Candes-Saint-Martin is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France, but is sometimes overlooked since it lies in the shadow of its larger next door neighbour, Montsoreau. It is the type of town that is so cute and so typically "French", at least in this foreigner's mind, that you could swear this is where the film "Chocolat" was shot. It wasn't, but this town is a good candidate for a similar film.
The streets are very narrow and traffic has to alternate to drive through. Although there is considerable traffic, all heading to Montsoreau, they are forced to reduce their speed. Maybe they'll slow down long enough to notice their beautiful surroundings!
This little town lounges on the banks of the Vienne and Loire rivers.
We had come to Candes St. Martin with the intention of visiting "Enfin du Vin", a particularly good place to taste and buy wine. They are also known for their awesome "charcuterie", or deli meats. When we got there, however, there was a delegation of a dozen men in suits tasting and making very informed comments, so we thought it best to just move along. We'll be back some other time.
The word "Orfèvre" is a new one to me. It means gold and silver smith.
The Collegiate Church of St. Martin.
Detail of the church.
Right next to the church is an Inn and restaurant called L'Auberge de la Route D'or, very non-descript. What a surprise awaits inside!
An interior with lots of colourful paintings and very elegant decor.
Those are real flowers in the vase, mostly roses.
We took the Menu Fixe and therefore had the same meal. Our appetizer was lox topped with creamy cucumbers, with a side of wild rice.
The main course was "Joues de porc", or pork cheeks, in a rich brown gravy with julienned carrots and parsley, and on the side a vegetable strata of carrots, onions, mushrooms, aubergine, all held together with an egg mixture.
Yummy dessert of chocolate ganache topped with a banana compote, decorated with cherries, strawberries and icing sugar.
It was all delicious, and we thought the server looked very much like Alfred Molina, the mayor from "Chocolat"!
We got back to Thouars in plenty of time to enjoy "La Fête de la Musique". There were different groups playing throughout the city, but we chose to attend the Mozart concert in the St. Médard Church. Three choirs and two orchestras had been melded together for an amazing concert. The instruments were all wind, with the clarinets taking on the major lead. With the church acoustics, we were in for a treat!
Press the play button to hear a snippet of the Mozart concert.