French hospitality in Châtillon-sur-Seine
On the way to Burgundy, my GPS guides me safely to Châtillon-sur-Seine. I find the Hotel de la Côte d’Or and this is s exactly the charming hotel that I have dreamt of. It is not too big, has cosy small rooms with spotlessly clean bathrooms and it is quiet with the view of this November garden.
I find a hearty welcome in the large reception hall. There is a fireplace and a solid wooden table with two benches that invite me to sit down and have a chat with the old farmer that watches the people coming and leaving. After seven in the evening, couples and groups enter the reception hall saying “we have reserved a table” and they disappear behind a “mysterious” door. I follow them to this homelike restaurant – the kind of restaurants I love in France.
A very friendly and agile young lady guides me to my table. Her mini jupe may be a little short for her, but she wears it with such a charm that she just looks great. She is alone to serve about ten tables, and not one guest feels neglected. They all enjoy one course after the next – and one glass of wine after the next. An ambiance of happiness and humor fills the room. Once the charming lady carries a bottle of wine and a bottle of Coke on her tray. I hear a voice say “why do you bring ME a Coke – ah, okay, it is not for me…” and he happily tastes his wine while the Coke is being delivered to another table in the corner. In the kitchen behind the clapping door there are three young cooks. I hear friendly voices accompanying their busy activity – and the guests are obviously all pleased with the results.
From the menu proposed I just take one course – a steak from Charolais cattle and a half bottle of Gevrey-Chambertin vieilles vignes 2011.
And for the dessert I have this cheese snack: Les Amis de Chambertin, Epoisses and some fresh white cheese. I have kept some wine to match the cheese.
I love the fork and knives of “old French style”.
It is the silverware that I know from my childhood. My Swiss grand-mother had ancestors from France.
In the morning I share my breakfast with an old lady and her tiny dog. The breakfast is typical French: A transparent coffee with some milk, a croissant, some pieces of white baguette, some butter and some jam. While the French celebrate their meals later in the day, their breakfast is very frugal – just to wake them up gently. Yes, I am in France! And I like to be here.