Bill Winkler’s Favourite Places, Travel Reading
Dine with good friends at a Michelin 3 star restaurant…..anywhere!
- Maison Pic was established in 1889 by Eugene and Sophie Pic, earning 3 Michelin stars in 1939 under their son André Pic.
- Between 1946 and 1950 it dropped to a 1 star rating with André’s son Jacques Pic regaining the 3rd star in 1973 (known for his crayfish gratin)
- By 1987, after Jacques’ death, it again lost its third star. 10 years after, Jacques’ daughter, Anne-Sophie Pic had taken over the the 3rd star was back restaurant (2007, the year had lunch with Anne-Sophie). She is only the 4th female chef to win three Michelin stars, and was named the Best Female Chef by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2011.
To moderately control cost go for lunch look for a location in a smaller centre considered off the “non-French” tourist map. But be prepared for +200 euros per person for the prix fix menu, wine and a cheese course.
It is about one kilometre (0.6 miles) off the Normandy (some argue Brittany’s) coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches. Since the 8th century AD it has been the seat of its name sake monastery. The structure of the town exemplifies feudal society: on top, God, the abbey and monastery; below, the great halls; then stores and housing; and at the bottom, outside the walls, houses for fishermen and farmers.
Its unique position made it accessible at low tide but defensible as an incoming tide stranded, drove off, or drowned, would-be assailants. The tides can vary greatly, at roughly 14 metres (46 ft) between high and low water marks. Popularly nicknamed “St. Michael in peril of the sea” by medieval pilgrims making their way across the flats, the mount can still pose dangers for visitors who avoid the causeway and attempt the hazardous walk across the sands from the neighbouring coast.
The local salt marsh meadows are ideally suited to grazing sheep. The wellflavoured meat that results from the diet of the sheep in the pré salé (salt meadow) makes agneau de pré-salé (salt meadow lamb) a local specialty that may be found on the menus of local restaurants.
La Mère Poulard was opened in 1888 by Annette and Victor Poulard, just inside the main gate of Mont SaintMichel. You can still stay here, inside the walls, but it was and is the secret recipe for her omelette which made a name for La Mère Poulard around the world. To comfort her guests after a long, often difficult journey, Annette kept the fire in the large fireplace alight at all times and made her famous soufflée omelette over an open fire.
Travel Books that are not travel Books!
Peter Mayle; PROVENCE
Donna Leon and her hero Commisario Brunettie: VENICE
Martin Walker and his “hero’ is Bruno Courreges, Chief of Police in Saint-Denis: BORDEAUX AND PERIGORDE