Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Party Time!

Back in mid May when we were on our way to Roanne we met Michelle and Philippe Tardivet. Michelle was born and raised in northern California. Philippe was born in the French Alps but has lived in the US for the last 35 years. They had moved back to France for a couple of years so Philippe could take care of some family obligations. Philippe is a sailor (of the wind variety) but Michelle gets seasick. They decided to give canal barging a try and had rented one of the cheap ones for a long weekend. When they passed by and saw our California flag, they made a u turn, tied up behind us and drinks and stories were shared. A couple of raucous dinners, one in Santenay and one in St. Jean de Losne (which also involved looking at barges for sale. They’re hooked!) ensued and we received an invitation for Michelle’s 50th birthday party, to be held at a vineyard in Meursault, Burgundy, where they now live. Since it’s a 5 hour drive from Charleville to Meursault, Michelle helpfully booked us a room in the center of the village, at the Hotel des Arts, for Friday and Saturday night.
We arrived early Friday afternoon and had a chance to walk around the Burgundian countryside, admiring the vines that have leafed out quite a bit since we were here in mid June.

And this being a wine producing region, thing are pretty prosperous. They have a beautiful city hall.

Saturday afternoon it was just a 5 minute walk from our hotel to the Domain Boyer Martenot where the party would be held. 

We got there in time to witness the preparation of the featured menu item, a spit roasted pig.

Yves, the head winemaker and, in this case, executive chef, admires the pig on the spit of his home-built barbecue. It’s fired with prunings from the vines of the domaine.

4 hours later, things are getting close.

Philippe concentrates on the basting.

Sometime after 8 pm thing got rolling with wine (of course, from this winery) and giant plates of food in true Burgundian style. About 30 people were gathered under the tent for the evening festivities.

That’s fellow American bargees Jim and Mary Neil from Festina Tarde next to Cathy Jo. We met them in Roanne.

Philippe was keeping everyone entertained and helping to consume the beverage of choice.

And then there was the person responsible for all this merriment. 

Michelle with Eric, Philippe’s good friend and assistant chef, and the remains of the main course.

Luckily it wasn’t too far to stagger back to our hotel because we didn’t make it there until early Sunday morning. And we are going to have to have a word with the city fathers of Meursault. Those church bells that start ringing at 7 o’clock in the morning are much too loud!
Back to the boat by Sunday afternoon, we had Monday to finish up some chores and then it was off down the Meuse River through northern France and Belgium, bound for Maasbracht in the Netherlands. With a month to make the trip we were going to be able to take our time, at last.

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