Sometimes, one feels like stopping time, dropping their baggage, taking a deep breath, and looking at life differently. Simply because arriving in a different setting can reveal a theater of peace, like an invitation to a sweet melancholy, and feel a tender call to the past.

Thuillies is like that, with its village square, with its Petite Gayole. That discreet house, there, just placed on the corner. A costume of a village café, a majestic counter, benches and seats all clad in beautiful wood, walls adorned with posters, references to a joyful time: here the local festivals and fairs, there scenes of rural life. With the spirit glued to the earth, one feels captured, wanders around, and once seated at the table, one doesn't tumble down; the gourmet feast can begin. With a Chimay from the tap - as it should be there – and while passing the towel around the neck, rolling up the sleeves, one will cozy up by sharing homemade rillettes. The menu, on the other hand, is announced, almost narrated, by Audrey, the beautiful character of a hostess with a sincere smile and a twinkle in her eye, with Walloon expressions as a bonus. The cuisine, in turn, reveals François's talent. The man adeptly handles the fine products he selects and makes his own, offering us a cuisine rich in traditional dishes, a cuisine that hits the mark we love; flavors, flavors, and more flavors. Absolute witnesses of the moment include the Game Terrine by Eddy Buchet, red onion confit, and pickled vegetables, the Croquettes of Chimay cheese and Parmesan, fresh herbs with ginger, the Seared Scallops, Jerusalem artichoke, virgin sauce to start. The Roasted Half Ham Hock, old-fashioned mustard sauce, and vegetables, the Sea Bass Fillet, bisque sauce and seasonal vegetables, the Irish Beef Flank, crushed pepper vegetables, the Roasted Sweetbreads, veal juice with port and shallots, seasonal vegetables to continue. The Raspberry Sorbet and P'tit Peket from the Biercée Distillery, the Irish coffee, homemade whipped cream, the Sabayon with Orval and vanilla ice cream to conclude in beauty.

The wine cellar follows the beautiful movement, one focuses wisely without forgetting the good bottles and clever vintages, and one can happily indulge in, among other things, a 'Terres Dorées' 2020 by Jean-Pol Brun, a 'Cuvée Florés' 2019 from Domaine Vincent Pinard, a 'Cuvée Eolhite' 2019 from our friends at Fosse-Sèche, or a 'Clos Baquey' 2014 from Elian Da Ros.

Leaving Thuillies - because it is necessary, I slowed my pace. In the village square, for a breath, I listened. I thought I heard children's laughter, and farther away, there was a brass band.