Thursday, June 28, 2012

Praise the Lord!

Remember all that wind, cold and rain we've been experiencing since our arrival?  It would seem that our prayers have been answered and the weather has changed.  In a BIG WAY!  We went from wearing sweaters to sweltering in sauna-like temperatures - from one day to the next. 

We went to Richelieu because we knew it would be cooler in the park, and it was.  We were able to breathe there in the shade of the trees and really enjoy our afternoon.  Then we decided to go for afternoon tea at "Le Salon du Thé" and despite an umbrella and lots of shade, we could barely breathe.  When we got into the car, it was registering 37 degrees! I'm sure all that concrete in the town square must have reflected the rays and increased the degrees a notch or two.   Once we left Richelieu and had been on the road a while with our A/C on, the thermometer went down to 33 and stayed there for the rest of the day. 

But back in Richelieu, the tea was lovely - and so was Karl's cappuccino.  A bit on the pricey side at 21.50 euros, but very, very good.

Karl had a Gâteau Hermann, apparently a fruit cake with a Jewish history, served on a crème anglaise base.  He said it was absolutely yummy! 

I had a fondant au chocolat that was served warm also on a base of crème anglaise with whipped cream on top.

Karl's cappuccino was exceptional, and he savoured every last drop.

I had Earl Grey, of course.  The dishes were all so fancy and the serviettes were a fine linen with a small gold crown - or was that a cardinal's hat? - embroidered on each. 

The Salon du Thé is part of an antique store.  I checked out a set of six teacups and saucers for only, ahem, 800 euros.  Not 8 euros, not 80 euros, but 800 euros.  Then I checked a package of 20 paper napkins which had patterns of fine old French dishes, and that went for a mere 6.50 euros.  Needless to say, after we had paid for our tea, we felt we had spent enough money.  But the desserts and drinks were very fine indeed.


We then drove to Candes-Saint-Martin to see a choir concert of sacred music held in the Collégiale Candes-Saint-Martin, the church we visited last week.  The choir, from London, England, is world-renown and we were fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time.

Choir of Royal Holloway, London

There are many wonderful instruments in this world, but the voice is unequalled.

Choir of Royal Holloway is considered to be one of the finest mixed-voice collegiate choirs in Britain. Equally at home on the concert platform, the choir gives around 40 concerts a year.  On this particular circuit through France, they were leaving for Chartres the next day.

Created at the time of the foundation of Royal Holloway in 1886, the choir was originally only for women's voices. The mixed choir now comprises 24 Choral Scholars, both men and women.

The concert was unbelievable!  It was so beautiful it touched our very souls.  I can tell you that a few tears were shed, from the sheer rapture.

Rupert Gough has been Director of Choral Music and College Organist at Royal Holloway, University of London since 2005 and previously spent 11 years as Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral.

At Karl's insistance, we bought a couple of their CDs which I'm sure will become a cherished part of our collection.  What an uplifting end to a hot, but perfect day!

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