We stopped in Chateauroux on the way south a few weeks ago and enjoyed our stay so much that we decided to return for a couple of days. This would give us the chance to get the dogs seen by a local vet (for tape worm medication as required by the UK authorities) but, perhaps more important, it would enable us to stock up on some of the white Reuilly wine that we so enjoyed during our last stay.
Unfortunuately the return trip didn’t go quite as smoothly as we hoped. Yes we arrived safely at Camping La Belle Isle in the centre of Chateauroux (and we quickly found the Vet’s surgery just around the corner from where we parked the Van) and, yes, we quickly found the bar at which we discovered the Reuilly but, the bar was closed both on the Sunday that we arrived and on the following day. Indeed most of the town was closed for the Sunday and Monday (and this included the Sports Bar I had used previously).
This misfortune resulted in me having to walk many miles to obtain the Reuilly. I ended up walking a wine triangle (a) 3 kms from our campsite on La Belle Isle to the E Leclerc Hypermarket followed by (b) a second 3km leg to the Carrefour Supermarket and then (c) a third 3km walk back to the Van. The good news was that the Reuilly selection at Leclerc was sufficient to justify driving the Van there and stocking up as we left Chateauroux.
I really didn’t mind the walk around Chateauroux. It allowed me to see more of the place. Amongst other things I took time to look inside both the Eglise Notre Dame de Chateauroux and the Eglise St Christophe on Rue des Fontaines…
…and justified my stopping at La Ginguiette (bar) on La Belle Isle to enjoy a couple of glasses of Reuilly while the sun went down.
The view outside La Ginguiette as I waited for the sun to go down
The next day, Saturday, saw us leave Bouafles very early (by our standards) and head due south towards Chateauroux. It was bitterly cold outside the Van and any lingering doubts about staying on in Bouafles were soon dispelled.
Two hundred miles (and some three supermarkets) later we checked into Camping La Rochat which sits by the Belle Isle Lake at the edge of Chateauroux. The 8 acre lake is wrapped in 12 acres of parkland and the dogs loved it, running around madly in the long frost covered white grass. Yes, Chateauroux was as cold as Bouafles.
Leaving Vanya to warm up and rest in the Van I set off to check out the town and find a decent restaurant for the evening. I failed miserably on both counts. The L’Ecrin des Saveurs had been identified to us as the best restaurant in town and it both looked the part and had a very appealing menu but was fully booked. I carried on down the Avenue Marcel Lemoine towards the town centre checking out other restaurants on the way and disaster struck. Le Queen’s Berry was open!!
Le Queen’s Berry proved to be a very fine and very welcoming sports bar and brasserie serving excellent (room temperature) draft Guiness and, if that wasn’t enough, the 6 Nations rugby union match between France and Ireland was about to begin. The locals prevailed upon me to stay and watch the match, finding me an excellent spot at the bar next to the Guiness tap. I subsequently failed in my duty to find a restaurant.
Later that evening Vanya and I set off with the dogs to find a decent restaurant. She wasn’t overly impressed with my fall back position which was a Vietnamese Restaurant I passed on my way back from the match but, joy of joys, we found a perfect little bar in some back street near the town centre which served a fine charcuterie board and some excellent wines.
Our favourite cheese of the night was the Etorki, a ewe’s milk cheese made in the French Basque Country at Mauleon, which is a semi-hard cheese with a nutty and burnt caramel flavour – very, very nice. The best wine we tried was without a doubt the local sauvignon blanc, Reuilly. Very smooth.
We didn’t get to see much of Chateauroux but we had a fine evening and there’s always another time.
Time to get back to the Van.
Oh! I forgot to mention that Chateauroux is the birthplace of both Napoleon’s aide-de-campe and friend General Henri Bertrand and, wholly unrelated, the actor Gerard Depardieu. There you go.