(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Monday, August 18, 2008


Well, on Sunday I checked out a vide-grenier in Champagnac-de-Bel Air. I had been there once other time with J-Y in search of a stone factory ... but just the outskirts and I really missed what a lovely little village it was.

The vide-grenier was in the town's recreation area, adjacent to tennis courts and a large swiming pool. There was also a big covered seating area where they offer the meals during village fêtes. I'd gauge this vide-grenier as small to medium with a nice blend of vendors, some who obviously make a living at it all the way to children on a blanket spread with toys they have outgrown.

Unfortunately, Sunday day was overcast with rainshowers and there were a couple of pretty strong downpours with attendees dashing to huddle under umbrellas and vendors madly spreading tarps. I seized the opportunity to dash to the crêpe vendor wear I had 2 crêpes au sucre for 1€. This inspired me to search for my own blackened crêpe pan (didn't find one here) sigh.

I then hopped over to the boissons, ordered a beer, and watched a makeshift bar produce a variety of aperitifs for the gaggle of men huddled there. Ricard, Absinthe and Menthes as well as whisky sodas were pouring away! I debated whether or not to eat with the village or grab a saucisson but in the end, because I knew I was booked for Thai night later, I resisted.

I did score some nice old glassware sets for the store before I left.

I'm sorry I skipped eating because I battled with a massive headache most of the day. My little stove gave its last flames and I instead of hauling myself to the store, I chose naptime!

My reservation was for 7ish, so I dragged myself up and out to the Domaine la Roseraie, an ambitious little enterprise with lavish potential. Owned by an Irish couple, Ian and Andrea, this former monastery and grounds has been remade into a beautiful hotel, restaurant and bar with inviting grounds that include a pool. Why ambitious? Because the couple is also developing holiday cottages and Phase 1 is enjoying brisk sales I'm told with more in the works.

The bar/restaurant has loads of ambience, the bar is a notch above the other local offerings with a contemporary feel and bar stools that you can use to belly up and enjoy a meal, especially nice when one is alone, n'est pas? They are only open during the 'season', which is to say April-ish to mid-October. They offer something outdoors every Sunday, sometimes a barbeque, sometimes a theme-night such as last nights Thai food and art exhibit. The artist on display was Steve Barker who, along with his wife, also run a nightclub not far from here which I am now decided upon visiting. Entrepreneurial lot, us expatriate adventurers, eh? I've got to hone in on what my gig is going to be and soon.

Dinner was thai curry, veggie, salmon, or chicken, all with their own sauces which were delicious. The rice accompaniment was a tad disappointing as I'd lay odds on Uncle Ben having a hand in it. Some noodle salads, the ubiquitous platter of duck (with plum sauce this time), a nice cucumber and raitsa were also there. Naan would have been a better choice than the french bread, but all round it was a treat to have some ethnic variety. I did gasp at my final bill, which I now have a tendency to do ... The meal, with wine, was 20€ ... my 2 pre-dinner drinks, a bottle of Badoit and a café more than doubled that and I was presented with l'addition of 43€. Gulp! Good thing the host (Ian) was gregarious and I did meet a couple of interesting contacts for future follow-up. And I bought a painting, too! (the blue wave on the website is now mine). So that was the sugar that made the medicine of a tad too expensive meal okay (did I mention it was buffet-style?!) I'll pass on the pre-dinner drinks next time ... one more and I'd probably be snockered anyway. ha.

But, haven't been eating out much and it was nice to be out amongst'em so to speak. I'm saving descriptions of the mostly English attendees for another post I'm working on regarding the various expats and observations around that. So more to come soon ...


La Belette Rouge said...

Your dinner sounds like a nice compensation from your campfire cooking. If you amoratize your food expenses over the course of your time in France it should bring down your bill a lot.

Irish hosts, a beautiful ex-monastery, and wine. Sounds like heaven( or as close as I may get.;-)

Utah Savage said...

I'm so proud of you and your adventurous nature. It will all fall into place, just as it should. Carry on. I'd like a map of France with your area circled so I can know exactly where you are. Must get map and track back to every place you have visited or talked about. Must learn French so I can come camp in your yard.

Anonymous said...

i've missed you!

I'm writing again.

Our Juicy Life said...

hey - sounds like a lovely evening. Good for you for getting out and meeting new people, you will be so popular very soon. Yikes on the 43euros for dinner, i guess next time just got for the 20e and skip everything else. Can't wait to hear about your mostly english post. WHen we spend a month in the Dordogne (near Riberac) there were so many brits...a bit too many for my taste. But I was told there were many villages that were just forgotten, because the kids were leaving for better work and brits came over and basically bought the entire village and brought it back to life. a love and hate relationship for sure.

Randal Graves said...

I've such a love/hate relationship with food posts 'cause I always seem to be hungry when I read them, but you pointing out the price tag solves all problems.

It's good that you got to try something other than that miniature stove/launchpad deal you've been using.

Je ne regrette rien said...

LBR: I like how the way you think. Amortize eating out....yep yep, you are on to something there!

U.S.: ever get over here, you won't be camping (unless that is a euphemism for something .... heh heh)

FOT: backatcha, thus your little welcome back award above!!!

OJL: it is taking some time to gel, but yes (Shock and Awe) I have opinions to share!!! lol

RG: yeah I was just about resolved in that area and then LBR had that great amortization scheme sooooo.... !!