Foodie Field Trip/Destination Restos Outside of Paris?
My husband & I will be in Paris in February for a week of eating & shopping (we're going to Tallievent, Chez l'Ami Louis, Le Comptoir) and thought a day jaunt outside the city would be fun, probably on a Monday. Any suggestions for amazing destination restaurants outside of Paris (Chartres, the Loire Valley, and Versailles are all places we'd like to go)? Many thanks!
Les Magnolias in Nogent le Perreux is supposed to be fabulous. I had a reservation there on 30 December but my RER train hit a person and stopped for about 3 hours while they cleaned things up so I missed dinner there.
Here is a link:
http://www.lesmagnolias.com It has one star in the Red Guide.
This looks amazing, and seems like it's not too far outside of Paris. Is it near Versailles? We'd like to find somewhere special to have lunch if/when we go there, and that may satisfy the "outside of Paris field trip" we're looking for. I'm going to lob a separate post about that, just in case...
No it is not near Versailles, It is to the east Paris, Versailles is to the southwest of Paris. Go to Gare St Lazare (or Gare du Nord) and take the RER E line to get there. The RER E line branches shortly outside Paris, so make sure you get on the E train that goes through Nogent le Perreux. It think it is about 20 miles outside town. This restaurant is often mentioned as the best one star in the Paris area, wish I could confirm that, did not get to go.
On a trip through the Loire Valley several years ago, we stayed at Jean Bardet, in Tours, for a few nights and had a couple of truly fantastic dinners. It's part of the Relais & Chateaux group. Fabulous inn and unbelievable food, quite expensive. You might want to take a look at their website and see if they're open for lunch on Mondays. Since it's an inn, I'm guessing that they are.
This would require a longer trek, but the best meal of my entire life and the best hotel stay of my entire life was at Michel Bras in Laguiole, which is in central France. You could certainly get there in a day via train plus car, but it's not close to Paris like Versailles or the Loire. It's worth the trip! http://www.michel-bras.com/
The food at Michel Bras is unlike anything I've had anywhere else. Lots of unusual local herbs are used to flavor everything and it's all scrumptious. The presentation is beautiful, too. The dining room has huge windows that look out over the countryside. The architecture somehow manages to be soaring and intimate at the same time.
The hotel is a beautiful modern building that hugs the slope below the hotel. The room we had was very private with its own little terrace perfect for enjoying the sunset. We loved the layout of the room, the bed linens, the reading lights, the soaps and shampoos scented with local herbs.
Some day we will get back there. It was that good!
Versaille hardly feels out of Paris, it's short train ride. If you can't find anywhere to eat there, you can be back in the city in no time.
another option, about as far is Rungis, the professional chef's market. You'll need to get a guide to be allowed in but it's tres cool.
First decide how you wish to travel. I recomend the train, if you use the TGV you can get out of Paris very quickly. For example the TGV to Avignon takes 2,5 hours to cover approx 650 kms. So first check where the TGV's go, and then decide how long you want to travel and this wil give you a start to look for a great restaurant.
We went to Avignon and had a very good meal at La Mirande, it has a pretty garden that overlooks the back of the Palaise des Papes, and the service is excellant (one star Michelin). Other destinations could be Bordueax, or Lyon, or Aix-en-Provence. The Loire is good with lovely chateau's but I fear it will be too long a trip for a day.)
A good alternative is to take a slower train to Epernay (approx one and a bit hours from Paris) and spend a few hours visiting Champage hoses (Moet is in the centre of the town). You can then tak a cab out of town to one of the "one or two stars" out in the country - this gets you out of the city (I haven't tried them - others may be able to guide you):
http://www.assiettechampenoise.com/fr... (24 kms
Of course Versailles is a must see, but it is almost a Paris suburb so you are not realy getting out of town.
Check your geography! Blois or Amboise, both of which have beautiful châteaux in the Loire Valley, are a much shorter train ride than Avignon. You can be there in an hour or so if you take the TGV. Plenty of restaurants in both towns. The Palais des Papes in Avignon is nowhere near as interesting and beautiful as the châteaux of the Loire. Only advantage in Avignon is that weather might be warmer there in February
I stand corrected - "Tours" or the station at "St Pierre des Corps" are both just over an hour from Paris. Best to hire a car to then tour some chateaux as Bloise and Amboise are not as accessable by train, and anyway the Chateaux tend to be in the countryside.
I reiterate my first comment - look at the TGV network, assess how far you want to travel, then decide on a destination. In two years of living and travelling in France finding a good restaurant in all the places we have visited has not been difficult. Once you know wher you are going simple grab the Michelin guide (or search on gourmet section of the via Michelin website) and you will easily find somewhere good.