Our Special Day

Wednesday 14th February 

Today we are heading to Cognac.   10-years ago Christine took me to a restaurant in Cognac that was so good, we keep talking about it and as today is our anniversary and we are around the area, why not.   The decision was made a few weeks ago but first we had to look back on “Oldies on Tour” to get the name and address; thats what “Oldies” is about, a memory jog!!!  So whilst sorting out our itinerary I had pre-booked a table, just as well as it is Valentine’s Day.

Leaving Orleans mid morning we head south, this time via the Peage as it saved an hours driving and arrived in Cognac about 4-hours later and booked into our hotel.  Again we had pre-booked this hotel as it was very close to the centre, had car parking facilities and more importantly, was dog friendly, they allowed dogs in the room.

Another great park for the dogs

Once settled and after some local research, discovered a large park near the centre of town behind the museum and tourist office, 8-minutes walk away so headed off.

The entrance to these gardens was through a grand arch, part of the aforementioned imposing building, originally a private mansion built by the Dupuy Family, local merchants in the 1838.   The gardens behind were also designed in the late 1800’s and the two were brought together circa 50-years ago.

Park for doggies
Entrants to the park

Walking through the arch, the first thing that comes into view is a very ornate duck pond full of all kinds of wild foul.   Our first question was obvious, “can we let the dogs off the lead here”?  We walked on past an open air theatre and following one of several paths came onto a very large grass area; perfect!!!   The dog “ball-thrower” went into overdrive; we were still waiting to know if we could take the dogs into the restaurant tonight, but either way they needed to crash out.   When we headed back to the hotel they were exhausted, good job done.

Heading back, we stopped for a drink in the centre, in the “Place Francois 1er”, it was very quiet, hardly anywhere open and what a contrast to last time, back then It was heaving, the centre of everything, very vibrant, oh well it is winter.

Drink in the square, had to be done!

Back in our room we prepared for our anniversary dinner, hoping we are not disappointed, after all a lot can change in 10-years, different owner, gone down market due to economic circumstances etc., so fingers crossed.   As agreed during an earlier ‘phone call, we rang back to see if we were allowed to take the dogs and to our delight the answer was yes, win win.

Our memory of this restaurant, “Bistro de Claude” was that it was situated in a narrow, high stone walled cobbled street in the old part of Cognac, on a hill heading down to the river Charente, and according to Google maps, was a 9-minute walk away.   Our booking was for 1930hrs so set off at the appropriate time.    This evening we got out of our holiday clothes and made “the effort” but poor Christine, deciding heels were appropriate hadn’t considered the cobbled streets.  Our 9-minute walk took a little longer as she navigated the uneven street surface, and it was all the way!!!

Special restaurant for our anniversary, where did those 19 years go!

Like our last visit we were the first to arrive, very eerie but no sooner had we sat down and settled the dogs under the table, people arrived.  Being Valentine’s night, it was a set, 5-course gourmet meal starting with a pink champagne.    As per our last visit the place was heaving with a good atmosphere, and though we were disappointed we couldn’t go off their “a La carte” menu, we enjoyed the food provided and naturally this was accompanied by a first class Burgundy.

Excellent food!

A couple of hours is so later we paid and sorted ourselves, interestingly none of the other diners had any idea we had two dogs under the table judging by their comments and finger pointing as we left.   A testimony to good discipline and wearing them out beforehand!!!    Outside the temperature had dropped and poor Christine had to walk back on those cobblestones with Tom-Tom and Rosie pulling after two hours plus of in-activity!!!

Rose made out of Apple, and the leaves were made of chocolate, delicious

Back at the hotel we went to the car park, a gated and safe area to give the dogs some more ball throwing just to ensure we had a peaceful night.

Our conclusions about the restaurant:-  Very pleased we went, we weren’t disappointed with the quality of the food just that being Valentine’s night it was a set menu at an grossly inflated price.   We will go again, but not on a recognised special day so we can choose what we eat.

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