A Night on the Town in Civray
My American co-worker and I decided to see if there was really a nightlife in Civray.  First, we were surprised to see a little brocante shop (that she’s never seen open) was open on Friday evening, so we stopped in.  The proprietor was very nice and I plan to go back now that I will have a French home to decorate.

We then headed to the beer bar for a pre-dinner drink.  There were a few people in there, but when we returned after dinner, there were several groups both inside and out.  As the evening went on a number of people came and went, with many groups still lingering when we went home after 11:00 pm.  It seems that you can go out on a weekend night and have a decent chance of socializing, although it mostly appeared to be boys barely of drinking age (18) and both men and women around retirement age.  There seems to be a limited number of people in their 30’s and 40’s who were out, despite being able to bring children into the bar (at all hours, regardless of food service).

La Rochelle
The next day I was off to visit my first French friend, Rita, in La Rochelle.  We wandered around the area with shops, had lunch and chatted about what was going on in our lives.  We shared some comparisons of life in the US vs France and she told me funny stories about her classmates in her training program – she’s becoming a customs enforcement manager!  Part of this involves learning how to use a gun, which is a very odd thing for French people since they only own hunting rifles (if they hunt), but no other guns.  While I would have enjoyed working with her, one of the advantages to her leaving the company is that I’m not her boss, so we can be friends instead!

I had such a good time with Rita that I forgot to take any photos!  So, I will instead share a picture of my Sunday drive to one of my favorite restaurants, L’Argentor (yes, I stopped fully to take them).  The roads here are crazy narrow considering they’re for two-way traffic doing 90 km/hr; I have no idea what you do if you come across a giant tractor going the opposite direction!  As you can see, it would be a challenge to get around it!

Yes, this is a 90 km/hr road

L’Argentor is popular with both the English in the area and the French.  Due to this, it can be quite busy and you may have a bit of a wait; however, it’s well worth it!  The food here is exceptional every time (ok, my toast was a little burnt this time) and they cook many of the meats on the open fire.  When they are very busy though, expect to take your time – I arrived at 1 pm and wasn’t ready for my café until shortly before 2:30 pm.  This was not because I’m an American either, the French weren’t leaving any faster than I was!

A delicious salad, but I liked their old vegetarian version with a grain patty better
The burger appears small because it is – I ordered the “petite”

I really believe there is a reason that many cultures in the world drink a hot beverage after a meal (mint tea, green tea, coffee, etc) because one of my favorite habits in France is an espresso after a meal (decaf after dinner).  Food just seems to settle better with a nice hot drink after!