Saturday, May 29, 2010

Our gite' near Vichy, France

Massif Central lives in the heart of France. Though not many people pick this as a tourist destination, is has claimed its name to many famous products. It is the home of Michelin, Perrier, Opinel knives, Charroux's fine mustard made by crushing seeds with a stone mill, stone quarries, lots of cheese and even a lace school.

We were early in the travel season and we could see immediately that this region is not used to many tourists. Nonetheless, we made our way through this beautiful part of France and enjoyed it very much.

We found a gite' on the Internet and booked it through the owner who lives in England. You can go here to see more details on the home we rented for a week. The photo below shows the house. We rented the entire downstairs which will be in the photos.

This was the first television we had seen in over a week. Also during that time, we had no access to newspapers, so we were anxious to catch up on the world news. Luckily, we also had a satellite connected to TV from England which made things a lot easier for us. On a side note, it was fun watching "House" on French TV. I hope the French do not think that all American doctors are like him!

The galley kitchen worked, but we quickly found out that the Trout and I both could not be in the kitchen at the same time. When we come to Europe, we change our habits. We adjust quickly to the 6 hour time change, and our eating habits also change.
No longer do I have my typical bowl of cereal for breakfast. We either drive or walk, depending upon the distance, to the nearest Boulangerie. We buy a bagette for the day and a croissant (plain or chocolate).
I brew a pot of "Carte Noire" my favorite coffee that I have found in France, and we have our breakfast. Depending on what is available, we might have cold cuts and cheese with the bagette, or a wonderful jam or jelly. In Germany, we had a soft-boiled egg each morning.
We then start driving in the direction of the towns for the day. After visiting a town, a church or another attraction, the time is nearing 12 noon. Restaurants only serve lunch between noon and 2 p.m., so you must be watching the clock. We usually have picked the restaurant in advance through reading about it while at home. Our noon dinner usually takes two hours, so after that we start touring again.
It is pretty typical that we get back to our gite' around 5 p.m. The Trout should be commended because he does the travel planning. He finds us a place to stay that is central to where we want to tour and then plans the directions we want to go and still be able to find lunch somewhere and get back home before 6 p.m.
We then relax with a glass of wine and prepare our evening meal which is usually cold cuts, cheese, bread and a bottle of wine. We tend to eat a heavy meal at noon with just a simple glass of wine. French driving laws have no tolerance to driving under the influence. This way, we can eat our evening meal when we want to (before 8 pm.) eat lighter and still enjoy a bottle of wine with no concerns. Sometimes during the day we come upon a market where we can buy a special treat for the evening meal.
Out the window of our gite' we kept seeing these little glass houses with roofs. One evening we walked over to find out that we were looking at the roofs of enclosure over graves in a cemetery. We had never seen anything quite like this and decided it must be a regional tradition.


  1. It's so much fun seeing your trip! What a nice place! The kitchen looks tiny like an RV kitchen but very nice.

  2. What an awesome time you are having! Lovely place you are staying. Enjoy your weekend! Twyla

  3. What a great place, you found so many of them on this trip! And I bet you didn't miss the TV! Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Susan, you make it all sound so wonderful. The house looks like a perfect place to spend a week. As to the small houses you see outside. In Asia spirit houses are very common. They are built to house the spirits of ancestors and to ward off evil. Could there be a similarity? I'll bet the owner of the house would know the answer. Have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

  5. What a fantastic trip. I am ready to go again. Eating does change when you travel and must eat between noon and 2PM. Love hearing about all the food. Yummmm!

  6. What a great idea to rent a home for a week. And it looks lovely. My daughter lived in Paris for 6 years so I got to know what it was like to "live" in France for a month every year. That's exactly what I did for breakfast every day and alternated between a bagette or stopping at a cafe while walking the city streets all day while my daughter was working.
    Such fun! I love reading about it through your eyes.
    (Let's hope the French realize House is actually a British man!)

  7. The home was charming Susan, loved it. Sounds to me like you two have this traveling thing down to a science. Smart planners you are, hats off to the Trout for all his creative planning. I think we would travel well together, everything you do, see, and eat sounds like the way to go!