I’m back at Le Bateau Livre a hidden gem near Penestin: a bookshop that is also a restaurant. Pascal Mucet and Marie-Paule Gaudin came up with this brilliant combination in 2005. I was last here four years ago, on holiday with Chris in the Morgan. We discovered it by chance as we drove along the coast road and loved it so much that we came back a couple of days later for a second bite.
Much has changed since then but Pascal and Marie-Paule are just the same; their stock is still unusual and impossible to leave on the shelves; and L’Assiette Océane is still the best thing on a good menu. Being Sunday, free hors d’oeuvres and aperitifs and were on hand for browsers. There’s a lesson there for failing British independent bookshops, je pense.
It’s great to be back though I notice that my French deserted me entirely the moment I walked through the door so I guess something else was going on under the surface. I drove down from Quimper in the camper van with Ted in the passenger seat, closing his ears as I sang along to Everybody Needs Somebody (To Love) on the Atlantic Soul Greatest Hits CD.
I need you, you, you
Baby, I need you.
Here’s the holiday selfie Chris and I took, just down the road, in 2011 (though I can’t remember calling them selfies then). Inspired by the picture and our literary lunch at Le Bateau Livre, I wrote a wee poem to celebrate. I’ve always enjoyed the Gatsby – hats be rhyme, but I’m easily pleased by my own verse.
We went to France my girl and me,
She wore my flying hat.
I’ve yet to be convinced, said she
That I don’t look a prat.
But you my sweet are on the road,
To wear it is your fate,
Adornment that is à la mode
Perched gaily on your pate.
You resemble Mr Gatsby,
Henceforth ever let our hats be