James Bond food Auberge de la Montespan

Auberge de la Montespan

Entering Orléans during his pursuit of Goldfinger through France in Ian Fleming’s 1959 novel, James Bond reflects that in other circumstances he would have spent a night at the Auberge de la Montespan, situated on the north bank of the Loire two kilometres south-west of the city centre on the N152 (D2152), his belly full of quenelles de brochet (pike dumplings).

As with many of the places in the Bond novels, the Auberge de la Montespan really existed. At the time that Fleming wrote Goldfinger, the establishment, according to the Michelin Guide, offered a very comfortable restaurant and rooms equipped with all mod-cons: central heating, a private bath, and (luxury) a bidet with running water.

If time and weather permitted, James Bond would have taken his meals at a table on the auberge’s magnificent terrace overlooking the river and perhaps, if he was lucky, caught a game or two of tennis at one of the many tennis tournaments that the auberge hosted. He may have chatted with the proprietor, Monsieur Fournier, whose son was the head chef. According to Samuel Chamberlain in his 1952 book (1960 printing), Bouquet de France, the chef’s poulet grillé was superb.

The former chateau, which famously hosted a visit from the French king, Louis XIV, in 1685, is, so far as I know, closed to visitors (when I visited in 2019, the area around the building was a building site), but it can be seen from the street, being located on the south side of the road from Orleans to Blois between Rue de Maison Rouge and Rue du Clos de la Montespan.

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