Waking The Bear…
I always know when Donna’s insomnia research sessions hit pay dirt. I’ll awaken to the sounds of pots and pans banging, doors shutting with extra gusto, and a lot of barefooted stomping. I am a sound sleeper and always have been. As a five year old I slept through a five alarm fire on our block. Imagine all that moved into your kitchen.
If Donna is crashing around at ungodly hours I have learned to make sure I am only cursing in my head. In travel planning mode it means she has come across something spectacular. A five star restaurant in Italy, or a Pousada in Portugal. I try to wake up as gracefully as possible.
We’ve stayed in royal hunting lodges, quaint beach front hotels, farm houses in wine country, and chic boutique apartments. She always seems to find the best restaurants and housing in town. When she finds them it doesn’t matter what time it is. Donna gets excited and can’t contain herself. Sometimes this calls for a more direct approach. Crashing around takes too long. So, she sits down on the bed next to me and fidgets.
“What time is it?”
“No, it isn’t!”
With one eye opened to a slit I roll up on one elbow.
“I found this famous restaurant a block from where we are staying in Paris!”
“Are we going there for breakfast?”
“Listen to the review.”
A quick look at the clock confirms it isn’t 6:30. It’s 4:45 AM!!!
“I’m putting a pillow over my head. Nice restaurant. Sounds good!”
“I couldn’t wait!!!”
“I know. I love you! I’m going back to sleep!!!”
“Pretty cool restaurant! Should I make reservations?”
Six months later I’ll have the best meal of my life. Does learning about it six months in advance at 4:45 AM enhance the experience? Well, it kind of does. If it’s worth waking up the bear, it’s going to be good!
CHATILLON-SUR-LOIRE TO DECIZE : DONNA’S 3 AM NOTES
Chatillon-sur-Loire to Briare…Boat check out, buy provisions, shakedown cruise to Briare, Saturday night dance, Sunday market
Restaurants in Chatillon
Terre de Loire, 10-14 Route de Beaulieu, Belleville-Sur-Loire
Le Relais Mantelot, 45360 Chatillon-Sur-Loire
Les Gourmandises (simple but good), 46 Grand Rue, Chatillon-Sur-Loire
Chatillon-sur-Loire to Beaulieu …First lock! Takes about two hours (5 km)
Beaulieu to Lere…2hrs 16 minutes (5.72 km), moor in Lere (water and electricity hook-ups)
Restaurants in Lere
Le Gaite Lereene (renowned for traditional French cuisine, highly recommended, closed on Mondays)
Lere to Menetreol…4 hrs and 38 minutes (11 km) From Menetreol it’s a brisk uphill walk to Sancerre, book wine tours of the regions best wine cellars, sweeping view of the Loire valley, supermarket in Saint-Satur is 20 mins. by bike.
Restaurants in Menetreol
Le Florine (the harbor master runs the front of the house and holds the keys to the water and electricity for the moorage spaces. This is where workmen and delivery truck drivers eat. The cold buffet is noted and the desserts are often house made.)
Other noted restaurants were no longer in business. There is a storefront bakery a few doors down from Le Florine.
Restaurants in Sancerre
Le Bouchon, 4 out of 5 stars, outdoor seating, decent well-priced French food, excellent cheese plate, opens at 1 PM for lunch
Les Augustines, 3 1/2 stars out of 5, $$$, French, European, great view
Auberge l’Ecurie, 4 out of 5 stars, Italian, French, European, pub food and local cuisine
Le Taverne du Connetable, 4 out of 5 stars, French, Pub, fast service, large portions
La Tour, 4 1/2 stars out of 5, $$$$, French, European, excellent degustation menu with lots of local wines, wide variety of cheeses
Menetreol to La Chapelle-Montilinard…5 hrs and 10 mins (12 km), moor next to the grain silo, water and electricity are available, walk 2.5 km to La Charite-sur-Loire where there is a Saturday Morning Market
Restaurants in La Charite-sur-Loire
Auberge de Seyr, 4 out of 5 stars, reserve well in advance, fine French food, moody service…but well worth it
La Pomme, 4 out of 5 stars, $$, French, simple food, diner-like ambience
La Bouchon de Loire, 4 1/2 stars out of 5, regional French
Chez Babette et Eve, 3 1/2 stars out of 5, French, farm to table, quirky ambience, No Longer Serving Dinner
Le Chapelle-Montilinard to Marseilles les Aubigny…3 hrs (3.35 km)
Marseilles les Aubigny to Cours-les-Barres…1 hr 20 minutes (3.35 km)
Restaurants in Cours-les-Barres
Auberge du Canal, 2 1/2 stars out of 5, not to be confused with Auberge du Pont-Canal!!!
La Bonne Franquette, 4 1/2 stars out of 5, rustic French food, nice terrace, reasonable
Auberge de l’Ecluse, 4 out of 5 stars, outdoor terrace, classic French, closer to Nevers
Cours-les-Barres to Le Guetin…3 hrs 20 mins (11.6 km), There is a double lock in Le Guetin that exits into an elevated canal. Apremont is a 6 km bike ride from Le Guetin. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns in France.
Restaurants in Le Guetin
Auberge du Pont Canal, 5 out of 5 stars, Michelin selection, simple standard fare, $$, traditional foods such as calf sweetbreads and frog legs, deck seating with a view of the canal
Pizzeria l’Insolite Enzo, 4 1/2 stars out of 5, ordinary but tasty food
Le Guetin to Plagny…3.13 hrs (8.3 km)
Plagny to Luthenay-Uxeloup…4 hrs. 49 minutes (11 km)
There is a seasonal makeshift restaurant next to the moorage. Outdoor seating under pop-up shelters
Louthenay-Uxeloup to Decize…4 hrs 35 mins (11 km)
Restaurants in Decize
Le Charolais, 3 out of 5 stars, young chef preparing traditional dishes with a twist. Reviews of other Decize restaurants frequently list Le Charolais as their first choice.
Le Raboliot, 4 1/2 stars out of 5, traditional French food, popular with canal cruisers
EcriVin, 4 out of 5 stars, more wine bar than restaurant
Hotel de L’agriculture, 3 1/2 stars out of 5, mixed reviews, slow service, limited hours, reasonable
Le Decetia Bar-Brasserie, 4 out of 5 stars, someone raved about sauteed turkey with mushroom sauce and cauliflower gratin???, English patrons?
Le Courlis, 3 1/2 stars out of 5, crepes, good value, good French cider selection, vegetarian options available, nice view of the Loire