En Balade: Au Tournedos


When we lived in Niger, we joined a riding club organized by expatriate French police and firemen.  This was a wild group of horse fanatics who just loved to take the horses “en balade” which began with  a 5-6 hour ride in the desert, continued with swimming the horses across the Niger river, home to the occasional hippo and crocodile, and ended with a pre-arranged,  al fresco lunch and lots of wine served by our domestics on the other side of the river.  Horse grooms swam and rode  the horses back to the stables, while we, wisely, drove home in cars.  En balade.


Yesterday, leaving at 8:30 a.m., we traveled for two hours to M. and Mme Parrets’ home town in Cote d’Or, Chatillon sur Seine to visit the family cemeteries, check on old friends and have lunch at Au Tournedos, the French equivalent of a truck stop.  There is an interesting museum in Chatillon that is worth a visit if you are in the area, housing the Treasures of Vix http://www.burgundytoday.com/historic-places/museums/musee-du-chatillonnais.htm.  We didn’t have time for a long visit but we’ll definitely go back.


As is L’Yonne where Sens is located, Cote d’Or is a department in the Burgundy region, famous for it’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes and also Dijon mustard.


M. Parret made a quick pit stop at one of his favorite vineyards for a few cases of Epineuil.  The chateau and it’s garden here is fabulous but as the family resides there, you could only peek through the locked gate, taking no pictures worth having.


On a side street in the center of Chatillon sur Seine, at 9 rue Courcelles Prevoires, there is the  traiteur shop La Gourmandise, specializing in seafood, and it’s attached restaurant, Au Tournedos.  You’ll know you’re in the right place if, at lunch time, you see a huge parking lot opposite filled with “long haul” trucks.


This is a worker’s restaurant and if you get there late and all the tables are full, snag a table by the bar and have a kir while you wait.


According to Etienne, M. Parret’s son, the kir cocktail was invented in Dijon by Felix Kir, a Catholic priest, resistance fighter and politician.  A renaissance man, quoi.  The original/normal cocktail consisted of Bourgogne Aligote white wine and creme de cassis.  Variations include kir royale(champagne), kir petillant(cremant) and kir cardinal(red wine).  The one we had at Au Tournedos (Aligote) was delicious; tasted like cherries.


Au Tournedos offers it’s guest a menu at 13 Euros that includes a generous salad and charcuterie buffet as entree, 7-8 choices for a main course, choice of side dish, cheese, dessert and coffee.  A pity I didn’t get a picture, but red, white and rose wine is serve yourself  “a-go-go” from a dispenser; kind of like a triple coffee urn.


If you like a deal, this is it and the food is beyond correct!


We decided on the fresh lotte (monkfish) and the caneton (pressed duck).   The sauces were mah-velous and the vegetables, fresh and seasonal.  Yes!

After lunch, we visited M. Parret’s family cemetery.  It’s interesting that his Mom, refusing to rest for eternity with his Dad, has her grave on the opposite side of the cemetery.  Maybe a smiley face is not appropriate 😀  But most interesting is that after I expressed an interest in seeing the inside of the 16th church in the cemetery,  M. Parret and Etienne both produced keys!  I loved that!


On the way back to Sens, we stopped in to visit Joel, a retired butcher, very interesting and long time friend of M. Parret.  He is renovating his mother’s old house that’s right next to a beautiful forest with deer and other attractive critters.  When it’s finished we’ll probably rent it for a relaxing week in the country.  Joel makes his own boudin noir and his house is right next door 🙂



About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
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15 Responses to En Balade: Au Tournedos

  1. Mad Dog says:

    France used to be full of wonderful truck stops like that – sadly they are somewhat in decline.
    I think you’ll want to try that boudin noir – I know I do 😉

  2. Jon says:

    Interesting post. And monkfish in the 13 euro lunch! Awesome

  3. That’s why I live in France.

  4. I love days like this. And isn’t it great that at a “truck stop” type restaurant you not only get incredible food, you can sip on a kir while you wait! As you say “mah-velous” 🙂 And I did have to smile about the mother’s grave on the other side of the cemetery…

  5. That sauce looks amazing.

  6. Fabulous.

  7. Bassa's Blog says:

    I really enjoy reading your excursion posts – and the photos are wonderful.

  8. No one does truck stops like the French. No one 🙂

    I think that is fabulous that M. Parret and Etienne have keys to the church. So what was inside?

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