Mornant – A find in the Rhône

This is the first in the Stop Over series.
As the name suggests it is where we break up long journeys and discuss what we find out about the places where we stay.
Town Square Mornant

Town Square Mornant

In this post we talk about discovering Mornant, a small town in the Rhone.

As a teacher in Switzerland my wife, Denise, has a public holiday on Ascension Day, a Thursday.  This fell on May 9th and as always the school takes the Friday off.  The French and their Swiss cousins call this extra day ‘le pont’ (the bridge).  So we decided we would drive the 544 km (shortest route according to our GPS) to our cottage in the Lot for the long weekend.

On the Wednesday, Denise taught in school until 5pm and arrived home by 5:40.  I had already packed the car and walked the dog so we were ready to get under way which we did just before 6pm.

The Route

The shortest route of 540km cuts about 120 km from the quickest route and only passes a short amount of time on tolled motorways.  I think we save something like €60 on tolls and whatever the lower petrol consumption will be on a return journey.  This particular route doesn’t take that much longer especially with having to stop at regular intervals to let the our Golden Retriever, Beau, get out, stretch his legs and read the local newspaper.

The route goes through Lyon, St Etienne, Le Puy en Velay, across the Massif Central, Aurillac, and Figeac before we arrive at our cottage.

Deciding to break the Journey

Getting from home and around Lyon always takes longer than we think it will but we achieved this by just after 8pm.  There was little traffic as Wednesday May 8th is also a public holiday in France to celebrate VE (Victory in Europe) Day.

However we decided it would be good to break the journey up and have a decent meal and bed for the night   Using our trusty Logis de France book we looked at some possibilities and plumped for the nearest a little way to the north of where we had pulled in.  We had certain reservations about staying here as we have never been enamoured with this part of the route.  But, we called and booked a room, dinner and yes it was ok to bring the dog.  20 minutes later we arrived in Mornant.

Mornant

Mornant, a town of a little over 5000 inhabitants is situated in the department of the Rhône about 25 km South-West of Lyon.  It is built on a plateau overlooking the Rhône valley and is at the eastern foothills of the Massif Central.


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A detailed description of the town can be found in French in Wikipedia.

L’Hotel de la Poste – Mornant

Hotel de la Poste Mornant

Hotel de la Poste Mornant

On arrival the owner was waiting at the front terrace of the hotel which is situated on the square in the centre of town.  He took us around to where we parked the car, gave us our key and left us to get settled.  I gave Beau his usual quick stroll around and we went to dinner.  It was obvious we were the only guests staying at the hotel but we were pleasantly surprised to find the restaurant almost full for a Wednesday evening.  That’s always a good sign when the locals frequent a restaurant especially mid-week.  It wasn’t a problem taking Beau into the restaurant even though he is a largish dog he quickly settles down.  I like the fact the French don’t seem to have a problem with dogs in bars or restaurants.  As long as they’re down and quiet, it’s when they are pampered and brought up to the table that I don’t like.

What are your thoughts on animals in restaurants?

We ordered a coupe de champagne from the young waitress which was then served by Monsieur le patron.  He poured out 2 glasses, looked at the bottle and said “There’s only a little left so please finish it”.  Actually there was a third of a bottle so of course we had to oblige our host!

There was a range of set menus with each one including a choice of starter and main course as well as à la carte.  We chose a half bottle each of red and white Bourgogne.  Denise had fish (a double layer of ‘saumon et églefin’ (salmon and haddock) and I had a tournedos both of which were good as was the whole meal.  There was an excellent range of cheeses and deserts were copious.

I must tell you about my starter.  It was a tart of riz-de-veau and foie gras.  Riz-de-Veau is calf’s testicles which I had never eaten before.  It looked like a burger with the meat sandwiched between 2 layers of pastry and was served with salad.

Towards the end of the meal when the other guests had left the owner took time out to sit with us and chat for a while.  It was soon apparent that here was a man who enjoys his chosen profession and is passionate about it.

The bedroom was a large family 2-roomed affair which was very comfortable.  It looked across the town square.  The next morning after walking Beau we had our continental breakfast of fresh bread and croissants brought in fresh from the baker’s on the opposite side of the square.

Full details of the hotel can be found on the Logis de France website.

Tour of the Old Town – Mornant

Back Streets Mornant

Back Streets Mornant

After breakfast we took the opportunity of looking around the original town centre with its old buildings and narrow streets.

Feel free to have a look at our other photos from Mornant?  You can find them on our Photo Galleries page.

 
Let us know about places your have discovered in France.  Ever thought of writing about your experiences?  Why not become a guest writer?  If you wish please contact us with your ideas.

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