Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vieux Vichy to the max and the Ambassadeurs

Saturday, samedi.

As I blog, Claire is in the background watching Grey's Anatomy. At this point, I have listened to about 10 episodes... big things are happening.

My pants are tight, but Claire insists that nothing has changed. She's so kind. After a healthy breakfast of Special K Dark Chocolate cereal, which included a metabolism boosting dose of green tea, we head for the track to go for a run. It was in the low 50's, I was wearing shorts, and it was raining, but Claire and I managed to run a mile... not really sure how many times Brandon went around.

At that point, my legs felt like frozen jello, so we headed back to eat some more vegetable soup, which would prove to be beneficial, as well as not, later in the day if you catch my drift.

Around 2pm, we all finally emerged from the apartment. Claire and I armed ourselves with lollipops, hers orange and mine apple, much to Brandon's chagrin, and Brandon armed himself with the gate beeper.

It was cold, comme toujours, mais, ca va. 

As it seems in most towns, there is an old part and a new part. Today we headed to a tea shop in the old part, Vieux Vichy. 

The tea place was great! The building was really old, but the menu was massive. Claire had mint tea, Brandon a espresso with vanilla bean mixed in, and I totally won with my order. I had Swiss hot chocolate with raspberry jam and honey, served with cubes of Gruyere cheese. Oh yeah! (She said while doing the walk like an Egyptian arm movements)

To eat, Claire and I each had a Financier which is like a dense pistachio cupcake, we shared a bread tartine covered with raisins and 75% cocoa chocolate, and Brandon hasd an almond tart thing that was crunchy on the outside and really soft on the inside. All were amazing, but the Financier won hands down. Enourme!

 My drink was called the FramboiSwisse. Nice play on words!

After, we walked around a bit, we saw a movie being filmed, more like we walked through a movie set so there are no pictures because men in Army suits and people holding screens, cameras, and bright lights were looking at us.

All over France, simultaneously, flowers have been planted. So pretty.

We planned on going to a fancy place for drinks after dinner, but weren't really dressed up so we went to Sephora to use their samples in hopes of improving our faces. Immediately, we were stalked by employees, but not before I used some of their perfume. Sephora is on every corner, literally, in France. At every Sephora for the last two weeks, I have been spraying myself with Narciso Rodriguez Black.

After getting chased out of Sephora, we went next door to Monoprix so Claire could cover up her eyebrow wounds as well as so we could buy food for lunch the next day. We decided on chili and rice, the rice a novelty on the mainland, not so much in Hawaii. We bought our stuff and headed outside.

At this point, we're starving, but it's only 6, way too early for dinner. So we decide to go bar hopping. We go into this rugby bar and ordered white wine, Brandon had a beer. Then! We see a man cutting saucisson! Ahhh! We need it! So we order the same round of drink of again and devour the saucisson in like two seconds. Thank god for apero!

Then, just as we are about to leave, this older man starts staring at me. He just keeps looking. I get freaked out, and of course my natural reaction in any situation is to laugh, and I try to tell Claire and Brandon what is happening. Then before we know it, he is talking to us. He is from London, he was married for 18 years until his wife "shagged" his best friend and took his 5 year old daughter away from him. He took a ferry to France and just started walking. Since then, he has worked on various farms until 12 years ago, he met a French lady who owned a shop in Vichy but lives in the country. So now he lives part time in Vichy and part time in the country. His daughter is about to go to Oxford, and he as only spoken to her one time since.

Before we knew it, his beer was on our table. We said we just about to head out for dinner. Our glasses were empty, thankfully. He asked where we were going... Brandon, quickly interpreted and asked for a suggestion....we would be going in the opposite direction.

He recommended a pub, we said thanks and headed out. He was nice enough, and the best part was that he killed enough time that we could finally eat!

We were going to eat at this place the night before, but we were too full from the crepe place, insert vegetable soup. But were we so excited to eat here tonight. We were starving after only eating cereal and vegetables for the last 24 hours.

This place is called, Le Four a Bois (wood oven).

It was really cool inside and crowded too. We were surprised. You share tables here, so we sat next to this one dude, who by the end of the meal, probably thought that we were nuts.

We ordered the Yeye and the Reine.

We were so hungry. We though it was going to take a while, but before we knew it, the pizza man was calling us! I don't think we realized how hungry we actually were. When we had ordered, we were like whoa, this is going to be way too much food. It looked huge when it came, but we immediately stopped talking, and didn't start again until both of the pizzas were finished. The whole event, from sitting, ordering, and eating, took about 20 minutes.

Claire and I then launched into a debate of Socialism vs Capitalism with Brandon playing devil's advocate. All of this, though heated, was done in ""Whisper English," the only way that you can talk in this country. I thought that we were being really quite, but Brandon said he could hear us from the bathroom and I can only imagine what the guy sitting next to use what thinking. But overall, it was very productive. We fed ourselves and came up with a world economic plan. If only we could get certain leaders to hear us out.

After, we continued our evening, by heading to one of the fanciest bars in Vichy. It's in the lobby of a hotel called Les Ambassadeurs. It an old building from the 30's and they have maintained everything so very retro and nostalgic. Love it.

You are supposed to be dressed nice to go here, but I was wearing a black hoodie (it's jcrew but you would never know) and Vans, Brandon, a brown hoodie (ralph lauren but again, you wouldn't know), boat shoes, and a backpack full of our groceries for chili the next day. Needless to say, we all walked in behind Claire, who always looks nice. But before we went in, we tried to primp as much as possible. For me, that meant zipping up my leather jacket and putting on chapstick, and Brandon, well, he had shaved the day before. Here's an update of his facial hair.

Ambassadeurs was fun. We shared a bottle of Claire's favorite wine, which around the end of the first glass, it became quickly evident that it should only be drank with food, and as our desserts of tiramisu ice cream and Cointreau flambeed mini crepes had been quickly devoured, we were having a hard time getting it down. After some pistachios all became well and we enjoyed it quite nicely.

Around 11 we headed back, exhausted. Some cool lighting on a street.

Another shot of the gare.

Goodnight Vichy!


  1. Great post. Loved the food photos, especially the pizza and your Swiss tea. Gee? I wonder why your pants are tight.


  2. Hey Brittany,

    Your mom told me about your blog. What a great idea to have such a detailed journal of your Europe adventure...I've only made it through 2 days. :o) Looks like you're having a lot of fun and some really yummy food. Can't wait to read more!

    Erin (and crew)