They blossom on the waterside from June to September:
So what exactly is a 'guinguette'? It's France's traditional open-air ball, café, restaurant...
A tradition my grandparents regularly enjoyed over an outdoor waltz on the banks of the Loiret.
But tradition doesn't need to rime with old-fashioned, for Loiret's guinguettes have been revamped to please visitors of all ages!
Here are just two that I've already tested for you: 'La Sardine' in Orléans and 'La Corne des Pâtures' in Baule.
La Sardine à Orléans © A. Verger
La Sardine à Orléans © A. Verger
La Corne des Pâtures
Take it easy on the banks of the Loire in Loiret
'La Sardine', pontoon at the Châtelet dockside in Orléans.
'Bring on the month of June when the guinguette reopens!' That's precisely what we said to ourselves last September as the last festive evening at La Sardine came to a close.
'But where will we dance over the winter?'
Because, at the guinguette, you can talk, eat, drink and, of course dance from 8pm to midnight or on Sunday afternoons: rock, salsa, jazz, reggae, folk ball...You can try them all and still get to bed at a decent hour!
And for those who want to party all night long, several bars await you in Rue de Bourgogne, along with Orléans' selection of night clubs.
So what's so special about 'La Sardine'?
The infinite views over the Loire, its sand banks, terns and grey herons.
And its large tables with their, oh so French gingham tablecloths are an invitation to some delightfully convivial encounters!
'La Corne des Pâtures' in Baule.
The first time I went there, I got lost (they have since added a clear map to their website). In front of the church in Baule, head for Beaugency, then continue across the fields, following the panels and/or arrows and/or camels (take care on the bumpy road!): : you're heading in the right direction!
This country guinguette nestles on the banks of the Loire between Meung-sur-Loire and Beaugency, around 12 miles from Orléans. Some come here by bike (the Loire à Vélo cycle route runs nearby), others by canoe, boat, etc. One of my finest summer evenings was spent right here, under the trees and the lanterns; it was as if time had stood still. So far and yet so close to home!
This guinguette is a merry medley of eco-friendly-trendy-artistico-country atmosphere!
Catering is in the form of two bus-cum-bars – offering simple, local and tasty cuisine in the form of platters and a dish of the day. The furniture has been unearthed here and there, decorations are home-made, the toilets are dry and there's even a dance floor.
I spent a truly magical Saturday evening to the sound of gipsy jazz and I also discovered that, at 'La Corne des Pâtures', you can even come for breakfast, buy from the market on Monday, watch films on Tuesday, shows for kids on Wednesday, take part in debates on Friday and have fun with the whole family on Sunday afternoon!
Come and test for yourself!
When? how much and where? Where to stay
The Corne des Pâtures is open from 9th June to 9th September 2018.
La Sardine is open from 2nd June to 10th September 2018 – and from 20th to 24th September for
the Loire Festival.
INFORMATION AND ACCOMMODATION BOOKING:
02 38 78 04 04
La Corne des Pâtures - Baule
06 99 99 09 70
36 Quai du Châtelet - Orléans