A rarity happened round these parts last week. We had our first esteemed visitor since we took up permanent residency. This gave the perfect opportunity to go and play out.
Usually, when the hubs is away, I can go for weeks without seeing anyone, a cheery beep and a wave from the postman, or a visit from the lovely Outlaws is a welcome distraction, but I can go for weeks at a time without leaving the house or garden. So two whole days out exploring was a very lovely thing.
As the lovely hubs was home but working, he ran us into Bourganeuf to catch the route number 9 bus into Limoges. The buses here are fab, super clean and modern, more akin to coaches really. Booking tickets is really easy too using the ouiSNCF app. E ticket is then on your phone to show to the driver.
Limoges bus station is right next to the train station so super easy to navigate.
We found a charming little tea room called Money Penny for a little breakfast to send us on our way. Lovely decor, fab china and a cinnamon hot chocolate was the order of the day. We ordered the scones, and rather than scones of an English variety, they were miniature and really light, like an English scone and a French madeleine had had an affair. Served with a chunky, tart marmalade they were delish.
We wandered and shopped for the rest of the morning, so many little artisan shops in Limoges, quirky home wares, jewellery and of course the stunning porcelain that Limoges is famous for.
We had a wander round the temporary tented Les Halles, (the gorgeous permanent market building is undergoing restoration) with its fish and giant Bao buns and various assorted whole jellied tongues. Mmmm.
I made friends with the most adorable French Bulldog called Charlie in a lighting shop, I could have taken him home. Just one of the times that day I showed a shopkeeper pictures of my dogs on my phone….. I have issues…. Charlie responded in the same way as my Frenchie Sheldon does to a good scratch, his little leg was going like Thumper. He followed me round the whole shop, and I will go there again just to visit his little smooshy face.
We visited L’Epicerie Des Halles, favourite grocer and anniversary lunch venue if you recall from my previous blogs. I blame them fully for my newly acquired truffle addiction. I purchased truffle oil, the merest glance of it atop a slice of Brie is just rapture, and some truffle preserved garlic cloves, which are soft and sweet and improve everything I’ve put them in so far. I used the oil from the jar to drizzle on aubergine and courgette parmigiana and it was off the chart. When you’re predominantly veggie, you take your food kicks where you can. The thing with truffle is definitely less is more though, too much is just bleugh. The smallest amount of the oil you can manage to get out of the bottle is always the way to go. Which is great because this bottle should (and needs to) last a very very long time.
We tried to get into a restaurant at the bottom of the Butchery quarter, (no reservation) but given it was one of the highest rated on trip advisor, no room at the inn. So we headed up the beautiful timber framed house clad street, and ate at Petits Ventres, overlooking the tiny chapel of St Aurelien, a must see if you’re visiting Limoges.
The restaurant was characterful and quirky, with great service and decor. We were given a complimentary house cocktail apero, which was a mixture of cider and chestnut syrup. As a cider-hater I was surprised how delicious this was. (Note to self, pretend to have invented this…..).
We both chose Onion soup to start (yes I know it will have some beef stock in it, but refreshingly the waiter also pointed it out, having asked what veggie options were available earlier), and it was massive and delicious. Obligatory crouton smothered with melted Gruyere on the top, yes please!
I was less enamoured with the main course sadly, skewers of white fish, accompanied by an endive tarte tatin and a shellfish sauce. Fish is something I choose often now, but I’m not the hugest fan of, but there is a need for lean protein in my diet other than very occasional chicken. This was a bit of a fishy nightmare for me. It’s was very fishy fish, and some chunks seemed to be decidedly under and on the bounce-able side. But I ate some, and the bitterness of the endive did help offset the fishiness somewhat. I looked on at Jen’s maple syrup duck breast and Parmesan risotto with great envy. 18 months ago I would have been face down in that.
But hey, picking at the main course meant room for pudding, and a spectacularly excellent retro classic of BFG (Black Forest Gateaux) was all of the noms. You wouldn’t have been able to drive after 2 of the booze laden cherries (never mind the bottle of Sancerre we had with lunch).
Feeling full and slightly squiffy (watch out for the top step being twice the height of the rest of them btw, nearly ended up face first behind the downstairs bar), we paid the bill and headed out in to the sunshine and onto the cobbles.
We were still in the 12 till 2 no-man’s land where everything is shut, so wandered back for a mooch around Monoprix which I knew would be open. How I love a Monoprix. It’s part department store, part supermarket, and it sells my favourite hair oil 🙌🙌.
We bought fabulous chocolate, I bought a vintage style poster of cheeses for either the kitchen or pantry, not sure yet, 2 (still regretting not buying 4) Limoges Porcelain espresso cups that are black on the inside, and have like a lunar surface outside. They are a little large, so it’s possible we’re drinking out of tea-light holders, but we are where we are….
We had walked 7 miles according to Jen’s Fitbit, so beer o clock it was, a big old cold blonde beer outside, even though in the shade it was about 12 degrees, but in the sun, it was deffo warm enough for outside beer.
We started to head back towards the station for our return bus, via another bar for another beer. Where I waited for a vacant toilet for 10 minutes (stuck door) and Jen was subjected to a pec-off by two gym bunnies while I was gone. I miss everything…..
A slightly sleepy bus journey back to Bourganeuf and our little day out was done.
Second instalment of our day out in Aubusson to follow. (I know, I had two full days out in a week – over-stimulated!!!!!)