After my run with my brother on Friday morning, we headed out for some lunch. My parents have had their house in France for about 13 years, so they really know the area. One little gem they discovered is Hotel de Gare.
Now, bear with me here. This place looks like an abandoned service/petrol station, but with a forecourt full of lorries and vans.
Well, here they serve a four course meal – starter, main, cheese and pudding – of course with as much red wine and coffee as you’d like, all for €11.
Can we eat here every day please?
The starters are from a buffet station, so you can just help yourself. In France, bread is as available as oxygen and the range of meats, pates and salads are delicious.
Our choices of main course were beef, roast ham, or skate. I went for the ham. It’s all hearty French fare, so leave any pretension at home (and don’t bother being vegetarian or having any dietary requirements).
Cheese comes next, and a large plate is just plonked down on your table for as long as you want it.
Then you pick your pudding from a tray with about six options. I had tarte au pommes and Matthew had the local speciality Far Breton.
Most people here are local office workers or lorry drivers. No one greets you, and you just wander through about four empty rooms to get to the dining room. I have no idea how my parents first found it, the locals still stare at us, but it is worth it.
We decided to walk off our lunch by visiting La Guimorais, which is a headland with a very accessible walking path. I wish I’d worn my Garmin, as there was a lot of up and down.
I tried to pretend I was standing on the very edge of the cliff, but James ruined that effect.
After that, we all deserved a drink. Apparently Breton cola is very popular here. “Mieux que les américains” our waitress told us. My brother seemed pleased enough. Needless to say, Matthew and I had beers.
That evening, my parents’ friends Dominique and Marcel came round for dinner. My mum met Dominique in the early ’70s when they were both teaching in a school in the UK. Dominique invited my mum back to her home town of St. Malo that summer, and they’ve been friends ever since. We spent almost every summer here when I was younger, staying in holiday accommodation belonging to Dominique’s parents, and it’s from here that my parents made the decision to buy their own place nearby. We always get by with a mix of English and French, and it was great to catch up with them.
After all that food and drink, I wanted to do a decent run on Saturday. I decided to brave the forest which is behind my parents house. This was new territory for me, and I got fairly lost a few times. The woodland is amazing though, with some very clear paths and lots of shade. Perfect for running. I wanted to do eight miles, and somehow managed to do exactly this, despite having totally lost my way, meaning I did a very different course to the one I planned. Bloody woods! (*shakes fist*).
Oh well; it worked out well.
I will definitely run here again next time. I really want to do more trail running, but it’s hard finding suitable places in London.
Anyway, this set me up for another day of French fun. More on that tomorrow…
Would you rather run somewhere boring you know, or somewhere exciting where you might get lost?