Malcolm Green Blog

Day 16: La Vache au Plafond

Day 15, Friday 22 September

La Souterraine to Limoges


Feeling: much better, and mightily encouraged by so many terrific comments. Keep them coming. Had a good day today.

So, I have quite a lot to catch up on. A quick word first about the table d’hote supper in Argenton on Day 13 (day before yesterday) . Charming B&B up on the hill outside the town, where we were served: Moules marinieres  –  Paté (de la maison) and crudités  –  Fillets of Ling  – Fromage  –  dessert.

Has anyone ever eaten ling? I never have. A white fish, caught off the English coast but landed in France. It had been marinaded in a ginger sauce and then gently fried in the pan, so there was a slightly crisp, zingy crust, with succulent white fish inside. Just delicious. Can we get ling in Waitrose?

This was all accompanied by a very acceptable Muscadet.

As James pointed out, this was quite a cheap meal, in terms of the ingredients, but taken to a different level by the cooking and the presentation. To me, this is what French cooking is all about. This B&B appears to be struggling, with a wonderful old house in need of updating, including better insulation and heating. But, utterly charming people, and outstanding cooking. I would go back for the cooking alone – but maybe not in winter.

And then to finish off Day 14 (yesterday). It was a tough day in many ways, but had many good points as well. I was just too tired to write about them. We cycled up the east bank of the Creuse, passing through Gargilesse and Cuzion. Gargilesse is a ‘plus beaux’ village:


What I didn’t know was that George Sand lived there, having persuaded one of her lovers to buy a house for her in the village. As one does. Her name is everywhere:

Street name


And finally, today, Day 15. A good day rolling through the Limousin,  baguette on the bike, ready for our pique-nique. I passed the 800k (500 miles) mark and feel good about the rest of the trip. James hands over to Tomas tomorrow so we went out to dinner here in Limoges to celebrate James’ last day on tour. Where to go? Our hotel suggested La vache au plafond. The cow on the ceiling? Why is it called that? Ask a silly question….

Do not adjust your set


6 thoughts on “Day 16: La Vache au Plafond

  1. Liz

    Brilliant post! Was it La vache qui rit?

    On the trail for Ling

    Missing all this. Did a loop of Richmond Park a velo to keep my posterior in training. Bravo to James. Go Tomas and Malcolm..

  2. Janet

    We are following your blog with great interest and admiration. Will you make a film of it when you come back home? Love and Bon voyage j andj

  3. Aline Rideau

    Sounds like you are seeing some beautiful parts of France and meeting some interesting people. I’m not surprised you are also loving the bicycLING …


    I have cooked Ling – it is tasty, very sustainable and not that expensive – my local fishmonger stocks it from time to time. Next time yr here, I shall know what to cook. I am loving the travel food stories – perhaps your next trip could be a cycle / food expedition through Vietnam or Cambodia now that would be a food adventure.

  5. James

    Great week, Malcolm. Our annual cycling week is always one of the highlights of my year but it has been a pleasure to be part of this year’s extended Grand Trek. The blog shows what a pleasing as well as challenging route it has been. We have discovered where French landscape painting developed in the mid 19th century (Creuse Valley and Crozant) as well as admired the sheer physical labour of the monks and others of the Middle Ages in digging out 2000 fish lakes in the Brenne (which are still drained and refilled every year!). All this while coping with the cycling downsides of attractive but often “undulating” terrain. The exquisite B&B in Souterrain run by the two men from Birmingham is to be as thoroughly recommended as the hotel restuarant in Azay le Ferron is to be avoided. As Liz herself has shown, taking part in the longest first stretch of this four part Grand Trek, long distance cycling is as much about motivation and willpower as it is about strength. I admire Malcolm’s determination to do this trip. Best wishes to the next two baton runners: Tomas and Douglas. May your way and your weather be as fine as we have enjoyed this week. Malcolm and I look forward to welcoming Tomas later on in the day. He is borrowing my bike, so we may need to make some adjustments tomorrow before I depart for Paris. Back to work for me on Monday. I will be thinking of those in the saddle!

  6. douglas grover

    Each day sounds fantastic, like a tremendous tease. The village photos are spectacular. Share more. But most of all I love the loaf of bread. Look forward to Figeac.