The Village Cafe
We spend a lot of time at our village cafe. It’s about a 4 minute walk from the house (8 if we have to stop while the girls run up and down the old stone steps a couple of times).
The cafe is a general store with some basics like laundry detergent. They serve coffee and have newspapers. They are a restaurant. And they’re the source of news, information, and advice. This morning we learned that sanglier hunting season has started (sanglier are the wild boar that Obelix always eats in the Asterix books) and we need to be careful when we drive since they run out on the road unexpectedly. The cafe guy had already hit four so far.
One of the things we LOVE about the cafe is they have a playground. JM and I can take our excellent coffee and sit at the last table and watch the girls play. A relaxing way to spend a morning.
We have had dinner at the village cafe once. It’s not completely convenient because they start food service at 7:30 and the kids’ bedtime is usually at 8, but there are three nights a week that aren’t school nights (no school on Wednesday) so there are times it can work, and the cafe is very good about serving us quickly.
The difference between the food in our village in France and the very small towns we’ve been to America is striking. In America we’d expect fries, hamburgers, chicken fingers, and pasta. Here we had foie gras, salad with “chevre chaud” (warm goat cheese), the most amazing rice I have had in my life, and perfectly seasoned grilled fish (served with the head on – your food does NOT look at you in rural Canada!).
I have left the most important aspect of the village cafe until last – the bread. Our cafe is not a bakery, but you can pre-order bread the day before. This is a very serious thing. When we first got here the “good” bakery was closed for a vacation, and they warned us repeatedly that the backup bread was not as good. The whole village was quite relieved when the “good” bakery opened up again.
They have a paper-based tracking system with the names of the regulars typed up with their usual order for each day of the week. If you are not on the list, you can place your order and they write it in by hand. You can change your order each day – more baguette or add a croissant or pain au chocolat. We will know we’ve been accepted in the village when we make the “permanent” bread list instead of being written in as a special case.