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Eating Trips Outside of Paris

My wife and I are in Paris now - having a blast. We would like to take an overnight trip into the countryside to visit a "gastronomic destination". We would love some recommendations. Somewhere within 2-3 hours from Paris on the train. A restaurant, a town, a chef, an inn - whatever.


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    1. A real adventure would be traveling east to the restaurant L'Arnsbourg, outside of Strasbourg. The resraurant is in the middle of nowhere, but has a nice new hotel attached and the food is highly recommended.

      1 Reply
      1. re: michaelstl

        Absolutely second the idea of L'Arnsbourg. It is absolutely a magical place and the Klein family are superb hosts. There is now a TGV train from Paris to Strasbourg and then a cab ride to L'Arnsbourg. You should spend the night - it really is in the middle of no where.

        See pics here:

      2. I was going to recommend Jean Bardet, in Tours, and attach a link to their website. I found the website, with a notice saying, “Jean Bardet did his final restaurant service last Thursday, February 28. We regret to inform you that we can no longer welcome you at the Chateau Belmont.” That would have been last year, ‘cause that’s when Feb. 28 fell on a Thursday. Sad. I always wanted to go back. My husband and I had a life-altering, 3-hour dinner when we stayed there many years ago. Does anyone know if M. or Mme. Bardet passed away or if they retired?

        1. You could go to Troyes and eat andouillette (if you're into that) and go to the outlet malls (if you're into that). Otherwise, just go and drink a lot of champagne. You could probably arrange a champagne tour, although there's not much to see in the vineyards right now.

          1. L'Huiterie in Lille is one hour from Paris and a short walk from the train station, or you can use the metro there. Had a klovley meal there last October. Michelin one star.

            1. There is a fine gastronomic restaurant called the Table des Blots located in Dampierres-en-Yvelines less than an hour from Paris. M.&Mme Blot have their restaurant within their Auberge du Chateau which has a handful of comfortable rooms directly across the street from the Chateau Dampiere which is well worth a tour. http://www.latabledesblot.com/

              1. Just for the record of all the 3 stars we went to outside of Paris, L'Arnsbourg exceeded our expectations.

                13 Replies
                1. re: lizziee

                  If I were looking for a "gourmet experience" in France this month, I would probably try for L'Arnsbourg, as I have heard nothing but raves about it in every department.

                  Another fabulous dining destination is L'Assiette Champenoise, the 2-star in Reims. I enjoyed multiple meals there last year and find their young chef consistently turns out inspired, delicious food that I am anxious to return to. Reims is just 45 minutes from Paris on the TGV. You could book a room there for one night and tour a couple of Champagne houses, while you are at it.!

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Hmmm, I'm headed to Paris in late March and want to do a quick day trip. Was trying to decide between Troyes and Reims. I have a feeling your response just decided it for me.

                    Someone earlier said that there isnt' much to see now in Champagne. I assume it will still be fairly wintery looking at the end of March?

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      I (if you're talking about me) just meant that there wouldn't be any grapes on the vines. But there's still some nice countryside, and old town centers, cathedrals, etc. And in the depths of a champagne cave, riding their little train, you can't tell what month it is outside.

                      1. re: DeppityDawg

                        So you definitely think a trip to Reims in late March would be worthwhile? If I'm training there, am I going to be able to get to a champagne house fairly easily? I understand I'll have to taxi into town.

                      2. re: LulusMom

                        Each Champagne house has something different to offer in the way of things to see in their caves. The history of the region is very interesting, as well. Needless to say, it is tied into the history of the wine. If you can, get and read the book "Champagne" by Don and Petie Kladstrup. It definitely enhances your perceptions on your visit.

                        Pommery -Greno has a fascinating history, AND always an interesting contemporary art exhibit going on in their caves. It is definitely worth a visit.

                        1. re: ChefJune

                          Thanks ChefJune, I'll look for that book. Is Pommery-Greno the place you'd most recommend (keeping in mind that I'm going via train)? And would you recommend lunch at L'Assiette Champenoise or is it more of a dinner kind of place?

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            Both are exemplary! I wouldn't turn either down!

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              We had lunch at L'Assiette Champenoise and it was just wonderful. We are planning to stop for lunch this summer when we are driving from Alace to Paris. It is quite a bit less expensive at lunch than at dinner, you still get wonderful food, and the setting is so beautiful in daylight.

                              1. re: rrems

                                Thanks rrems. I think you and I must be shadowing each other. I know you gave me some good advice on Wales. I'm thinking very seriously about L'Assiette Champenoise for lunch. Do you have any thoughts on which champagne house is best to visit (without a car)?

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  No, we did not get to any champagne houses, we only visited the cathedral, had lunch, and then headed off to Laon and Senlis.

                          2. re: LulusMom

                            While Reims is larger and more interesting, do not sell Troyes short. Good local market and a world class glass school,factory and museum. Some of the most interesting glass l have ever seen, worth the trip for that site alone. My lunch wasn't fancy, but a great picnic in front of the huge cathedral in a lovely park, with a lovely chilled magnum of Drappier, bought at their store. Also closest to Paris and an easy and quick train.

                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              Troyes was initially my first choice, but I've been wavering. You have not helped AT ALL (kidding). is it really closer to Paris? I thought the train trips from Paris to it and Reims were about the same time/distance? Is the train station in Troyes right down in the center of town?

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                Net time is probably about the same, as more normal train, but remember easy town to get around. Recall a metro, if a little one, and ease of everything. Glass factory about 200 meters from the cathedral.

                      3. Pic (3 stars) near Lyon
                        2 hours from Paris on the train.

                        1. I realize no one mentioned Le Relais Bernard Loiseau for such a trip. It's a shame because March is the ideal time to enjoy the Burgundy countryside, blooming, and foodwise truffle and mushrooms are at their best and the first vegetables are there.

                          But I also second Les Crayères or l'Assiette Champenoise in Reims and of course l'Arnsbourg in Untermuhltal-Baerenthal if you're not afraid of a schlepp.

                          I think les Crayères has packages including a night at the castle, meals and visits of wineries. Reims is almost too close for you as it is now 40min train.

                          And there also the Southern options -- Maybe Pic in Valence, definitely l'Oustau de Baumanières near Aix. That's the beauty of high-speed train.

                          And you know what else? If you allow 2-3 hours travelling time, you can also spend the night in the Southwest of France, for example at Daguin's wonderful Hegia (see my pics: http://picasaweb.google.fr/ZeJulot/He... ) or even at légendary Guérard's les Prés d'Eugénie or at the excellent Trama's Les Loges de l'Aubergade in Puymirol.

                          (For Daguin, fly to Biarritz, for Guérard, Pau and for Trama, Agen. There are cheap tickets on Air France).

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: souphie

                            I didn't mention Loiseau because OP said they didn't have/want a car, and I wasn't aware of any good public trans to there from Paris.

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              1H05 TGV to Montbard and they pick you up at the station.

                              1. re: souphie

                                Merci bien! that is very good to know.

                                1. re: souphie


                                  We are spending this April in Burgundy and plan on dining at RBL. Is there basically the same experience at lunch and dinner? We will be driving and prefer driving during the day after a sip or two of champagne, wine and cognac.

                                  1. re: Laidback


                                    As with most French restaurants, the experience is pretty much the same at lunch and dinner, only it's often less expensive and less crowded at lunch. The quality at RBL is always on top.

                                    That said, a big charm of the place is also the hotel and if you negotiate with them, you can probably stay with them on a week-night in April at a very good price, enjoying access to their spa and their wonderful breakfast.

                                    I posted some pics on my gallery there: http://picasaweb.google.fr/ZeJulot/Le...