Sleeping in a Castle: Le Clos de la Reibaudiere
Part of: The Great European Road Trip
We are currently staying in a chateau hotel just outside Poitiers. It's not quite as fancy-pants as it sounds - it's a small chateau and not super expensive - but it still is a nice little treat before leaving France.
It's called Le Clos de la Reibaudiere and dates from the late 1700s. The chateau itself isn't as pretty as others we've seen, but the grounds are gorgeous and the interiors are quite fancy. We are in a corner room on the top floor of a newer annex, and the views from our big windows are beautiful:
This morning, a little bird flew in our room and refused to leave. We had plans for the day so we ended up just leaving with the windows open, and he was gone when we got back. He did a lot of chirping and no pooping during his time with us, so I was actually kind of hoping he would still be there!
There is a fancy restaurant in our hotel, and since there seem to be no restaurants in the village we decided to go ahead and have lunch the first day here. We haven't done much proper French dining during our travels, so it seemed like a good thing to do before we leave. It was quite a fun experience, which seemed to take all afternoon!
We opted for the Menu de la Broue, which had two choices for each of the five courses. The French words were more complicated than usual so we didn't entirely know what we were ordering. But we brought the camera!
First, we both received a little glass of tomato puree with celery-tasting mousse on top. Yick. Then the appetizers:
David got this jar of stuff. On the bottom was some kind of fatty jelly which he regretted dipping his fork into at all, topped with two more kinds of vegetable mousse and smoked salmon. He found it to be edible, but not really enjoyable.
My appetizer was better. On the bottom are seaweed wraps filled with grated fennel, and on top are the parts of some small creature with bones that we think must be frog. They seem smaller than your typical frog legs, though. I generally enjoyed this dish and David absolutely loved the possibly-frog.
For the main course, David had rabbit wrapped in bacon. He liked it, but there were a couple sections of the rabbit that appeared to be pureed organ meats. They do love a good liver or kidney in France. We don't so much.
Then the cheese course. David had goat cheese in little wraps with a side of olive ice cream! The goat cheese was stinkier than most, but it went nicely with the ice cream, which thankfully turned out to be only mildly olive-flavored.
I opted for the plate of mixed cheeses, which I picked out from a cart they wheel over to the table. Holy cow, did that cart ever stink to high heaven. I chose what appeared to be the least stinky and least moldy of the selection, and they were nice.
The verdict: As we already knew, we just don't love French food, but everything seemed to be of high quality and was certainly presented beautifully. It was a long time until we were hungry again, but when the tummies began to growl around 9:00, we drove to a McDonalds! Perhaps sadly, we enjoyed that a lot more than our lunch. They have this thing called a Petit Wrap, which is a chicken breast with lettuce and ranch-like dressing inside a tortilla. I was pretty anti-McDonalds in the States, but I can't remember the last time I had a tortilla or ranch-like dressing, so I've become pretty fond of it.