Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tours (France) Continued

Pages from Jan's Travel Journal: April 18, 2014

Before continuing with "A Tour of Tours", I must take a moment to mention a couple of my favorite blogs. Lynn McBride, over at Southern Fried French, is an expat hailing from South Carolina who writes charmingly of her life in southern Burgundy. Her wonderful blog is filled with recipes, anecdotes and some fabulous photography. I recently purchased her book "How to Learn a New Language with a Used Brain" and have hopes of learning French. At the age of 62, my brain is certainly "used"! But I must persevere -  after all, I may have French grand-babies one day!   I also recommend that you take a look at French Word a Day, by Kristin Espinasse, an expat from Arizona who now resides in Provence. She, too, writes of her life in France and is also a published author. With the help of her husband and children, Kristin introduces French words and phrases that tie into the theme of each post. She offers stories, recipes and lovely photography along with a few life lessons as well. And now, back to April 18 in Tours...

Darcy and Mathieu on an "invisible" bench.
I couldn't help snapping a photo of them on this broken bench!

We met Darcy's colleague and friend, Erica, at la Place Plumereau at the appointed time. Erica has not lived in Tours for very long and is still becoming acquainted with the city. We began walking toward the university, which is situated along the Loire. There is a lovely pathway beside the river. We followed her as she walked briskly into the library and continued onto an elevator which whisked us upstairs to the roof. We were treated to a sweeping view over the rooftops of Tours. From that vantage point, we could see for miles.

The rooftops of Tours, France.

 A closer view. I love the ivy-covered house!

We continued exploring, with Erica narrating our walk, and eventually found ourselves at Les Halles, a large, covered marketplace. We were all eager to go inside and have a look, as even Erica had not visited it before. It reminded me of Halles Chatelet in Orléans, though larger and with a much wider variety of shops. There were several enticing shops offering carry-out, and of course, patisseries, boulangeries, fromageries, and so on. I wanted to purchase some of the famous Tours rillettes, and soon had a jar of the tasty terrine wrapped in paper and tucked into a little bag.

All I need now is a glass of wine and a crusty baguette!

We had hoped that Erica could join us for lunch, but she had a previous engagement. As we walked with her toward the tram stop, we learned that the Tram de Tours had only been in operation  for about six months. Unfortunately, it wasn't convenient for us at that time, because we had decided to turn back the way we had come in order to find a place for our midday meal. We had a difficult time deciding; there so many cafes, restaurants and brasseries from which to choose! Finding ourselves back at Place Plumereau, we were approached by the proprietor of a British-style pub who was so friendly and persuasive that we couldn't resist. We elected to dine inside for a change, and were charmed by the interior. The pub was much larger than it appeared from the street, and we were soon seated at a roomy booth toward the back. The old stone walls were warm and inviting; the leaded glass windows provided us with a view of a side street bustling with tourists. Mathieu and I both chose the croque, which was served with a side salad, while Darcy opted for a planche, which was really something! She had not expected so much food, but did her best to finish it. 

A traditional croque Monsieur.

 The planche looked like a tasty choice.

TRAVEL TIP: Before your trip, use Google street view to "walk" around the neighborhoods of potential places to stay. You will be able to see if there are restaurants, a pharmacy, a bakery, and attractions within walking distance. Cyber-walk to the nearest metro stop or taxi stand. You won't feel disoriented when you actually arrive.

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