Friday, 31 March 2023

A Week on the Road part 2

Yesterday I write about our drive to Amsterdam. This is the return journey.

We left Amsterdam last Saturday, playing the Amstelveen escape game. The voice in the dashboard spent an hour trying to make us turn left onto a road that was being dug up, but then we managed to decode some roadsigns and get onto our chosen route.

I had decided to take a different route home, driving past Rotterdam and across the sea defences of Zeeland. This was a great choice, with not too much traffic (Saturday morning, remember) and some excellent traditional wind powered water pumps (windmills). It was breezy - force 8 - but sunny, and the views were excellent. After a lunch stop we progressed (via a new and unmapped autoroute interchange) to Calais, then on to Abbeville via minor roads.


The next day we set off home along the free section of autoroute before rejoining the smaller roads. Many of these are now upgraded to near Autoroute standard, so the trip costs €47 less in tolls, but takes less than an hour longer.


We arrived home at about 15h, having driven 2078km, averaging 60km/h and using 5.5 litres of fuel per 100km.


I love driving long distances, but spending what seems like hours trying to find the correct autoroute entry does nothing for me. We encountered a lot of roadworks in Belgium, which added about four hours to our travelling time in added traffic jams and confusion. Overall, though... ace!

Thursday, 30 March 2023

A Week on the Road part1

As Susan said yesterday we spent last week on the road.

Our original plan was to catch the train to Amsterdam, but tickets for the Vermeer exhibition were being snapped up quickly and had we waited for the train tickets to become available we might have missed out on exhibition tickets. For some unknown reason the TGV and Thalys tickets for mid March weren't released until six weeks before the date we wanted to travel. Anyways...

I decided to drive via the smaller roads, not paying tolls, seeing some countryside, and putting faces to names. (Do places have faces? That's probably a debate for another time.)


Our first day was to Troyes,  345km, where we stayed the night. 

On the second day we drove to Tervuren, stopping for lunch at Rocroi on the Franco/Belgian border and the Waterloo battle memorials. 335km.


Our third day of driving was from Tervuren to Amsterdam via Alexander and Caroline's new chateau in Antwerp. Because we had missed it the day before, we went via Ghent then got caught in the mahoosive permanent traffic jam that is Antwerp. 308km


Each day we spent at least five hours driving, stopping when we saw something that might be interesting. It wasn't the fastest trip, but it was an appropriate trip for two mature people with plenty of time on their hands. And it gives us plenty of things to blog about.

Wednesday, 29 March 2023

A Week Away in Belgium and the Netherlands - Highlights

We've just come back from a week away in Belgium and the Netherlands. We went because Simon really wanted to see the Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum and then places to visit and people to see got added until it turned into a week long road trip via Champagne, Tervuren, Ghent, Anterp, Amstelveen, Amsterdam and Normandy. Here are my three highlights to pique your interest, and I'll write more detailed posts over the next few weeks. Our grateful thanks go to Lisa and Simon, Caroline and Alexander, and Ingrid and Huub for hosting and generously showing us around their patches.

Ghent altarpiece, Belgium. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The Ghent Altarpiece, a stupendous piece of medieval art.

Polder, Amstelveen, the Netherlands. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A polder on the outskirts of Amstelveen, a haven for many waterfowl and waders.

Vermeer exhibition, Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands. Photo by Loire Valley Time Valley.
At the Vermeer exhibition, a once in a lifetime experience which sold out almost immediately.

Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Fossils in the Garden

Fossils from the Loire Valley, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

The Loire Valley is the remnant of an ancient tropical sea, and everyone finds fossils in their gardens. This little haul is displayed on the low wall of our friends Huub and Ingrid's terrace. All from their garden in Preuilly. The fossils are mostly sponges, but also corals and a bivalve shell.

Monday, 27 March 2023

Champagne Anyone?

Wines in a cellar, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
 

Xavier Fortin, the sommelier at La Promenade, a Michelin starred restaurant in Le Petit Pressigny (population 338 and under 10 kilometres from where we live) periodically announces that his troglodyte cave cellar will be open and purchases can be made. So off I went to pick up champagne (Pierre Legras Orior brut, for €25 a bottle) and other sparkling wine (Domaine Patrice Colin, Les Perles d'Anne-Sophie  €11 a bottle). I bought some as gifts and some for myself. Both wines are very drinkable, affordable and it was a great opportunity to get some classy wine. My friend Bernard was there too, buying for a couple of family events coming up.

Wines in a cellar, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Further reading: Pierre Legras Champagne website, in English [link]. The Orior has tiny bubbles and is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Meunier.

Wine cellar, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Les Perles d'Anne-Sophie is a natural sparkling wine made near Vendome, with no dosage, from a blend of 50% Chenin, 30% Chardonnay, and 20% Pineau d'Aunis, sold as a vin de France because it doesn't fit any AOC rules. It has wonderfully green apple flavours. The vines are 15 years old, growing in flinty clay. It is unusual to see Pineau d'Aunis used like this. It is a very distinctive variety, normally reserved for rosé and unique to the Loire Valley. 

Sparkling wine, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Friday, 24 March 2023

A Well Head in Saint Pierre des Corps

Well head, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

On our way back to the garage after lunch with our mechanic and a friend at a pizza restaurant we walked past the Saint Pierre des Corps community garden. Bernard piped up and said his grandparents had lived in Saint Pierre des Corps. He could remember all the allotments in the area had these unusual (for here) well heads. The water isn't very far down, as it is very close to the Loire and about the same distance to the Cher. He had very fond memories of being a little kid (that would have been in the sixties) 'helping' his granddad in the veggie garden and getting to scoff all the sun ripened tomatoes and fruit right there in the garden. He grew up to be a chef.

Thursday, 23 March 2023

The Annual Cowslip Photo

 

Cowslip Primula veris, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

These photos were actually taken on 6 March, near Le Petit Pressigny, but I just didn't round to posting them until now. I was with the walking group Phoenix en Claise, which meant that as soon as I showed an interest in this plant Fabrice was busy trying to convince everyone it was a jonquil. I'm used to him so I just agreed, but Collette doesn't come out with us often so she was concerned that we didn't know what the plant was and pointed out it was a Cowslip (Fr. coucou). I don't know which pleased Fabrice more -- me joining in on the joke that it was a jonquil, or Collette getting sucked in to disagreeing with him.

Cowslip Primula veris, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Cleaning the Tapestries at the Chateau Royal d'Amboise

Conservation cleaning a tapestry in the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Gently and carefully lowering a section of tapestry to vacuum it.

The other day I was at the Chateau Royal d'Amboise and two conservators were gently vacuuming one of the 17th century Aubusson tapestries. They were using special museum vacs and the tapestry has been backed with hessian. This is to take the weight of the big heavy tapestry so gravity doesn't pull it apart when it is hung. Adding the backing is a modern conservation measure. Old tapestries were not made with a backing and you could see all the thread ends. The conservators were struggling with the weight and it was causing a certain amount of bad language. They were mortified when they discovered I spoke French and had understood their exclamations.

Conservation cleaning a tapestry in the Chateau Royal d'Amboise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Preparing to lower a section of the tapestry for vacuuming.

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

Walking Around Chambon

On Monday 23 January we joined the Phoenix en Claise walkers at Chambon. It was cold, so I only took my gloves off to take two photos.

Fallen tree, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
This fallen tree was a mystery. There was no hole in the ground and no drag marks. How did it get here?

Sheep, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Some very new lambs.

Monday, 20 March 2023

What is French Cuisine?

Recently a client asked me what French cuisine was. We'd just observed that there are Italian restaurants everywhere in the Western World. Despite the reputation of French cuisine as being the height of perfection (that's how the UNESCO World Intangible Heritage listing describes it), French cuisine is not so universally available or loved at a grassroots level.

Picnic, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A picnic in the garden of friends.

I didn't really have a good answer for my client apart from talking about Escoffier and sauces but it set me thinking and I posted the question on Facebook in an English language group of keen domestic cooks who enjoy French food. Many of the answers waffled about food prepared with love and passion, without giving any real indication of what exactly was being concocted for the table. In fairness to those who responded in this fashion, I had specified that just giving me a list of classic French dishes would not cut it. 

Organic bread at a market, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Organic artisanal bread at our local market.

To my considerable surprise, not a single person mentioned the French concept of terroir! And a lot of people appear to be convinced that all French food contains vast quantities of butter!

Cured salmon at a market, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Cured salmon at our local market.

My observation is that France sits in a unique location, the only truly central western European nation, and this has influenced its food heritage (and indeed, made it quite multifaceted). France has a northern European face and a southern European face, and lots of regions. On the ground in France regional cuisine is more important than national a lot of the time.  

Homemade tartiflette. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Homemade tartiflette.

In the north the flavours and colours are subtle, muted, often sophisticated and complex. This is the France of butter, cream, soft cheeses, white asparagus, endives or cabbages and delicate seasonings (thyme is about as strong as it gets and garlic is used judiciously). Here in the Touraine Loire Valley we are mostly influenced by this northern tradition.

Charcutier, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The window of the charcutier in our village.

In the south the flavours are more robust and the colours more vibrant. Peppers, tomatoes and aubergines feature, as well as olive oil, stone fruits and citrus. Seasonings have more zing and can include piment d'Espelette (a type of mild chilli) and basil. 

Organic vegetable farm shop, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A farm shop selling organic vegetables on the edge of our village. The man on the left is a Michelin starred chef.

As well as the bourgeoise tradition of haute cuisine developed by Escoffier and the famous restaurant rating system of Michelin stars, there is a nation wide tradition of simple nourishing unpretentious regional peasant food too. Root vegetables (carrots, turnips and celeriac) and pulses (lentils and white beans) are remarkably popular, and pork is everywhere. But likewise, almost every French village has a patissier, making ornate tarts and complex multilayered slices. 

Another universal element of French cuisine is beautiful presentation. The French understand that food should delight the eye as well as the tastebuds. This concern for aesthetics applies to the table setting as well, so that a mood is set for enjoying the meal before it even appears in front of the diner.

Homemade apricot clafoutis. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Homemade apricot clafoutis.

Salads, or more precisely, salades composées, are one of the unsung heroes of French cuisine. The most well known to anglophones is salade nicoise, but you can get delicious and satisfying salads all over France. Lettuce is not a garnish here, it is meant to be eaten, and tomatoes are something you look forward to in the late summer when they are ripe and full of flavour. Out of season tomatoes are not consumed much by most people, although these days they are available.

French wine. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Wine, delivered to our house by our local Michelin starred sommelier.

Terroir is the idea that food is a product of its environment, which includes everything from the soil to the generations of farmers, the seasons and the traditions of processing. All French people understand the concept of terroir and buy into it -- for French food at any rate. It doesn't stop the occasional cultural appropriation, such as French produced so called wagu beef or an Indication Géographique Protegée for kiwi fruits grown in the Pays-Basque and les Landes.

French cuisine frequently uses the 'what grows together goes together' principle too. That is to say, for example, Sainte Maure de Touraine goats cheese goes with walnuts and the light fruity red wines of the Loire Valley.

Charantais Melon, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Charentais melon, a seasonal locally grown treat. Very few people would bother with melon grown further south and on sale earlier.

Ingredients matter -- where they came from, how they were grown, as well as seasonality and regionality.  Farm to fork and nose to tail are not newfangled trendy concepts here. Nor is short food supply chains. People practice these ideas as a matter of course, just like their parents and grand parents did.

Butcher shop interior, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Our village butcher shop.

Lunch is the main meal of the day, and bread is by far the most important carbohydrate, consumed at every meal. There is a very positive relationship with food and eating is associated with conviviality and what makes life worth living. Everyone loves to talk about food and there is pride in the local produce.

A large part of the reason that it seems so difficult to pin down exactly what French food is comes from the fact that all anglophone cuisines have been very heavily influenced by the French style of cooking, although sadly they have not always inherited the sheer joy in eating and cooking that the French demonstrate.

Galette queens, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Two young American medical students enjoy the tradition of being crowned if your piece of galette des rois contains the token. This is a local workers restaurant.

So what is French cuisine to you and what is your experience of French cuisine?

Friday, 17 March 2023

High Class Hibernating

Bats are all protected species in France, and where possible, closely monitored by specialist licenced biodiversity surveyors. The Chateau of Chambord recently had its winter bat survey done by a conservation team from Beauval Zoo. They used an endoscope to get into the most inaccessible cracks, and they had to be very careful with their torches, as some species are extremely sensitive to light. They needed to be quick too, not just so as to disturb them as little as possible, but also because the site is huge, with over a hundred rooms, and the scientists only have a day to complete their survey. Adding to the complications, some of the rooms are open to the public and full of precious objects, which might, nevertheless, conceal bats. It all has to be carefully surveyed, especially things like the folds in curtains.

Chateau de Chambord, Loir et Cher, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

The bats are found hidden in tiny gaps in walls and between the walls and wooden mouldings such as door frames. They are guarding their energy reserves, in a state of torpor away from the noise and the light, and awaiting their re-emergence in the spring.

Pipistrelle bat, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
 

Most of the individual bats are pipistrelles, but there are horseshoe bats too, as well as a few other species. The Chateau de Chambord is the most important hibernation site for pipistrelles in Centre Val de Loire. In one tower, more than 50 individuals, behind one door frame at least 30... The chapel has the largest concentration of pipistrelles, with about 200 hidden in the space. The room is not heated, but sheltered from the wind and not drafty, with access from the exterior through cracks -- perfect for little bats. In winter the chapel door is kept closed at all times, to stop the bats being disturbed, except once for the survey. 

Chateau de Chambord, Loir et Cher, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

The curators are very aware of the bats needs and have adapted their displays to provide a suitable environment. The main thing to avoid is having upward shining lights. The other thing is to make sure there are no heaters near a fissure where the bats are sheltering. There are plenty of spaces which are not open to tourists or used for objects in the collection, and the ideal is to encourage the bats to use these spaces rather than the rooms containing precious works of art.

Pipistrelle bat, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Every year an analysis of the population is written up, and changes noted. There are now ten years of records, taken twice a year, in winter and summer. This year's winter survey revealed 900 bats, twice the numbers of last year. 

Chateau de Chambord, Loir et Cher, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Ordinary tourists will never see these bats as they are tucked away, not moving a muscle, in places you will never see without the right equipment.

Note: The bat photos (both pipistrelles) were taken by me in the Sud Touraine, not at Chambord, and I was not involved with the Chambord survey, although I have surveyed bats in the Sud Touraine.  

If you want to watch the bat surveyors in action they have released a video on YouTube [link].

Thursday, 16 March 2023

Walking Around Preuilly sur Claise

On Sunday 29 January I met Helene and her grandson Louis at the bridge in Preuilly and we joined others on a 12 kilometre walk that covered the triangle between Preuilly sur Claise, Boussay and Bossay sur Claise, coming back via Le Paradis on the track that is the old medieval road between Preuilly and Bossay.

Milled oak log, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A milled oak log at the end of a farm drive. The farmer, who was on his way out, stopped off for a chat. This is a bit of a cottage industry for him. The other logs are poplar and he will use them as firewood.

View over the Claise valley, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A view over the Claise valley.

Dairy farm, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
This dairy farm, at a spot called Saint-Michel doesn't look overly salubrious, and I suspect is under the same management as the notorious neighbouring 280 head dairy farm at La Parentiere, which has allowed its effluent to pollute the Claise several times.

Breast cancer awareness balloons marking a running trail, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
These balloons have been marking the trail for a fun run since the October Rose breast cancer awareness campaign last year. Maybe they are waiting for a testicular cancer awareness campaign...

View up the Claise valley, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
View up the Claise valley, towards Bossay sur Claise.

Municipal boundary, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The hamlet of Les Chauvraux has the border between Preuilly sur Claise and Bossay sur Claise municipalities (Fr. communes) run right through the middle. The house on the left is in Preuilly, the house on the right is in Bossay.

Walking in the Claise valley, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Walking along the old road, parallel to the river.

Preuilly sur Claise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A classic view of Preuilly sur Claise.

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Preuilly Residents Are Fed Up With the Trucks

Twenty metre long trucks drive up and down the main street of Preuilly incessantly. Last year the authorities recorded thirty traffic incidents. The mayor says he is powerless to do anything. The trucks find traversing the centre of town on the D725 difficult, and often scrape buildings along the way.

Truck navigates a village main street, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

The trouble is we are on the départementale route between Chateauroux and Chatellerault, and the situation is getting worse, with bigger and bigger trucks. The shopkeepers along the main street recognise that the trucks have to make deliveries to them, but the ones who are just using the street as a rat run are resented. There are other routes they could choose, but they take longer, and time is money.

The fronts of shops get damaged, walls knocked down and posts ripped up as the trucks pass. It is because when two trucks meet one another at the corner of la Grand rue and rue Chaumont-Patin they mount the gutter onto the footpath. Karim has had to replace his hanging sign for the mini supermarket several times, which costs him around €350 each time it happens.

Truck navigates a village main street, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

The mayor is worried about the safety of the inhabitants. Failing any better method he is going to have 30 cm bollards installed, to stop wheels mounting the footpath. He says they'll be ugly, but unfortunately there isn't any choice. He's also banned trucks over 17.5 tonnes but on the municipal routes. The problem is concentrated on the D725, but he doesn't have authority over that route as it is départementale.

The ideal would be a bypass but the Département of Indre et Loire says it is impossible. It would be too costly and too difficult administratively. The only possible solution is to require heavy vehicles to take more suitable routes, indicated with the appropriate signage. The only difficulty with that is convincing the municipalities who will inherit all this traffic, and the road safety commissions of the Départements of Indre and Vienne.

Truck navigates a village main street, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

The three road safety commissions will have to be brought together and Preuilly will have to really make a great case. We will have to be careful not to come across as simply not wanting the trucks and being willing to foist them on other municipalities. Instead we'll have to point out that there have been suitable routes in existance for years. We need trucks which have no business in Preuilly to be required to take more suitable routes. The Département says it is ready to help Preuilly in this endeavour.

Video of trucks traversing Preuilly sur Claise can be found on France Bleu Touraine (local television news) and France TV2 (national television news, starting at 12.04).

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Walking Around La Guerche

On Monday 30 January Simon and I walked 5 km around La Guerche with the Phoenix en Claise group. We started off in the village itself, which is one of the loveliest in the Sud Touraine, then went up the hill.

Barn door, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A nicely maintained barn door in the village of La Guerche.

House, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A charming house with a courtyard behind a high wall.

Door, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A narrow door gives access to this house from a quiet street corner.

Courtyard, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A courtyard entrance to a house.

House built into ramparts and moat, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
House built into the village ramparts and moat.

Hideaway, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
In one part of the forest there was a wooden hut surrounded by plastic bottles on stakes. I've no idea what that was about.

Hidden vine hut, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A vine hut is almost hidden by bushes covered in oak moss Evernia prunastri (Fr. mousse de chene).

Monday, 13 March 2023

Fleur de Loire

Fleur de Loire, Blois, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Pauline telling Rosemary and Hervé about the historic pillars in the bar.

Fleur de Loire is a new 5 star hotel with a 2 star Michelin restaurant at Blois. The chef is locally born and raised Christophe Hay [link], who is the only chef in the Touraine Loire Valley who has more than one star. We were invited to visit along with Loire ConneXion, on an outing organised by Summer Jauneaud, who is Loire Valley Concierge. Pauline Bernard the General Manager took us around and it was a very useful and interesting visit. 

Fleur de Loire, Blois, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The chef's Maserati in the courtyard. It is the only car allowed to park here. Guests cars are parked by the staff in a carpark hidden behind the eastern wing of the hotel.

It's a hotel for people who don't do the outdoors, although ironically it is perfectly placed for the Loire a Vélo cycle path. I've no doubt that the hotel does a great job of attending to their guests well being (Fr. bien etre), and this focus is just as is should be according to the latest industry trend reports. The main attractions are the Michelin starred restaurant and the Sisley spa [link]. There is a second restaurant too, with magnificent views over the Loire towards Blois, and a €75 a head gastronomic menu [link]. The decor is all soft purpley beigey blue greys that reference the river, with lots of black and white photos, mostly taken by Christophe Hay himself, and works of art by featured artists which change regularly [link]. The 112 staff wear turquoise uniforms and there are 44 rooms.

Sisley spa, Fleur de Loire, Blois, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The Sisley spa.

The building is U-shaped, with an open courtyard facing the Loire on its left (south) bank. It was built by Gaston d'Orléans, the troublesome brother of Louis XIII (the king in the Three Musketeers) and up until now has been a hospice of one sort or another (most latterly an aged care home).

Michelin starred kitchen, Fleur de Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The Kiosk a patisseries [link], with a lovely view of the Loire and Blois.

The project has cost 9 million euros.

Michelin starred kitchen, Fleur de Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Wagu style beef, produced near Angers, on display in the Amour Blanc restaurant.

Michelin starred kitchen, Fleur de Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A typical room (not a suite, which we didn't see), with a view over the Loire.

Michelin starred kitchen, Fleur de Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Red wines in the 'cellar', a controlled atmosphere storeroom in the Michelin starred restaurant.

Michelin starred kitchen, Fleur de Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The Michelin starred restaurant.

Michelin starred kitchen, Fleur de Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Table setting in the Michelin starred restaurant, on the 'Chef's Table'.

Michelin starred kitchen, Fleur de Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The view of the Michelin starred kitchen that diners get.

Michelin starred kitchen, Fleur de Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The Michelin starred kitchen.