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Life in Rural France

Living the French Dream….The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious

Old timbered building in a quiet village in rural France

L’ Auberge Le Saint Jean à Nanteuil En Vallée | Restaurant Review

One of the things I love about living in Rural France is the amount of lovely little villages there are, each with their own story. Often their origins date back to the 11th or 12th century, sometimes earlier.

I love researching the history and finding out about the people, the lives they led, how buildings came to be, and what it must have been like to live there all those centuries ago.

If you love that sort of thing as much as I do then you’ll enjoy the article I wrote for the Good Life France highlighting five hidden gems in the Charente. Nanteuil was one of them and of course I uncovered a legend behind each village.

Sunday lunch in Nanteuil En Vallée

Nanteuil is only a 20 minute drive from where I live and yet, until a couple of weeks ago, I’d never been. I knew I had to rectify that because we’d heard about a restaurant there that was worth trying.

Part of the research I do when writing about these villages is to try to soak up as much local atmosphere as I can. Of course, that means taking advantage of the local cuisine on offer.

I didn’t need any more of an excuse than that to book in for Sunday lunch at L’ Auberge Le Saint Jean. So hubby and I dutifully headed off to Nanteuil.

Did L' Auberge Le Saint Jean live up to it's reputation?

Yes, it definitely was. From the moment we arrived in the village we were both taken with how pretty it was, and the front of the restaurant was no exception.

Now remember, we visited in February so the village was quiet. There was nobody about, and the outside terrace was empty. However, I could just imagine what it would be like in the height of the season packed with people enjoying the sunshine.

We were greeted warmly by Joel, one of the owners, and shown to our table. There was only one other couple in the restaurant so the service was quick and efficient. Our waitress was absolutely lovely and spoke a little bit of English.

Naturally, I spoke French and she answered me in English. It’s always the way and I no longer feel bad about it. I’ve accepted that the only way I’ll get better is to keep speaking French. Even if the person I’m speaking to insists on speaking back to me in English.

Collage of food and a ma eating an ice cream in a French restaurant in Nanteuil

The menu options at L' Auberge Le Saint Jean

We didn’t have an entree but instead went straight for main. It was a traditional French menu with enough choice without being completely overwhelming. Hubby went for the Beef Bourguignon (Bœuf Bourguignon) and I opted for the duck breast (Magret de canard).   

Oh my goodness they were both devine. Naturally, I had a taste of hubby’s and it just melted in my mouth. My duck was gorgeous and beautifully tender.

To wash it all down we enjoyed a lovely carafe of Bordeaux which worked perfectly with the beef and duck.

Now, it will probably come as no surprise to know that I’m a dessert girl. Whilst I love my cheese, and I really do love a good cheese board, I’d rather forgo a starter and go with a dessert instead. And hubby is the same as me.

As soon as I saw Tarte tatin avec boule de glace (apple tart with ice cream) on the menu I was sold. I had to order it with my main as it takes a while to prepare. Hubby on the other hand has always been a plain eater, blame it on his Leeds upbringing.

As soon as he saw L’iceberg le Saint Jean ( spéculos, fruits, boules de glace, chantilly  et sauce chocolat) there was no competition. Loosely translated this was an absolutely massive dessert of ice cream, fruit and cream. He was in seventh heaven although it did nearly beat him.

Not to mention the fact that the couple next to us ordered one to share. That should tell you how big this really was.

How did we rate L' Auberge Le Saint Jean?

There is nothing about that meal I didn’t enjoy. The service was great, the food was excellent and the ambience inside was lovely. The only thing that spoilt it a little for me was the chair I was sitting on. It was a little bit too low for the table so I felt awkward holding my knife and fork as it was a bit uncomfortable.

Other than that I can highly recommend L’ Auberge Le Saint Jean and will absolutely be visiting again to enjoy more of their wonderful French cuisine.

Check out our review card below and remember, if you have a gite or restaurant you’d like us to review drop us a line using the form on our Contact Page.

Restaurant Review Card for Life in Rural France L'Auberge Le Saint Jean

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