Sunday, November 27, 2005

Gien -- The Factory Store

Thanksgiving Day was Clay's 18th birthday. I decided to treat him to a spectacular lunch at l'Astrance. 'Chef' knew that it was a special day and in the middle of the Egg Nog, served in the trademark eggshell, was a little Birthday Candle. It really was a special lunch! The chef had many surprises, some new dishes.
This was the start of our 4-day weekend. Followed by Clay hosting a 'dinner party' for the guys!

As you must know by now, that when it snows in Paris, it is a big deal! I always think it is because the local drivers = The French= ignore the icy road and drive like it is Le Mans race day. But, early Saturday, with the threat of 1 inch of snow in the forecast I felt like a drive to the town of Gien for some more dishes, would be safe, only 1 inch, right! Especially with a sunrise like we found yesterday! I didn't see any snow clouds! (It did snow like crazy on the drive back to Paris, but it was beautiful, and the other drivers on the road did behave, after all!

In a cooking class last week, a gal mentioned that she had just made the journey down to Gien and she found the shelves fully stocked. I thought I better head down myself, I needed to complete my Christmas set (Le Houx). It used to be a 3 hour drive but with the A77 being finished a few years ago this is a 2 hour trip! No sweat! Home before lunch!

I've been traveling down to Gien since before Clay was born. I fell in love with the different patterns and wanted to add the Oiseaux de Paradis for my daily use back then. Little did I know that I would be a collector of many plates!
The town of Gien isn't really much. It is in the Loire Valley so a tourist could pack in some site-seeing and shopping at the same time.
Saturday seems to be a big tourist day in the factory/musee. They had ladies painting the Faience, I'm sure they are thinking if you see the work that is involved you are inclined to spend more money! Don't you love the fact that you load your plates into a mini grocery cart, and you even have to pack and wrap when you leave.
I found some (more) plates on sale that Gien had made for Pierre Frey! Perfect for Autumn and Winter!

If you happen to find yourself in town during the lunch hour, I suggest Le Poularde. Lovely place on the Loire River, and each course is served on a different Gien plate!

Le Poulard
13, quai de Nice
54400 Gien
02 38 67 36 05

Such a beautiful table, and we didn't have time for lunch, just wanted to snap a photo in case you are there during you next Paris trip!


Barbara said...

Ooh I'm so jealous. I drink from my one and only Gien cup everyday. The most expensive teacup in the world I think! So expensive I could only afford one - so Bryan gets an ordinary old mug.

Michèle said...

Oh I must get myself to Gien! sounds like fun!

Melissa said...

Hi Barbara......I thought of you as I was filling my grocery cart!

Michele.....It is a fun trip, esp if you like that style of plate!

Mona said...

Wow, it's a walk down memory lane for me today and this post. My mom was an animal for Gien when we lived overseas. And back at that age there was nothing I hated more than shopping for dishes!! But now, I look in our armoires and hutches and find my mom's Gien collection and think good thing we got them while we were there. They've been used so much and served us up some memorable and fun family meals.

Barbara said...

Mona - how lucky you are to have a Mum with such good taste!

Melissa said...

Mona.....It is a real shame I didn't cross paths with your mom. I wonder, did she ever go to any cooking classes out this way?? I know I would have liked your family!