Rest day: Beaurepaire

Walking in France: Out of the sun at La Petite Taverne, Beaurepaire
Out of the sun at La Petite Taverne

Saturday, 9 July 2016

It was another scorching day so we were pleased to be able to lie low.

We crawled out of the tent about 8 am and sauntered into town across the footbridge, collecting two croissants on the way. We have fallen into the habit of having four pastries in the mornings (two each), to build up our strength, but this was a rest day.

In the square, a Saturday market was taking place under the central canopy, with piles of home-grown vegetables laid out for inspection.

Walking in France: Breakfast

On the far side, La Petite Taverne had an invitingly shady look, with its green umbrellas and scrambling vine, so we joined the drinkers there.

Walking in France: Café du Commerce, Beaurepaire
Café du Commerce

We ordered large coffees with hot milk on the side, a formula that usually produces a generous jug of milk, and it did this time.

Having spent a lazy hour or two there, we rambled over to the Grand Café Central and had another coffee each. When lunchtime approached we decided that we owed it to ourselves to have a proper lunch, so we moved again, to the third café in the square, the Café du Commerce.

We went inside, as the outdoor tables were in danger of being invaded by the sun. The interior was old-fashioned but not antique.

Walking in France: Omelettes with salad for lunch
Omelettes with salad for lunch

We sat in a booth with padded benches and ordered omelettes with salad. Keith had his favourite, ham and cheese, but I had omelette nature, not wanting to mask the beautiful flavour of the eggs and butter.

Before leaving town we did the rounds of the cafés to find out what time they opened in the morning. All of them said 7 am, except for the Banette boulangerie on the lower street. They opened at 5 am and they had a coffee machine!

Walking in France: Heading back to our tent with dinner
Heading back to our tent with dinner

During this exploratory walk we discovered a monument to a local hero, Louis Michel-Villaz, who according to the sign, installed the first system of electric street lighting in any town in France. That was in 1883.

The afternoon passed delightfully, flat on our backs in the sylvan glade next to our tent, surrounded by the joyful chatter of families nearby.

There was some sort of music festival taking place near the boules court, where we had originally been assigned, which explained why Rat-tooth had told us we could not stay an extra night.

At 7 pm we set off across the park, to the same restaurant as last night.

It was oddly quiet as we approached, and a sign on the door read “Fermé ce soir, merci de votre comprehension” (closed tonight, thanks for your understanding).

Walking in France: Picnic in the camping ground
Picnic in the camping ground

This was a blow, but luckily the Casino supermarket next door was still open, so we quickly assembled the makings of a picnic – cheese, sausage, two salads, half a baguette and a bottle of Saumur wine.

Walking in France: And Bert and Piglet thoroughly enjoyed it too
And Bert and Piglet thoroughly enjoyed it too

Back at the tent, we laid it all out on my towel (which had been well washed in the hotel the day before) and sat cross-legged on our mats to enjoy it.

The food was all delicious, the wine tasted lovely, even from plastic supermarket containers, and Bert and Piglet were happy to join in.

Previous day: La Côte-St-André to Beaurepaire

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