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champniers bar

April 20, 2011

2.jpgOf all the bars in all the little villages in France, there is one in the Poitou-Charentes that will always have a special place in my heart.

The Bar Des Tilleuils in Champniers was the setting for many of the scenes (quiz nights and - ahem! - line dancing sessions) described in Toute Allure.

When the redoutable proprietor was forced to close up for personal reasons and return to the UK several years ago it left a little gap in many people's lives.

But last July the Bar Des Tilleuils - it means 'bar of the lime blossom trees' - reopened with new Anglo-French owners: Ian and his French wife Jeanne.

On Friday mornings the ballroom with its sprung wooden floor, once again reverberates to the sound of country music, 10-12 pm thanks to Deirdre the dance teacher extraordinaire. Meanwhile, Monday nights have become the highlight of the week, for expats and French locals alike. The reason? The mobile chippie that appears in front of the bar between 6.00pm-8pm.

'Nothing beats the glamour of a chip van pulling into a car park, eh?' said one London friend with a wry smile when I invited him along to fish and chip night.

But the fish, chips and mushy peas are as good as anything I've tasted in the UK, including Geales in Notting Hill and the Seashell in Lisson Grove.

Obviously, not many people come to to France planning to eat le plat traditionel d'Angleterre. But sitting in the sunshine under those wonderful lime blossom trees, in a quintessentially French setting, it is an unexpected treat.

This Monday, when my friend Delphine had something to celebrate, she asked if they had champagne. 'Bien sur' was the reply. They even had pink champagne. Impressed!

The new proprietors have grasped the no 1 rule of running a bar - make your customers feel welcome and greet them with a smile.

Just one note of caution: in blogger in the cafe, the new proprietor writes about the trials and tribulations of running a bar in rural France. So those who misbehave might find themselves the subject of a blog entry!

(Fish & chip night will be taking place as usual this bank holiday Monday, 6-8 pm.)

Bar des Tilleuils, Champniers, 86400; www.champniersbar.com; tel 05 49 87 08 99.

comments (3)

1. Posted by Eric on April 21, 2011 5:14 PM

I have actuallyj ust had mashed potatoes/chicken n mushroom pie/beans for my dinner half an hour ago but just reading about the mobile fish n chips van brought a yearning to sit under those trees and do just that.......munch away at some lovely fish n chips with vinegar and maybe a chilled lager to sip slowly

2. Posted by Kitty M on April 25, 2011 4:49 PM

oooh lol what a great idea - pls can you send them as far South as the Averyon? We are only three weeks in to our French adventure and I am already desperate for chips, beans, piccalilli, beef monster munch and the list goes on ... but i am 5 months preggars lol! www.chroniclesofdolliedaydream.blogspot.com

3. Posted by Nina on April 26, 2011 3:56 AM


Sounds so good.
As you are busy writing new book, you`ll need to have some treats, such as fish´n chips.

Waiting for your new book.
Any ideas when having it ready and in the market?

Have a good summer!
I`ll be in Antibes after six weeks, for a 14 days holiday. Looking so much for it!

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