Thursday, February 23, 2012

Charente Monopoly - which are the dream home locations?

Regular readers will know that my youngest daughter is a keen Monopoly player.  A career following in her father's illustrious footsteps beckons perhaps!

Recently we borrowed the "Charente" version and it was fascinating to see which towns & villages were deemed as the Whitechapel & Old Kent Road clones and which were deemed to be Mayfair & Park Lane.  I have no idea who took the final decisions but I'm guessing that a few local mayors got involved in the politics.

I have no problem with the two prime areas - Cognac as the highest value (€400) and Angouleme second (€350).  I love Cognac - the town not the digestif - and think that it's the perfect size with a real "buzz" all year round.  It has beautiful & ancient pedestrian streets, a lovely stretch of river, world class restaurants and a championship golf course.

Jarnac is unlucky not to share the slot next to Cognac but does take the place of Bond Street so you don't want to land there if it has houses or a hotel on it. In real life Jarnac is probably my favourite town in Charente with a simply gorgeous park and pretty riverside walks.

Where I would take issue is the ranking given to the villages of St Simon & Bassac which are in the light blue section just before the dreaded jail cell.  In reality these two small jewels sit beside the prettiest stretch of the Charente.

They are both no more than hamlets yet St Simon boasts its own popular bar/restaurant and Bassac hosts two of the best restaurants around - the Auberge de Condé and L'Essille.  I have had plenty of splendid meals with clients & friends in both.

That's a great word and so I'm going to use it again as the river between Chateaneuf and Cognac is simply splendid too.

With this in mind, why no place at all for Chateauneuf sur Charente?

Of course it's all good fun and fairly subjective - and the truth is that I get slaughtered by Downie Junior whether we play the traditional version or any of the newer derivatives.

Perhaps I should consider offering her a salaried partner position when she turns 12 next year.....


The Celiac Husband said...

We agree with Jarnac being a great town in a great region.
Close enough to Cognac, yet small enough to actually get to know the locals. Even as an expat.

Anonymous said...

I would respectfully disagree with your comment regarding Cognac having "world class restaurants". We thought that the selection was extremely dull, unadventurous and over priced. Cafes yes, but restaurants no. Indeed it was one of the prime reasons we chose to not buy a house there.

graham downie said...

Hi anonymous - did you try the Bistro de Claude ( or Chateau de l'yeuse ( both of which I think are terrific in terms of cuisine & atmosphere?

For simple fare Le Duguesclin is great value and sitting outside at La Courtine watching the river traffic meander by is hard to beat.

Finally, for adventure, try the brilliantly named Le Grizzly - €11 set menu and you're never sure what's coming out next!

If you tried all of those and don't rate any of them then fair play, everyone is entitled to their opinion & I respect yours.

Thanks for posting....


Anonymous said...

Hi Graham... I thought that BdC was good actually but very over priced.
Didn't try the Chateau so fair enough as it's likely my loss :)
I agree about Duguesclin which offers decent pizzas and good service...but we were talking "world class restaurants". I liked the location of La Courtine a lot, but didn't take to their food (and tried it three times as I like the location so much).
We all have different and unique tastes which I suppose is a good thing. I simply thought that Cognac's restaurant scene was flat, unadventurous and rather expensive.
But I fully appreciate and respect that you think differently.