You will always be sure of a warm welcome from Paul and Karen when you call into the Cafe Cour du Miracle in Vouvant; we are always happy to see you. You can come along for a friendly chat over a glass of beer, a pot of tea or maybe a glass of the local Vendeen wine - the choice is yours! Our menu changes to reflect the changing seasons and it includes quiches, omelettes, sandwiches and salads in the summer and to keep you warm and filled in the winter months, soups, cottage pie, chicken and mushroom pie and fish pie, chilli con carne and vegetarian chilli - something for everyone.
Vouvant has become a very busy and successful tourist attraction in the Vendee – the local tourist office and businesses have played a major part in publicising the village and the events that take place here each year. During the summer months the village is a hive of activity with historical events, markets and sales of plants and locally produced craft items. In the winter things tend to quieten down a little but we still have the Christmas market and local Christmas festivities to look forward to, as well as our Quiz Nights and special menu themed evenings. Keep a watch out on the Events and News pages for details of upcoming events both in the village and at the Cafe.
We are gradually filling the walls and shelves with work by local artists and craftspeople and are always pleased to hear about local musicians and artisans from all fields. We host a number of events on a regular basis including Jan’s sale of second hand English books on the first Wednesday of each month and we hold a selection of greetings cards and stationery for Mala (Phoenix Trader) which you can browse through and buy from her. Paul has become a mine of local information having collected telephone numbers and cards from all sorts of local restaurants, trades people (all registered with SIRET numbers!) and leaflets from local tourist attractions. Thankfully there is still room for my collection of glossy magazines which you can browse through while you enjoy your cup of English tea, hot chocolate or coffee and slice of cake!
We look forward to seeing you soon in the Café….
The Cafe Cour du Miracle
The cafe interior is bright and fresh. The walls are a perfect gallery for collections of photographs, lino prints, and hand made glass ornaments all made by local artists and available for purchase.
Food and Drink
Now we approach the cooler autumn and winter days it makes sense to have a warming, satisfying meal at lunchtime. Why not pop into the cafe and try something off our new Winter Menu?
We have three new pies, all home made with top quality ingredients; Beef cooked in a rich Guinness gravy, steak and kidney and Chicken, leek and ham pies all cooked in a light and crusty pie pastry. We also have a vegetarian option cooked in a traditional pastie case. Another warming option is Paul's Chicken Curry - any of you who have been to one of our curry nights knows that this is a wonderful tasty curry - based on a Balti recipe it comes served with rice and mango chutney - a sure winner on a cold winter afternoon.
We also have our firm favourites; Chicken and Mushroom Cobbler served with vegetables; Lasagne served with a side salad or fried potatoes (after many requests they are now firmly on the menu!); Chilli con carne and Vegetarian Chilli, both served with rice, taco chips and guacamole.
All our main meals are now served with real mashed potatoes (not from a packet..) or fired potatoes and vegetables, just let us know your choice when you order.
For those of you wishing for something lighter we also have Omelets with a side salad; Jacket Potatoes with a selection of toppings such as cheese and bacon, chilli or tuna, also served with a side salad and of course our full range of burgers (single, double, cheese or bacon and cheese), baguettes and sandwiches, including the BLT and Breakfast Banjo. There is sure to be something to wet your appetite!
Our cake range now includes Gingerbread Cake, English Cherry Cake and a fruit cake - add these to our range and we have quite a collection. We will be trying out new recipes from time to time too so keep an eye on the newsletter or pop in and see what is in the cake cabinet! How about blood red cupcakes for Halloween!
We still have our full list of hot, cold, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on offer and our range of artisan ice creams. Paul makes a splendid "Chocolat Gourmande" - hot chocolate with marshmallows and chantilly cream - just the thing after a walk round the ramparts or by the river on a cold afternoon. Keep an eye out too for specials too such as the mulled wine in the weeks coming up to Christmas.
And don't forget, if you would like us to cater for an event or would like us to hold an even in the cafe for you, just ask and we will do all we can to make your occasion special. ?
Events and News
8 April 2013
Hope you all had a good Easter wherever you spent it. The weather here has been sunny but not as warm as it could be - its that cold easterly wind that is blowing across Europe at the moment that is keeping the temperatures low. We have had loads of visitors to Vouvant so the cafe has been extra busy with lots of friends popping in to see us and many new visitors.
Since coming back from our holidays we have had a few changes in the cafe. Apart from the new roof and the walls which were completed whilst we were away, we have started to re-plant the boxes in the courtyard and have some new additional plants. We have also had to replace the glass washer in the cafe as it finally blew all the fuses for the final time! We now have a new coffee machine too - the old one was really old, the mechanic reckoned it was at least 20 years old so it really did not owe us anything at all. The new machine is superb and has its own inbuilt water filter so the coffee tastes even more delicious - the cafe creme is creamier and the espresso really hits the spot!
We have lots going on this month - April seems to be the start of the season as Easter has fallen so early this year.
Every Friday night we now offer a three (or four) course meal. The menu is at the foot of this email and if you are interested then we can send you a copy by email also for your perusal at leisure. We will change the main course of the menu on Friday April 19th: the choices will then be chicken in a red wine and ratatouille sauce or a white fish (cod or hake) in a parcel cooked with white wine, butter and parsley. The three course meal (starter, main and dessert) is 18 euros and the four course which includes a cheese course is 22 euros per person. We will post the menu on the website too. Why not come along one Friday and try us out - your table is yours for the evening so you can take your time and have a relaxing evening. We would ask that you pre-order your meal (by Thursday evening latest please) as everything is freshly cooked on Friday evening.
On Saturday 27th it will be Quiz Night again - if you would like to book a table for your team of four please let us know as soon as possible. All tickets will need to be purchased when you book your table so you will need to come into the cafe to make your reservation. The meal this time will be Coq au Vin with creamed potatoes with an ice cream dessert. And of course we will have our famous prizes including the wooden spoon for the very lucky team that comes last!
The film night in La Chataigneraie on Thursday 25th April is Les Miserables. The film starts at 8.00pm so get there early to get good seats!
Don't forget to get your tickets for the Reaction Theatre's production of Calendar Girls. The show is on at the Petit Theatre in Secondigny on the 25,26 and 27 April and at the Belle Epine in La Chataigneraie on the 3 and 4 May. Tickets available by email email@example.com or by phone on 05 49 77 23 54. Looking forward to it already!
The 1st May is a national holiday in France and here in Vouvant there will be the "walk of the Lily of the Valley" (it sounds so much better in French - Marche de Muguet) which starts at 8.00am for those of you with a fitness regime to stick to......
And finally, on the 2nd May we will have a new shop here in Vouvant. The Citadelle has been taken over by Fresco Interiors and will re-open on the 2nd. They will continue with the Citadelle's existing ranges of gift items and will also provide an interior decorating service, carpets and flooring, furniture, and Autentico paints. We wish them every success with this new venture and look forward to spending many an idle half hour browsing through the shop.
OK folks that's all for now. Hope to see you in the cafe soon,
Karen and Paul Braun
Previous updates can be found at our archives page.
The renown of the Lusignans was such that, two centuries later, it inspired Jean d'Arras. He took Eustache Chabot, the mother of Geoffrey the Big Tooth, as the oracle for his Melusine who, with three apronfuls of Stone and a draught of water covered Poitou with towers and stout walls.
One evening in the forest of Coulombiers, at the end of a long day's hunting, Aimeri, the Count of Poitiers and his nephew Raimondin set off in pursuit of a wild boar. They far out-distanced their attendants and arrived at the outskirts of the Forest de Cé, near Lusignan. There, during the excitement of the kill, Raimondin accidentally dealt his uncle a fatal blow.
Overcome by deep sorrow, aghast and contrite at this action the young man was on his way back to confess what he had done when, at a bend in the road he caught sight of three maidens dancing in a glade by the light of the moon. One of them smiled and spoke to him. Her name was Mélusine. She was a fairy, daughter of Elinas, King of Albania and the fairy Pressine.
A terrible curse lay on her. Pressine had punished her for her bad behaviour towards her father by condemning her to a sad immortality unless she married a loving knight who was not inquisitive and who agreed never to see her on Saturdays because on that day she had to bathe and watch her beautiful long legs turn into a horrid scaly tail, and if her husband saw her like this, she would never again take on human form.
Raimondin was attracted by the young girl's intelligence and beauty and asked her to marry him. He swore he would never try to see her on a Saturday. Mélusine was delighted to find a husband and accepted. She suggested that he should provide the lands and the castle. But Raimondin, who was not wealthy, wondered what lands and what castle?
Once back at court, Raimondin who was very happy, but very sad also, tried to solve his problem by blaming the boar for the death of the Count. Then, during the ceremony of homage to the new Count of Poitou, on Melisine's advice he asked for as much land as would fit into a deerskin. 'How stupid' said the assembled lords.
However, to everybody's consternation, the deerskin was cut into narrow strips and laid end to end and marked out an enormous area. 'Never mind' said the lords, 'he still hasn't got a castle'. Their complacency was short-lived for in one night, right in the middle of the territory with three apron-fuls of stones and a mouthful of water Mélusine build the splendid castle of Luisignan.
Moreover, so that her husband might be the most powerful lord in the region, she amused herself on certain nights by studding the surrounding hills with mighty fortresses. However, so much good fortune gave rise to unkind comments and covetousness. Where did Mélusine's fairly-like beauty come from? Why was it that each of the ten children of Raimondin and Mélusine, all boys had some strange physical characteristics?
One had only one eye and that was in the middle of his forehead. another had a lion's claw on his cheek; another one enormous ear; and yet another Geoffroy, Mélusine's favourite and it was said the most wicked had a huge tooth protruding from his mouth. And why did Mélusine shut herself away every Saturday?
Raimondin followed the advice of a jealous brother, to try to solve this secret of his wife's. He surprised Mélusine in her bath, combing her long fair hair and swishing her horrible fish tail. Hardly had he taken this fatal step than the fairy screamed and with a great noise like the flapping of wings she flew out of the window voicing a terrible curse on the castles she had built. 'I swear that Pouzauges, Tiffauges, Mervent, Chateaumur and Vouvant shall perish by losing one stone a year.'
But she came back to suckle her last child, and some say that on certain nights she still comes to haunt the ruins of her castles.