Bistro Venitien in Clermont-Ferrand, central France
The bistro is on Rue Des Gras, a long cobble-stoned street leading uphill to the Cathedral. We sit at a table on the street, our view looking up to the cathedral and down across the valley to the Puy de Dome—is there any significance to the fact that the front of the cathedral looks straight across to the puy? Even in bright sunshine, the silhouette of the black-stone cathedral is dark, and as the sun sets, it gets darker, but softer, and as the stars come out the spires blend in to the sky.
It’s a balmy evening, many people eating here, or parading up the street. We enjoy our salmon (Viv), steak (Rod and Di), and Pizza Rossi (Graeme)—it’s a ham and mushroom pizza with an egg in the middle, which looks like a fried egg—and the Rockmaure rose wine.
It’s a relaxed, magical evening, made perfect when two wandering musicians stop next to the outside tables. One plays a violin, the other an accordion, and the sound is lovely and “very French”. As Di says, “The accordion epitomizes France for me”, and I have to agree. There’s a special sound to this instrument, which conjures up images of a special life, of artists in Paris.