Saintes, Charente-Maritime, France September 2019
It started inauspiciously. After two fabulous days at the Puy du Fou theme park, I set my new GPS for the small town of Saintes. I had read about the super lunches at Au Coin des Saveurs restaurant while planning our trip to the Vendée region.
Somehow, though, I had also managed to enter a ‘waystation’ en route (no idea how) and we ended up halfway to Saintes, but well off-piste, in front of a small farmhouse and a puzzled farmer. We were now going to be pushing it to reach the restaurant before it closed for the afternoon. Then the rest of the journey took longer than advertised on the GPS.
On arrival, I parked as close as I could to the emptying restaurant, hurtled ahead of Cynthia and friends, John, and Gwenda and, puffing mightily, made a not-very-grand entrance. The Patron looked a little startled.
“Are we still in time for lunch?”
“Désolé, mais non”.
“Can you recommend anywhere else?”
He looked doubtful… said something I didn’t catch about it being Sunday, so… followed by a slow shrug (nobody does that better than the French).
At this point, the others arrived, and I turned to give the bad news. Le patron looked at the hungry visitors
“Vous êtes quatre?”
He disappeared for a few seconds, then came back with the chef, both nodding and smiling.
The truly great thing about this day was that the food was delicious, served by the patron at the accustomed leisurely pace, and very reasonably priced.
The scallop and parmesan salad entrée was already one large, delicious scallop down before I thought I should record this event.
Patron and Chef sat around at the entrance bar chatting while we sipped our post-lunch coffees… an invitation to take all the time we wished.
Merci mille fois. À plûs.