Inspired by the Fournier's novel and the Sideways movie me and my good ole flat mate Rob decided to explore some hidden regions of the mysterious France... to discover that the Village People of YMCA fame should have been stopped a long time ago.
In Tours everything was very familiar to me, having being here just two months ago for Chris and Muriel great countryside wedding.
We rented a car and I started to drive towards Tours, to find a place to drink our first bottle of wine and eat the great French food. Unfortunately I soon realized that my great plane of drinking as much good wine as possible was flawed: Rob couldn't drive (he never thought about getting a driving license) so I had to be careful with the glassed to avoid the three D's: Drink Drive and Die. But at the end I drank, I drove and I didn't die.
After a short stop in Tours I started to travel towards East, direction Nancay (one of places in the book) and I realized that my navigator found the sits of the Renault Clio incredibly comfortable, and while I was driving in the rain he took a long nap.
Once in Nancay, we soon realized how the countryside French love to just spend their time at home, hiding behind shutters and probably do whatever they do in their rooms. The small town was more like a ghost town. Few shops opened, but no cars and no people walking the nice area. We looked inside the local church and it was empty. It was really strange. For a moment, watching the rain above us, I thought that we ended in some little town straight from some horror movie.
But the Grand Meaulnes tracks took us there, and everything had some reference to the book.
After looking in the town, we stopped at one of the only two restaurants opened: "The Pub". Here we found an interesting English Gentleman who left England 40 years ago to never return. He lived in Paris for a while with his French wife and 15 years ago moved to Nancay, to open his own pub/restaurant, with one of the most interesting list of Whiskey I've ever seen.
Unfortunately we didn't have much time to talk with him because the sunset was already starting and we wanted to see the castle in Angillon. And so we said goodbye and we (I) drove to the new destination. This particular region of France is very famous for the castles (there are hundreds around!) and finding it wasn't too difficult, but bad luck stroked again: the castle and the museum were closed.
The night was already around us, so we decided to drive back to Nancay and have a nice dinner at the English/French restaurant. Best choice of our life. The food and the wine were excellent.
The company of the Michael Christie, the owner, all his stories about Fournier and the area made the evening incredible.
He gave us precious indication about the best places to go on Saturday and he even found us a place to stay, in the only hotel, maybe half a mile from the restaurant. We were treated like kings (well, at least by our standards!)
To end the night all I had to do was park the car inside the hotel after driving 500m. With my great parking skills, I had no problem at all.