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Jun 17, 2009 08:13 AM

Help:Loire Valley Food and Accomadation

I am on my way home to Australia via France in July, after working in London for six months. So far we have 3 days in Paris,2 nights in Mont-St-Michel ( Normandy) - we need to find another night near D-Day beaches,5 days in the Loire Valley, 2 nights at a Chateaux in Epernay and finally another 3 days in Paris.

Can anyone recommend some accomadation/good food for our 5 days in the Loire Valley?
For one night near D-Day beaches?

We have all the other food and accomadation covered ( unless you have someting that is outstanding)

This site is fantastic, it has helped me in London:)

Thank you to everyone who has responded to my other post:)

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  1. Isabella..the Chow police prefer to focus this dialogue on chow, so please email me for counsel on .


    12 Replies
    1. re: turlendu

      OOPS:( New to site!
      Thanks....I will email you re accommadation

      Can anyone help with food in Loire and Paris?

      So far in Paris I have Allard, Le Reminet and La Maison du Jardin

      1. re: IsabellaD

        It is quite an eclectic choice for Paris. Have you read the Paris posts on this board yet?
        What sort of food experience are you looking for in Paris?

        PS: 2 nights at Mont-St-Michel is 2 night too many, you will struggle for one good meal there, and it is a tourist hell during the day, IMO worth a quick visit only.

        1. re: PhilD

          Thanks PhilD,
          Unfortunately we have already booked MSM :( I am very worried re food now!
          You say eclectic choice for Paris???
          We love eating out in Paris and budget is not really a concern but we really like to eat and feel the city. Therefore we don't mind one top nosh dinning expeience but would rather eat with the locals if possible.
          I have looked at the other posts but they seem to be more about the top end. We are staying near Notre Dame.

          1. re: IsabellaD

            Sorry. However, I understand MSM is quite different when the tourists leave in the evening and you have the place to yourself. IIRC there are some restaurants close by that may be better than on MSM.

            On your Paris choices. Allard is very touristy and has a fairly poor reputation (wait for the its fans to rise to its defence), I never ate there when I lived in the area because it really didn't look feel/right. I also have a fairly negative view of most of the restaurants on the island around Notre Dame, these are in a prime tourist area, and like the restaurants in the back street of the Latin Quarter are geared towards tourists rather than locals. One exception is "Mon Viel Ami" which is OK, although very touristy (but many are).

            Good middle ground restaurants I would have on my list are: Le Regalade; Chez L'Ami Jean; Fables de la Fontaine; Jadis; La Troquet; Racine; Chateaubriand; Spring (very tricky reservation but worth a shot); Yam'tcha; Frenchie; Josephine Chez Dumonet; and Passage53. Some of these are old favourites, others are new openings which are getting very strong reviews, and a couple are not my favourites but are well regarded by others I respect (our tastes differ).

            You are also not far from a wine bar called "Fish" (rue du Seine) which does good food (English chef who cooks like an Aussie), I recommend it as a place to go for an early evening drink (they open at 7:00pm), one of the bar staff (Hayden) is a Kiwi and is really helpful in guiding people through the intricacies of French wine. He usually has choices you wouldn't normally select, and can position them in a Aus/Kiwi context. If you get there before 7:00 just along the street (towards the river) is "La Palette" an old bar popular with art students and the St Germain gallery owners (tip: ask the waiter to be seated).

            Final tip: go by bus if you can. The RATP website is really easy to use and you see a lot more of the city than on the metro.

            1. re: PhilD

              Thank so very much Phil D. You have given me plenty of fantastic options for our 3+3 nights stays in Paris. We should have a fantastic time foods wise with you suggestions plus a lunch at Guy Savoy( which I have read is a good option to experience and save 200 Euro). Now I wish we had more time but there is our next trip. We have been to Paris last Sept and Feb this year already and plan to return each year in either Feb or July as we will be coming to Europe twice a year for work from now on.

              Thanks for the tip on Buses unfortunately my partner really dislikes PT( actually refuses to use it,I have only just got him to take the tube in london a couple of times) therefore we walk or take cabs!

              One more question...Sorry to trouble you...but have you heard about or eaten at Ribouldinque ( we love offal)?
              Kind Regards,

              1. re: IsabellaD

                I ate at Ribouldinge at the end of November and thought it was fantastic, and a great value. I started with a bone marrow special (an entire bone split lengthwise), then tête de veau with brains and sauce gribiche as my main, and a sablé Norman with crème de marron. I think it cost 27 Euros or something like that, and it came with a delicious terrine before the meal and these delicious little chocolate covered caramels (which I could have eaten dozens of, despite being totally stuffed) after. The wine list also had plenty of inexpensive choices, and I don't recall what I drank but remember being pleased with it. Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend it, especially as you say you love was one of the best meals I had in Paris.

                1. re: renéemarie


                  I won't enter into the Allard controversy right now, except to say that we've been there (twice) and another place mentioned below (La Regalade), and we liked 'em both -- Allard a bit more. But since you brought up Ribouldinge, let's talk about that: We love it.

                  We were there in June 2009. As you well know, Ribouldingue (we’re told the name translates to “binge”) caters to a certain crowd. I had sautéed lamb’s brains -- creamy texture; fantastic!

                  The place is only a few minutes walk from Notre Dame, and boasts a “Bib Gourmand” recommendation from the Guide Michelin. It feels very comfortable with itself, as you can tell when you stand outside and view the amusing wall caricatures (of dancing gluttons?) painted in cartoon style on the simple façade.

                  With an 8:00 p.m. reservation, we were of course the first to arrive. The room is small, high and narrow, nicely decorated in yellows, with, again, a few simple drawings high on the walls. The tables in the front are somewhat brighter, but those in the back, where we were, stuck us as slightly superior, and it’s where most of the patrons were seated. After dining for a week in Paris restaurants, we finally found a place where we were not surrounded by Americans (if there were any in this place, they knew how to keep their voices down).

                  Our bill (immediately prior to the VAT reduction of July 2009) was 110 euros for two -- including two menus, two aperitifs, one large bottled water (Petill), a bottle of wine (a good Crozes Hermitage rouge) and expresso for one. We will gladly return; in fact, we had to resist the urge to go twice in one week.

                  (The fellow behind me ordered a cut-down-the-middle and roasted bone marrow dish that I must have some day . . . .)

                  --Jake ( http://parisandbeyondinfrance.blogspo... )

              2. re: PhilD

                I am surprised by your comments on Allard for a couple of reasons.

                Yes, I like it and have been many times; I am surprised by your contention that it has a poor reputation - is that based on anything in particular?
                as one source of evidence, there are many threads on a number of respected food sites glowing positively, including some venturing the idea that the roast chicken is as good as at that at L'ami Louis.

                I am surprised you are commenting on it if you have never been? particularly as your comments are at odds with this little black ducks experience who has been on many occasions! ;o)

                1. re: batfink23

                  Clearly I could be wrong. My impression was based upon: local friends in Paris; reviewers like Francois Simon and John Whiting; and as I said in my first post, walking past it many, many times.

                  I also tended to avoid restaurants that were mainstream tourist attractions (possibly my loss), especially for roast chicken as I we would often buy a Bresse chicken and roast it at home for Sunday dinner.

                  1. re: PhilD

                    mmm... Bresse Chicken, roasted at home... sorry, where was I? lol

                    seriously I can see that point of view, few things I like more than a proper home roasted chicken. but that said, you've got to be careful stereotyping places as "touristy". some places are frequented by tourists because of a long history and famous reputation.

                    as an example you can make a case that L'ami Louis, L'Arpege, and La Regalade are all touristy. in fact, by most definitions they are. they are also first rate on any qualitative scale.

                    also, take the Wolseley in London, next to green park, surrounded by tourist pap souvenir shops and other such like... but certainly a serious destination even though it has its share of 'visitors' from out of town.

                    1. re: batfink23

                      I agree, and I do try to avoid the stereotype. For me there are two broad categories of tourists. First the, informed food traveller (who uses this board) and is looking for great food. Second, the general tourist, where food is ancillary to their enjoyment (general guidebooks). The former is more likely to be in L'Arpege or La Regalade, the latter in Allard.

                      I also agree about visiting restaurants because of their historical significance, although there does seem to be an inverse correlation between food quality and history with most of these. In these cases it is appropriate/essential to call this out in the recommendation e.g. you must go to Le Train Bleu, OTT decoration, but very nondescript food.

                      It is quite a challenge to think of a comparable example in London (the Wolsey looks old and established but only opened as a restaurant in 2003) thus has little history. The closest example of the tourist restaurant was probably Cafe Royal but that closed (not without reason). I wonder if this is because the UK's food reputation is so bad (not justified) and the tourist must do list is: Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and Fish and Chips. In Paris it would be.

                2. re: PhilD

                  phil, I note that youa re one of the few people who mention Passage 53. Have you been there? Which would you recommend between Passage 53 and chez dumonet josephine??

        2. Isabella - For a B&B with very good, bourgeois food in the Loire, I'd recommend Le Moulin du Port in St. Georges sur Cher, just accross the river from Chenonceaux:
          Both the breakfasts and table d'hote dinners are excellent. Not fancy, but reasonably priced and delicious.

          3 Replies
          1. re: masha

            One of the nicest restaurants in the Loire is the George Sand in Loches. Tables wrap around a veranda that sits right on the Cher River. The food is prepared with great care, and won't bust the budget either.


            There are also two really nice bistro gems on the lovely square in Montrichard.(Names escape me) A very dreamy place to have dinner in good weather.

            1. re: masha

              Thanks:) Now I have to make my choices??? It will all come down to the best food and wine!

            2. If you search Loire on this board, you should find a number of good recommendations, including those I have left in response to earlier postings. For a great place to stay, in Chenonceaux, there is La Roseraie, a budget priced hotel with a lot of charm, which also has a nice restaurant, though my favorite is Le Bon Laboureur, with superb food, and which is also a hotel but more expensive than Roseraie.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rrems

                Both are on my list already :)Thanks:)

                1. re: IsabellaD

                  Recently returned from a trip with 5 days in the Loire and ate at both La Rosarie & La Bon Labourer. Had a marvelous meal at La Rosarie & a not so good one at Bon Labourer (very disappointing as I was expecting much more). We stayed at Bon Labourer and, although beautiful, found the staff to have a most unwelcoming attitude.

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. We stayed one night at Mont St-Michel and were very happy we did. We were able to climb up to the abbey at night, after dinner, under a full moon. We were almost alone on the winding, cobblestoned streets -- very atmospheric. Then just after we walked back to our hotel, a thunderstorm moved in and we watched lightning flash around the abbey towers. Wow!!

                  We stayed (and ate) at La Mere Poulard, famous for their omelets. They were fine (not bad, just not exceptional) and REALLY expensive! But the kitchen is all beautiful, gleaming copper and tiles, and the experience was fun. (They also could not have been nicer to us... we were very late for dinner, technically after the dining room was supposed to close, but they agreed to keep the kitchen open for us.)

                  The next day, the city was overrun by about 10 am, with hundreds of people trudging up and down those same streets. But I'd say two nights there isn't bad... just bail for a quick drive elsewhere after 10 am and until about 4 pm, then enjoy the peace and quiet again.

                  You could also drive south about 30-60 minutes to Cancale for great oysters along the waterfront. Touristy, but the food was very good -- also very good lobster, salt-marsh lamb, and fabulous local wild strawberries (in May).


                  PS - There is also a Michelin-starred restaurant in Cancale, connected to the spice trade, whose name I've forgotten (although I know it's mentioned in other posts here on Chowhound). Our lunch was a lovely experience, sitting in a glassed-in alcove, overlooking the gardens and duck ponds, but the food (a tasting menu), while enjoyable at the time, didn't prove memorable.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: waldrons

                    you're thinking of Roellingers place - Maison des Bricourt.