Je suis en France avec des amis et je suis très content, despite learning this morning that I’m going to have to isolate for two weeks on my return. It’s been so lovely to get away, save for all the restrictions and reservations about travelling. The “fear factor” is causing total disruption to the tourism industry as is the one step forward, three steps backward approach that we are having to deal with. I guess the travel plans of half a million people either in France or about to go to France are now in doubt…it certainly takes away the joy of travel. “The Travel Bug” has taken on a whole new meaning and for the foreseeable future will change the way we all live our lives.
That said, people are beginning to accept the masks, the endless hand sanitising, the social distancing and in the Dordogne, where I’m staying locals are being as cautious as possible. Markets are open, but everyone is wearing a mask and if you don’t you get an evil glare from several pairs of eyes. Perhaps there is an element of French insouciance in the way they are styling out their masks (often perched casually around the chin area), but on the whole people seem to be relatively accepting of the levels of protection they are required to wear whilst out in crowds.
The beauty of France is that so much of their lives are spent sitting outside in cafés watching the world go by and at least you’re allowed to take your mask off when you are sitting down at a table.
We’ve been back to one of my favourite restaurants in the area La Cour d’Eymet and it didn’t disappoint. They have a wonderful courtyard in Eymet’s main street, which is being used to full social distancing effect and it felt delightfully ‘normal’ an evening. The building is beautiful to look at and the food is exquisite. The waiters here are wearing plastic visors that sits on the chin, so it doesn’t cover their whole face, therefore you don’t feel like you’re sitting in a hospital waiting room and you can understand what they’re saying…well you could if you can speak French, obviously I couldn’t understand a word…apart from “plus de vin blanc madam?”
It’s a very traditional French restaurant with high quality, imaginative food. Not cheap, but worth the splash out. A lot of older locals frequent it and it was busy the night we went, despite the lack of tourists. The restaurateur, François Kartheiser (formally married to Sophie Rubochon, daughter of Joël Rubuchon the renowned chef with 32 stars to his name) was charming as he engaged with all his guests, clearly passionate about his profession and what he was serving us.
The Courtyard and menu:-
François Kartheiser himself:-
To start with:-
My salmon starter:-
A delicious curried prawn starter:-
I totally forgot to take any photos of the main course, but they were equally delicious!
My pudding, a meringue-y thing:-
and here was what I chose last year for pudding:-
Or of course you can go for le fromages!:-
The local Sauvignon Blanc from La Forêt vineyard:-
This La Forêt local wine was delicious…more about that later!