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Help:Loire Valley Food and Accomadation

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IsabellaD Jun 17, 2009 08:13 AM

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?
and
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:)

  1. Jake Dear Aug 22, 2009 10:23 PM

    IsabellaD,

    After getting pleasantly sidetracked on the subjects of Allard and Ribouldinge (see my other post in this string), I'll finally address what you originally asked -- some Loire Valley dining recommendations:

    In Grez Neuville, a pretty village aside the beautiful river Mayenne, near Angers, we stayed at a nice B & B, La Croix d’Etain, and for dining nearby (about 15-20 minutes away by car), we enjoyed Auberge de la Diligence (fine country cuisine and service), in Loire; and Chateau de Noirieux (very fancy, haute cuisine), in Briollay.

    In Amboise, we stayed at Manoir les Minimes, an elegant mansion (with no restaurant). For nearby dining we enjoyed Le Pavillon Des Lys (haute cuisine, about five minutes walk from the manoir), and Auberge de Launay (fine country cuisine), about five minutes drive from Amboise, in Limeray Amboise. Farther afield (about 20 minutes drive), we enjoyed more fine county cuisine at Restaurant La Roseraie (mentioned in another post in this string) and the simpler Restaurant du Roy, both in Chenonceaux. Finally, near Chateau de Chambord we had a fine lunch at Restaurant Manoir Bel-Air, in Saint-Dye-sur-Loire.

    In Panzoult, just outside Chinon, we stayed at, and recommend, Domaine de Beausejour, an elegant B & B (with a pool) located in the vineyards, and producing its own wine. For nearby dining (about 5 minutes away by car, in Chinon), we enjoyed Hostellerie Gargantua (in a 15th century building), and Restaurant Les Annees 30. Farther away, while touring the countryside, we enjoyed Restaurant La Tourangelle, in Montlouis-sur-Loire (the best Grand-Marnier soufflé ever!), and La Promenade, in Saint Mathurin.

    (See links for all of these places on our little web site.)

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

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jake Dear
      c
      CJT Aug 23, 2009 08:45 PM

      Glad to hear Domaine de Beausejour is still doing B&B. We spent 2 lovely nights there in 2004 and enjoyed the pool, their dog, and a cat who came to visit. But Monsieur was up in years then, so I was surprised to hear it was still going. Is it the son who runs the winery who does the B&B now? Breakfast by the pool was also a delight.

      1. re: CJT
        Jake Dear Aug 23, 2009 09:46 PM

        CJT, When we were there, the son was running the winery, mom ran the B & B (and chatted with us after breakfast and gave us a nice winery tour), and Monsieur (an architect, if I recall) was around, but we did not see him.

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

        1. re: Jake Dear
          c
          CJT Aug 24, 2009 07:14 AM

          There was a lot of really fine art and objects in the house which made us feel that we were staying in a wealthy family's home. The view of the vineyards and countryside from the patio was lovely -- we could see cars and mopeds moving through the roads but never heard them from the hill. We sure enjoyed their Chinon wines and still have some in our cellar. This brought back memories of a wonderful trip.

    2. a
      American_in_London Aug 11, 2009 04:09 AM

      My husband I have just returned from a week of independent cycling in the Loire Valley (well, independent except for hiring someone to move our luggage around). Before setting off, I'd searched this board and a lot of English and French newspapers to find tips on where to eat, and came up a bit empty-handed. So I relied on the Michelin guide and the recs of our different B&Bs, and I thought I'd pass on the notes I took on our dining adventures in Chartres, Blois, Bracieux, Contres, Chaumont-sur-Loire, and Amboise. Generally, we ate very well for a reasonable amount of money (most restaurants offer multiple prix fixe menus ranging from 20 to 40 euros). If you're a foie gras terrine or chevre fan, the Loire is for you. bon appetit!

      http://rwapplewannabe.wordpress.com/2...

      3 Replies
      1. re: American_in_London
        fayehess Aug 18, 2009 11:56 AM

        Does anyone have a suggestion for a good restaurant, reasonably priced in Chinon, in the Loire Valley? thanks, Faye

        1. re: fayehess
          menton1 Aug 18, 2009 12:32 PM

          Right in the long main square in Chinon, Place du General Charles de Gaulle, is the wonderful Au Chapeau Rouge. Really good food in a lovely ambience, they have "Formules" (3 courses) for about 30E.

          http://www.auchapeaurouge.fr/presenta...

          1. re: menton1
            fayehess Aug 19, 2009 08:53 AM

            thank you!! I normally teach cooking in Italy, but I have added the Loire Valley and need to build up my list of rec.'s when my students go a wandering. I'll give it a try as soon as I get there.

      2. a
        aussieDan Jul 5, 2009 05:37 PM

        Phil.,
        I notice that you are one of the few people mentioning Passage 53.....have you tried yourself or is your recoemmendation based on the reviews? Would you go there over Cheaz Dubonnet josephine?
        thanks

        1 Reply
        1. re: aussieDan
          PhilD Jul 6, 2009 12:09 AM

          Dan, I haven't been to Passage 53 yet, it will be on my list when I head back to Paris in September, my list is a mix of old favourites and new ones. I always like to mix and match when I visit with a few solid/reliable ones mixed with a few on the leading edge (a bit more risky). I was quite a regular are CDJ though, and often took out of town visitors as i felt it gave a good impression of traditional Paris.

          From what I read the restaurants are very different. P53 is a "neo-bistro", whilst CDJ is very old fashioned (in a good way). P53 incorporates asian influences whilst CJD is foie gras, sauces and soufflés (and monster portions). If you have time try them both and contrast the old with the new.

        2. w
          waldrons Jun 22, 2009 01:15 AM

          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).

          Susan

          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.

          Susan

          1 Reply
          1. re: waldrons
            b
            batfink23 Jun 22, 2009 09:34 AM

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

          2. r
            rrems Jun 17, 2009 07:43 PM

            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
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              IsabellaD Jun 18, 2009 11:05 AM

              Both are on my list already :)Thanks:)

              1. re: IsabellaD
                c
                charlewest Jul 8, 2009 08:55 PM

                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. m
              masha Jun 17, 2009 11:39 AM

              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: http://www.lemoulinduport.com/
              Both the breakfasts and table d'hote dinners are excellent. Not fancy, but reasonably priced and delicious.

              3 Replies
              1. re: masha
                menton1 Jun 17, 2009 01:02 PM

                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.

                http://www.hotelrestaurant-georgesand...

                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: menton1
                  i
                  IsabellaD Jun 18, 2009 11:06 AM

                  Looks good:)

                2. re: masha
                  i
                  IsabellaD Jun 18, 2009 11:08 AM

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

                3. t
                  turlendu Jun 17, 2009 08:50 AM

                  Isabella..the Chow police prefer to focus this dialogue on chow, so please email me for counsel on accommodations..info@corkandfork.net .

                  thanks,

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: turlendu
                    i
                    IsabellaD Jun 17, 2009 10:43 AM

                    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
                      PhilD Jun 18, 2009 12:32 AM

                      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
                        i
                        IsabellaD Jun 18, 2009 10:59 AM

                        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
                          PhilD Jun 19, 2009 12:18 AM

                          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
                            i
                            IsabellaD Jun 19, 2009 08:25 AM

                            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,
                            Isabella

                            1. re: IsabellaD
                              renéemarie Jun 26, 2009 08:17 AM

                              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 offal...it was one of the best meals I had in Paris.

                              1. re: renéemarie
                                Jake Dear Aug 22, 2009 08:56 PM

                                Isabella,

                                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
                              b
                              batfink23 Jun 22, 2009 09:33 AM

                              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
                                PhilD Jun 22, 2009 10:40 AM

                                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
                                  b
                                  batfink23 Jun 23, 2009 07:13 AM

                                  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
                                    PhilD Jun 23, 2009 10:51 PM

                                    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
                                a
                                aussieDan Jul 5, 2009 05:35 PM

                                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??

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