Thursday 30 August 2012

Canal Du Centre

Wednesday 29th August
The Domaine de la Vallée has a wonderful setting on the outskirts of the small village of Baron. The owners are most welcoming hosts with an eclectic taste in objects and decoration. They reserved us a table at the local bar restaurant in Baron the previous evening. A half mile walk from the house. The bar can cater for 120 people and they could probably feed the entire village in one sitting if they chose to attend. The menu consisted of a choice of 4 set meals with no individual dishes available to order. We opted to eat inside and sat opposite a group of 5 adults. We selected the 25 euro menu as we both wanted the salad to start and wanted to avoid the menu with the frogs legs. A huge plate arrived complete with fried ham and fried egg. The main course which we had hoped was a stew as we had not selected the Charollais streak turned out to be a massive piece of meat with a cream and onion sauce. The portion size would have feed two but it was rather on the tough side and proved challenging eating. Not wanting to offend our hosts we worked our way though as much as we could. The party on the next table meant that sliding a large quantity into a money belt was not a real option but was considered. The Legume course never arrived. It may have been the pasta included with the main course! After the meat we just had to finish the cheese course and then a pancake with plum jam arrived. An experience. The owners were friendly but portion sizes strange and vegetables sadly lacking. The group on the opposite table selected the raw ham for his starter and it would have feed Lyn and I for a week.
Breakfast in the morning wastaken the terrace overlooking the fields and Charlais cows. We decided to do a ride on the Canal du Centre. Our host gave us an updated map showing an extended Velo vert network from our old (2006?) guide. The Vert Vert route ran in the direction of the Canal Du Centre but was not directly alongside it all the way . As it was only 5 miles from the B&B we set off by bike We had a long decent into Saint Aubinen Charlolas and then after a couple of short climbs we were on the route. We headed south stopping in Paray-Le-Monial for provisions and the onto Digoin and its wonderful Pont Canal. After the Pont we returned to Paray-Le-Monial a for a quick tour around the town. The second most visited pilgrim town in France second only to Lourdes. We then followed the canal rather than the Velo Vert route and then left the canal for the “climb” back to Baron. A short shower briefly delayed our progress. Just long enough to eat half an apple while sitting in a conveniently located bus shelter. For the amount it rained we could have continued cycling. A 41 mile round trip. We played it safe and eat in Chorolles a 6km drive away. Selected a basic meal at a local hotel. We could have eat in the Michelin stared restaurant for only 3 euros more than me paid the previous evening. It had just stared raining as we returned to the car and we were treated to a spectacular thunder storm on our way back to the B&B.

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