustery Romagne afternoon.
A residence in Romagne. Notably, no French person I’ve mentioned Romagne to, before of since, has had any idea where it was.
Underside of the workshop garage at the château. Poor journalist that I am, I forgot to ask how old the place is.
First Course: Foie Gras (yes, I know) with jam and a special sauterne paired with the foie gras (yes, I know)
Second Course: Chicken Basque (a ratatouille accompaniment) with divinely prepared green beans
Third Course: CHEESE! with three goat cheeses, a sheep cheese and three cow cheeses, including a mouth-watering gorgonzola. That WordPress doesn’t recognize gorgonzola as a word says a great deal about American cheese, methinks. The French mix cheese with jam or marmalade, but I took the opportunity to mix cheese with that superior French bread.
Another yummy cow cheese was this local one, the name of which I cannot remember. It might have been a local variant of this one.
Fourth Course: Berries in sugar and wine. My wife, who lived in Paris as a college student, tells me Parisians don’t have a dessert course. They should probably work on that.
And on the left here are Martine and Bruno, who run the château and have just retired from the wine making aspect of the business. Wonderful proprietors all around, Martine’s culinary of course included. Bruno also loves both Miles Davis and Tex Avery, two artists as much in my heart as a good cheese. I had a memorable time. By the way, the woman at the far end of the table works for the château (didn’t catch her name) and the couple from the left were from around Milhouse on the Swiss border. The gentleman (what was his name?) was a veritable raconteur, telling story after story in 99% French, with solid attempts to catch me up in English on just what the hell the story was about. We had a blast.