Tales from

the Loir

A Weekly Column

July 11, 2001 - The Accident

Aprille had an accident. She hit a car parked on the road in the village. I walked down the hill and left a note on the car with my telephone number. The eighty-year-old couple who own the car called the next morning and said to come down and talk about it. Monsieur and Madame Beaujouan own the house on the corner of the town square and sell bottles of propane gas to supplement their income. I had met them before when I bought gas and one another occasion when Monsieur Beaujouan invited us to have a drink in his cave under the chateau. He had introduced himself as Beaujouan Le Lapin. Lapin is the word for rabbit and this good-natured man was joking about the speed that he does not move at. But having one drink with a Frenchman is more like a handshake than a bonding event. You have to drink daily to truly bond. The point is that I don't know Monsieur and Madame Beaujouan very well so I bring all of my insurance and registration papers just in case I have to buy a new car.

I am greeted at the door by two smiling faces who invite me in and offer me a seat. Of course we start the meeting with a petit verre. It is eleven o'clock in the morning so we are close enough to the lunch hour to start with an aperitif. Otherwise it would have been a breakfast digestif. We spend about a half hour sipping Madame Beaujouan's feuille de pecher, which she is rightly proud of. Here is the formula for Madame's peach liqueur:

1 liter of eau-de-vie (made from the fruit on the trees in your garden).
4 liters of wine (rose is preferred).
Leaves from your peach tree.
Mix it all together in a ceramic container and allow it to rest for six weeks. Strain, bottle and serve cold.

Madam Beaujouan assures me that it is all natural and all of the products come from their large garden in the back of their house.
As we approach the lunch hour, we quickly get down to business and agree to meet again tomorrow to discuss the accident further.

The following morning I meet with Monsieur Beaujouan and we drive over to the garage of Jean-Marie Cabart who is also a resident of Lavardin and a relative of our new mayor. There is more damage than first appeared so Jean Marie calls my insurance agency and arranges a meeting so we can do the paperwork. Our friend Monique Petit-Brazier handles the paperwork at the agency of Gilles Proust where I have my insurance. Monique's brother is a winemaker in the village of Thoré la Rochette where she also lives. Monique tells me that it was her parents who invented the pousse d'épine aperitif that is similar to Madame Beaujouan's feuille de pecher.

After finishing the claim forms, we head back to the Beaujouan homestead where I am given a tour of the garden and an offer of a glass of wine from the Beaujouan cave under the chateau. I know that one cannot conclude a car accident claim without a drink even if it is ten o'clock in the morning. We head up National 10 which is the name that he calls the cement path running through the middle of his garden and arrive at his cave under the chateau. The cave is actually a part of the old underground system of tunnels that run miles under the chateau. On the way to the cave we meet Charles Brousset who is on his way to open the chateau boutique where you can always find a glass of wine if you get caught with a thirst between home and the next cave. Monsieur Beaujouan invites Charles to join us in the large well-stocked cave. There is a huge boulder in the ceiling just at the entrance of the cave that looks like it is ready to fall. Charles expresses his concern but Le Lapin just laughs and says that it has been there for a thousand years. Just in case, Charles and I stand back from the line of fire.

Monsieur Beaujouan asks if we want white or red?
Bordeaux, Burgundy or Chinon?
Old or new?
Charles answers "good"?

After two large glasses, Monsieur Beaujouan says that you can't put a cork back in a bottle of red. It will spoil. We agree and finish the bottle. Charles invites us over for another petit verre at the chateau boutique. After another glass of red, we head home for . What does one do at 10:30 in the morning after a couple bottles of wine? Wait for the next accident.

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 July 4, 2001 - Ange Pitou
June 27, 2001 - Feu de Saint Jean
June 20, 2001 - Geoffroy Martel
June 13, 2001 - Saint of the Day
June 6, 2001 - Escapade dans le Berry
May 30, 2001 - Learning French
May 23, 2001 - Pete and Manny
May 16, 2001 - Les Journees des Aubepines
May 8, 2001 - Armistice Day
May 2, 2001 - May Day
April 25, 2001 - Les Manouches
April 18, 2001 - Trôo
April 11, 2001 - Le P'tit Jules
April 4, 2001 - Men and Their Caves 
Archive of Weekly Columns Jan-Apr 2001
Archive of Weekly Columns from 2000


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