At last, a day of being still. Well, still in a fashion, in that we’re staying in the same place. Saint-Ceneri-de-Gerei is so lovely that it’s captured us a little longer.
I forgot to mention yesterday that the village has a unique feature, or more to the point, in over a decade of village hopping, it’s the first place we’ve come across that does not have a boulangerie. Most villages have two: one that opens at the crack of dawn until early afternoon, the other from early afternoon until early evening. It’s a traditional that dates back to the French revolution, following which it was deemed the people would never again be without bread. But here we are, sans bread. Unheard of!
We start the day with a hike radiating in all directions: up past the church to gain a bird’s-eye view over the village: spectacular.
I can appreciate why painters flocked here in the Belle Epoch era, when painting outdoors was all the rage following the invention of tin tubes, enabling paint to be easily transportable. Prior to that, mixed paint was stored in pig’s bladders – painters sketched external scenes then had to return to the studio to paint them.
From there, it’s down the hill to the river and the 15th century chapel, another painter’s favourite.
We follow the river back into town and hike up to the gardens on the outskirts of the village.
Killer hills, good exercise, but sadly the gardens are closed. Great views are afforded both up and down. And I spot a letterbox with a bunny in it. See, not all the French see bunnies as menu items.
Legs thoroughly stretched and nowhere to drive, lunch is called for. When in France, etc. The French take lunch very seriously. You stop, eat a proper, often three course lunch, with wine and have a proper conversation. They’d be horrified at our catfood (tuna) on the run office efforts. Very civilised and a tradition I’m rather fond of.
We settle in the main square, bathed in warm light, and set about ordering….and it’s here the plan goes awry. The wine is local and a delight, as is my order, crevette brochettes, but Chris has misordered badly. The plat de jour which he thought was veal and onions, turns out to be kidney and onions. Veal yes, just not the bit he was expecting. To his credit, he takes it well and works around it, perplexing our waitress. Frites go a long way in diffusing the situation. I would have freaked – I’m not good with the “bits”.
The rest of lunch is delicious, creme brulee is deemed one of the best he’s had and my tarte tartine, offset with the tang of creme fraiche is divine. Coffee too (oh how I miss my afternoon coffee…and who needs sleep on holiday anyway?)
We finish just as the rain clouds come in. A book beckons for a lazy finish to the day. I’m about to start Daphne Du Maurier’s “My Cousin Rachel”. Chris kindly plays musical chairs for me, as I alternatively follow the sun and hide from the rain as the weather twists and turns the rest of the day away.
I finally feel like I’ve had some down time. I’m so relaxed a damselfly lands for a visit.