Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Cheap, good value lunches

Hotel de la Gare, Montrichard – lunch there 'an institution'

A proper lunch remains an institution for the French, particularly in rural France. None of the grabbed sandwich on the run that is characteristic of London and, often, Paris – no proper sit down meal probably of four courses. I'm not talking here of the three-hour lunch in a Michelin starred restaurant. No, these are places that serve a four-course lunch (Monday-Friday) including wine and coffee for around 12€. The good ones are crowded out with French workers, who spend an hour – hour and a quarter over their meal.

Visiting with Henri this week we stopped at two of these places this week between visits to producers – La Gourmandine, 1 Route Amboise 37400 Lussault-sur-Loire (tel: and Hotel de la Gare, 20 Avenue de la Gare, 41400 Montrichard (tel:

The formula is often the same with a first course buffet – crudités, paté, rillettes etc. Then the main course – a choice of two or three plats du jours – cheese, dessert and coffee. In both places there were unlabeled bottles of red on the table. The buffet at the Gare had a remarkable choice including soused herrings, shrimps and prawns. The main course was slightly better at La Gourmandine while the service at the Hotel du Gare was the more friendly.

The hours are very precise: noon to 1.30 – perhaps 2pm but that's pushing it. All in all remarkable value, especially as sterling now looks a little less sickly against the euro.


Following a request some time ago, I'm now linking places with their location on Google maps – just click on the name.


Anonymous said...

We recently stayed at the lovely Chateau de Razay in nearby Cere La Ronde and so followed your recommendation for this lunch menu at the Hotel de la Gare in Montrichard. It was a great tip and the best deal in the area it seems for solid French country fare. Among the three main course choices was a nice roast beef with roasted potatoes that pleased even our finicky children. The cheese and dessert cart were copious and varied and combined with the large appetizer buffet, a truly amazing bargain at only 12 Euro! A bit more expensive (16 Euro) but of superb quality is the lunch menu at Val de Vienne in Sazilly between Chinon and L'Il Bouchard. Perhaps you know it already. Thanks again!

Jim's Loire said...

Della - many thanks. Glad you enjoyed the Hotel de la Gare in Montrichard. Yes I do know the Val de Vienne and agree it is very good. You'll find two mentions of this restaurant already on Jim's Loire.