Friday was my 56th birthday so as a birthday treat Simon took me to lunch and on a little outing. We went to Vendoeuvres, in the middle of the Brenne. Not as you might assume to birdwatch. Neither of us are bird nerds and winter isn't the best season for birdwatching in the Brenne.
We went almost on a whim. Simon had read that the church there housed a Celtic altar, and we knew the town had at least two restaurants offering a worker's lunch menu of the sort we like, although we'd never eaten at either before.
Auberge Saint Sulpice.
The aforementioned restaurants are both on Place Saint Louis. When we got there one was closed, so that made the choice easy. We ate at the Auberge Saint Sulpice, and very good and convivial it was too.
The menu du jour was tuna and tomato salad followed by mussels in cream sauce with what appeared to be proper homemade chips, cheese, and a dessert of three sorts of creme brulée.
Me peering into the limpid depths of the magic spring in the forest.
The salad and main were both simple and very tasty. The chips were excellent -- hot, crisp on the outside, floury on the inside, the best I've had for a very long time, and these days it is rare to get chips made from scratch in the kitchen. The cheese was dull, just camembert and a hard cheese of some sort. The dessert came in three tiny pots, all with their sugar flaming. They were vanilla, coffee and chocolate flavoured. The whole lot, plus coffee and wine, came to under €30.
We noticed that the paper serviettes had a picture of a chapel printed on them and we asked if the chapel really existed. 'Oh yes,' we were assured, 'it's just down the road. Turn right at the stop sign then turn left at the bridge, towards Neuilly le Bois.'
Me waiting while Simon photographs the gallo-roman altar.
So off we went, after lunch. The chapel, and its inevitable magic fountain, is hidden in the forest in a lovely peaceful location. We were charmed. After inspecting it inside and out, marvelling at the quantity of water flowing from the spring and enjoying the sun we returned to Vendoeuvres to check out the church.
The day was incredibly mild. There was no need for a coat outdoors, and it was probably the warmest birthday I've had since we left Australia. The church was noticeably chilly nonetheless, and much colder than outside. The altar turned out to be gallo-roman strictly speaking, and is displayed in a side chapel.
More on the chapel and the gallo-roman altar will be forthcoming in future blog posts.