We were a bit late getting going. D and I headed downstairs for breakfast and were greeted by a host of French folk, who had apparently heard we were Canadian and preceded to chat with us about their own adventures in Canada. D had a work-out for his French, and I smiled and nodded politely; I understood some, but they were speaking rather quickly and over top of each other that it made it more challenging to follow. After breakfast, we hurriedly finished packing up our bags, settled our bill and said our goodbyes to our genial hosts, and loaded up the car. It wasn’t long before we were cruising northward, away from Sarlat. However, we had a few errands to run around Perigueux. We made a quick stop near Lisle at the foie gras farm to pick up a couple more cans as promised. They invited us in for coffee, so we chatted for awhile about our plans. From there, we made a brief stop back at the house we had rented near La Tour Blanche, as we had forgotten to give back one of the sets of keys. Affairs in order, we headed in the direction of Angloueme, passing through the beautiful town of St-Astier.
D had wisely invested in a little cable that allowed us to hook up our iPod to the car, so we were able to have some music for the lengthy drive. We opted to take the main expressways in order to get up to Tours in a reasonable time. Car behaviour was interesting, particularly on these slightly larger, four-lane highways. I know standard practice is to keep right unless to pass, but the French (and perhaps Europeans in general) adhere to this rather strongly. This means you essentially leap-frog your way through traffic, passing each car/truck one at a time. D noted that driving in France was definitely more intense than in North America. There was no sitting back idly and hitting cruise control. However, we steadily chewed up the miles, hitting the larger cities of Angloueme and Poitiers, before cruising north towards Tours. Trooper that he is, D drove us over 400 kilometres without much of a break. We did ultimately have a pit stop at a McDonald’s just outside Tours, as we were both famished.
On the map, Tours seemed like a big mess of intersecting roadways that would be challenging to sort out. Plus, our B&B was not actually in Tours itself, but in a town across the river called Rochecorbon. I had Google-mapped directions from each of our hotels before I left Canada, so we opted to follow those more detailed directions. We only got slightly off track with those directions, but we were able to find Le Petit Nice eventually. Our hosts greeted us along with their sweet dog Sam, who looked to be a Spaniel of sorts. We were the only ones for right now, so we had our pick of rooms. D was eager to grab the room that had a little kitchenette, if only to gain access to a fridge for his beer. The rooms were simple and pleasant, opening onto a little garden and terrace. For once, we were actually on the ground floor, which made unloading our luggage a less-than-arduous affair. After reading through some of the pamphlets on the surrounding area, we headed off on foot into “downtown” Rochecorbon in search of a restaurant. It was a somewhat lengthier walk than D had initially estimated, and we weren’t positively certain we were going in the right direction. We did eventually reach the river and decided on a restaurant (mind you, there weren’t a heck of a lot of choices). We sat out in a courtyard behind the main restaurant. I found I was actually a little bit chilly, at long last, as the air up in the north seemed much cooler and crisper than the southwest. D was adventurous and tried pig’s foot (which was surprisingly tasty), while I opted for a filet of fish. After a little cheese plate, we made our way back home for the evening.