Monday, August 17, 2015

More Time in Tours

Pages from Jan's Travel Journal: April 29, 2015

We were having such a fun day in Tours, France! The Segway tour (the machines are called gyropodes in France) was certainly a highlight. When we had finished the tour, Darcy contacted her friend and colleague, Erica, who lives in Tours, to ask if she could join us at Place Plumereau. It was good to see Erica again, and it was so nice that Craig could at last make her acquaintance. We met at an ice cream shop and all enjoyed a dish or cone of some creamy gelato as we talked. The afternoon began to grow chilly, so we followed our gelato with coffee at the French Coffee Shop just off Place Plume. The shop was cozy and comfortable.

Darcy and Erica in Tours, France.

Remnants of the ancient St. Martin's Basilica
 in Tours, dating from the 400s.

Specialty drinks at the French Coffee Shop
 in Tours, France.

We all wandered around town together. Craig wanted to see the interior of Saint Gatien's Cathedral, so we went inside the beautiful structure. We toured it slowly and talked in whispers, not wanting to disturb the reverent silence. Soon, that silence was broken by a few tones from the beautiful pipe organ. The great instrument was being tuned! We could see a massive scaffold alongside it and rightly assumed it was there for maintenance and tuning. As we drew closer, we were treated to a lovely impromptu concert. It was an unexpected gift we all enjoyed.

St. Gatien's Cathedral in Tours, France,
built between 1170 and 1547.

The beautiful pipe organ at St. Gatien's.

Erica and I, gazing up at the cathedral in Tours.

We later made our way over to Les Halles, the large, covered market in Tours. It was fun to browse there and I purchased a jar of pork rillettes to take home. We stopped at a little cheese market, where Craig bought some "pocket cheese". That had become a family joke after one of our previous vacations in France during which Craig startled Mathieu by pulling a hunk of cheese out of his jacket pocket and munching on it as we walked around Orléans.

A cheese shop in Tours, France.

After a while, we went into a very uniquely decorated bar for drinks. Simon, who is Erica's significant other, was able to join us there. We sat in a cute little circular room and had a nice visit along with our drinks. We had hoped that Erica and Simon could join us for dinner, but it didn't work out. 

Dinner that evening was at the restaurant, Leonard da Vinci, where I had dined with Darcy and Mathieu in 2014. Darcy was very happy to be sharing one of her favorite restaurants with her dad. It turned out to be quite an experience, and not exactly what we had expected. We were seated on the upper level again, which is made up of two or three very cozy and nicely decorated rooms. There was a group of American tourists in the adjacent room. A tour group. The were obviously well into their cups and were talking loudly and boisterously. And then, they began to sing! Their tour guide and song-leader was apparently a well-known songwriter in France. They sang the hokiest of old American tunes, one after another. Darcy was mortified. She had wanted the evening to be perfect. We did the only thing we could do; we just laughed it off. In fact, at times we were laughing uncontrollably. Darcy even apologized to the waitress for the rowdy Americans. She responded in a somewhat resigned tone, saying that it occurs regularly in that restaurant. The food was good, though, as always. Craig, Mathieu, and Darcy ordered the pasta prepared with truffle cream, seared foie gras, and Italian ham, while I tried a new dish of pasta shells stuffed with seasoned veal. It was a delightful meal and I enjoyed being there with my family, making memories. 

Dinner at Leonard da Vinci restaurant in Tours, France.
With Craig, Darcy and Mathieu.

Delicious veal-stuffed shells.

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