We spent our very leisurely last morning at the Amboise camping municipal, including a last wander across the bridge over La Loire to pick up a baguette and some paté for lunch. Some form of historical event was happening in the adjacent field but we didn’t distract ourselves with that.
We hit the road at about midday for an unhurried drive up to Falaise, stopping for our lunch en route, where there is a camper van friendly parking area beneath the walls of William the Conqueror’s castle. From Falaise it would be about 45 minutes to the ferry port at Ouistreham.
Arriving at Falaise we found that the parking area was quite busy and some barriers had been put in place to cordon a small area off. We did find a parking spot, though. The cordoned off area held a small assembly of old tractors.
The event that was going on was an autumn street fair. We’d been looking forward to a relaxing beer or two at a quiet little local bar in one square but the population of Falaise was milling about the squares and half the population of Falaise seemed to be in our quiet little bar. A band of jolly minstrels entertained them.
We wandered further and passed a couple of other bars – same story, no room at the inn. Curiously, with all this potential custom about, there were a number of would-be suitable establishments closed. Why miss out on this bonanza?
Back at the first square we found a street stall which had some trestle tables and beer. Excellent. We sat down to refresh. Francine had noticed something I’d missed, a sign offering “Andouillete et frites”. I’m a sucker for andouillete. Francine hates it. I resisted for a while but, as time marched on towards leaving for the ferry, I would be faced with a boring menu in the port or eating too late on the ferry. That did it, gimme some.
So, what is an andouillette? Well, in simple terms it’s a chitterling/chitlin sausage. What this means is that, in essence, you mince up some pig’s guts [small intestines] and stuff it into … some pigs guts [a.k.a. a sausage skin]. So, pigs guts in pigs guts, then? Yes, absolutely, and in my opinion it’s very tasty and something that you simply don’t get in the UK. At a restaurant near the Dordogne, many years ago, I ordered andouillette and the waitress really didn’t want to serve it to me – “ze English do not like andouillette”. “Pas de problem”, I assured her, “je connais l’andouillette”.
So, this was my last supper in France for 2023 before boarding our ferry home and very good it was too. I usually buy an andouillette and cook it myself but, because Francine doesn’t like it, it gets a bit difficult. This was probably the last of my French “must haves” for this year. I really need to make a list for next time and not leave it to the last minute. I have a new item to add to my list: crepinette, a kind of sausage meat wrapped in caul fat. The closest I could get in terms of translation was a faggot but how many Brits eat faggots these days? I did used to buy something in Spain called figatelle (sp?) which seemed faggot-like. “Pass me the snails, would you, please?”
Why are the British such wimps when it comes to food? I am constantly amazed at the stark change in availability of typical food stuffs that is occasioned by a national border. I half get it with a border like the English Channel but not the change over the Spanish-French border. Our typical shopping trolley in Spain contained very different items from that in France. Similarly, ‘t was different in Holland compared to France. Still, that’s the interest of travel, isn’t it?
So, that’s it for another year. Back on your heads.