looking for somewhere nice to go for a drink?


Within a few paces of the garden gate lies a peaceful refuge in the true chauvinist spirit of France. In the baker’s dozen of years that I have passed in this hamlet I have yet to see a female in this “cave”. This is a fact that needs no apology as there is no exclusion, just a distinct lack of interest or desire on the part of the distaff side of this tiny community. It would be similar to excluding me from a football ground as the only way that I would consider entering such a place would include dragging and wild horses.


On hot days, or indeed cool and rainy days, a conversation started with my neighbour could very well end in the cool of his “cave”. In the cluttered peace of this comfortable shambles we will not talk of sport, tits or politics. We might discuss the level of alcohol in the “épine” that is macerating in a large black plastic dustbin in the corner into which he’ll plunge a small glass and draw up a slightly cloudy pale pink draught for me to taste. We’ll talk of today, yesterday and tomorrow. The racks are full of bottles of nothing particularly special…samples of his friends’ distillations and wines for the most part. Boxes of wine, of the supermarket variety, fill the spaces between trays of apples in the old fridge and are piled up on shelves behind the newly constructed bar. Aside from this simple selection of wine, we have chairs, a table and a lead square on the floor for playing “palets” which leaves very little wanting save for Omar’s loaf of bread and thee.




About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, aperitif, apples, Art photography, Digital photography, Drinks, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, French countryside, friendship, Fruit, harmony, lifestyle, Photography, photography course, Uncategorized, Vendee, Wine, wine, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to looking for somewhere nice to go for a drink?

  1. sabine says:

    To judge by your words & beautiful photos, seems like the ultimate spot to leave the world outside…

  2. Mad Dog says:

    I think I need to build a little bar at the end of the garden and make my own calvados 😉

  3. I’ll be there shortly… Shall I bring more wine??

  4. margaret21 says:

    Even though we had no similar bolt hole in Laroque (as if I’d know, being a mere female), this is one of the few things that has made me nostalgic for la France. Those unregulated little spots for the community to gather and share, especially where food and alcohol are concerned, seem to be something the French do rather well…

  5. lulu says:

    This sounds like a perfect place to wax nostalgic as you sip box wine which is not a bd choice in France. Though a man cave, I’ll be standing outside the door hoping to be invited in.

    • As you most certainly would be….it’s just that, to my knowledge, no woman has stood at the door…Oh, no, I remember that Fernands’ wife Jeanette stood at the door and when invited in looked at us as though we were insane:)

  6. catterel says:

    Perfect man cave – so much more civilised than the average Englishman’s garden shed!

  7. cecilia says:

    Yes, since you wrote of this last i have had pleasant thoughts about this drinking hole. Most including you stumbling merrily home, well not stumbling exactly but placing each foot carefully one after the other, familiar, free, possibly whistling or humming not too loudly, down the path and home after a visit to La cave. yes I love that you love this little room in your friends house.. c

  8. This sounds like the ideal place to just sit back and escape for a little while. Much fancier than most ‘man caves’ I’ve seen!

  9. All men need a Man Cave, Roger. MTM still misses his. (I also miss it, given that he now transforms our kitchen/dining area into his bike puttering haven.)

    • You’re doing the “puttering” again….that’s a Southern accent saying “pottering” and writing it phonetically….just think of “potting shed”..if it was “putting shed” Tiger Woods would be in there “putting away” or whatever Tiger likes doing best 🙂

  10. Decrepit little places like that look so much better in France! 🙂

  11. Eha says:

    Hmmm . . . after decades of being in and working with the male of the species almost exclusively and oft being very much the only ”female’ in a mancave . . . when I come to visit . . . .may I sneak in too . . . very quietly 🙂 ? [And now I’ll get a ‘no’ A in the public arena’!!!!]

  12. I especially like the door to this mysterious cave, it already announces that just special people will be invited to be let on to the bar. Some of the wives would love to be a “hidden mouse” to listen to those conversations. I love the shot of the bottle, it sets the mood for the visit in this cave. It gives me more of an Absinth taste, rather than a real good French wine to salivate.

  13. Plenty of places like this in Spain – like a shed with a bar, and smoking allowed!

  14. EllaDee says:

    In many ways domestic life, decor and space is a woman’s domain even still. But one needs a place of one’s own, In Australia a man’s shed, or the updated version – man-cave, is sacrosanct… and your words and pictures have captured a kindred essence. The G.O. has the requisite bottle of scotch tucked away in shed, for the cold, or just because…

  15. Dumdad says:

    The good life indeed!

  16. Wonderful escape. And the light filtering through that green bottle is not bad either!

  17. That cave looks incredibly inviting, Roger.

  18. discovervin says:

    Hi Roger. Another great post. A cave is so French compared to an Australian’s shed. Photographic advice please – love the bottle shot. I have been experimenting with trying to take bottle photos, any tips and do you use a light tent?

    • Shooting bottles for accuracy of colour and content is a very technical area. Anything that you put around the bottle, such as a light tent, will be neatly reflected. A good side light, like a soft box, and big reflectors. One of the main things with bottles is having retouching skills in Photoshop.It might be worth googling some tutorials..:)

  19. afarawayhome says:

    This is lovely 🙂 I wish I was there…

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