Le Parvis Saint-Hilaire – 7 Place Saint-Hilaire, 72100 Le Mans, France.
After a nice long nap and a hot shower, it’s time to explore the little ancient town on Le Mans. Strolling along the streets and alleys while snapping some photos, I was enjoying the calmness and quaintness of the place. I liked the little alleys paved with small pieces of square stones, and the old buildings. I was lucky to be able to live in one for a few days; it was awesome, and I really liked it. It’s a different kind of feeling compared to living in modern apartment units. There was only one thing that I found strange and couldn’t get myself to get used to.
It wasn’t a surprise to see a couple of newlyweds taking their wedding photos on a flight of stairs with a backdrop of the Sarthe River during sunset; it was a pretty scene. It would have been a really pretty picture if they didn’t have my friend and I in it when we accidentally walked up the stairs and interrupted their photo shoot for a few seconds. Oops~!
Just across the road from the River is a French Restaurant, “Le Parvis Saint-Hilaire“. It was eye-catching as it was the only restaurant there, with tables and chairs in the open air, over-looking the river and some greens. Plus, it was just about sunset, with beautiful colourful sky, and soft cool breeze; just perfect after a long and hot summer day. Just by taking a seat at the table I felt happy to be there. Great view and atmosphere. I just hope that the food is good, based on the good experience I had for lunch. It would have been a perfect day if it was good. *cross my fingers*
My friend and I both opted for a 3-course meal, plus a half-bottle of wine. Based on the location and what we had for dinner, I think that €77 is pretty fair and good value (better value than in Syd, I’d say). It was, fine-dining.
My entrée was a salad with scallops. mMmmm…~ is all I can say. I couldn’t bear to eat the last drop of any jus on my plate ‘cos it was soOoo good; but I did, of course. Soaked up every bit of it with yummy bread. Can’t waste any of it now, can I?
As for the main, I chose to have the langoustine, although the duck dish was fabulous as well. Langoustine was something I’ve never heard of before some of my French mates mentioned it. Web search wasn’t too successful either, and I actually thought it was scampi. When I was in Paris, I walked past a quaint poissonnerie, and guess what, it had langoustine! I had a good look at it; it’s scampi-sized, but definitely looked different from scampi, and it’s so cute!
When my plate arrived, it looked so absolutely gorgeous, I was smiling from ear to ear. Le Mans is a food haven. I will definitely come back here to eat if and when I have the chance to (again).
Myth that French dishes are small in size? I think that the portions were pretty generous; langoustine’s pretty expensive in the market, and I got 9 on my plate~! yippee~! My tummy was absolutely filled up even before I devoured the last langoustine. By now, the sun’s really low on the horizon, slipping away into darkness. The sky’s still a beautiful sweep of orange, pink, and yellow. Perfect timing for dessert. mMmm…~ For the dessert, I chose raspberry millefeuille, one of my favourites.
The whole dining experience was great; perfect for couples looking for a romantic night out. Plus, it’s the month of Festival of Lights. As seen in photos below, fascinating displays of light illumination can be seen around the city. Colourful streetlamps projecting images on the ground, projections on walls and on cathedrals, etc. It was interesting and beautiful; just perfect for an after dinner stroll, accompanied by soft breeze, and friendly people. It was definitely a perfect way to end the night, especially if it were meant to be romantic.
These walls reminded me of the walls that I’ve seen in Verona, probably one on Via Pallone. The similarity in the brick arrangement patterns captured my attention. I don’t know why, but it caught my eye and I remember thinking that there must be an explanation on why they were arranged in such a manner.
In conclusion, I have a good impression of Le Mans, and had a great time there. I would love to visit again and explore other parts of this quaint city.
I rate the restaurant Le Parvis Saint-Hilaire 10/10.
It’s not just because of the food, location and ambience, but, also for a funny incident that will make me remember this place for a long time. p/s: your credit card might not work (especially if you have a foreign card), so please be prepared with some cash on hand, if you plan to visit the restaurant.