France is Our Oyster: where should we go?
My betrothed and I will be in Paris tomorrow and then, on the 11th, off to wander the surrounding cities and regions in search of an inexpensive chateau to host a small celebratory vacation for our friends in the fall.
As we have no absolutely set plans for this search and a great sense of adventure, I'd love advice on where to head for great regional cusine, scrumptious local wines and perhaps some reasonably priced lodgings. Within about 3 hours of paris (by car.)
Our budget is not tight but we are not exactly ballers so I suppose one or two spendy meals could fit into our itinerary and the rest should be moderate or inexpensive. As for what we like to eat... I haven't met a French meal I didn't adore (even the lambs brains we ate last holiday were tasty if I didn't think about them too much) + we both fancy a foie gras + a truffle here and there if we can manage to work those treats into a meal or snack.
In terms of our loose destinations, it looks like we'll be hitting up a chateau near Brix in the north and then a few spots near Amboise (so quite close to Tours) and at some point expect to be near Reims and the Champagne region.
Any advice on where to wander for great food and drink (or any suggestions on how to find character-filled and charmingly priced chateaux for rent) would thrill us.
I just pasted a link to this great chateau we stayed in last summer on our way to the South. It is--I dunno--maybe three hours away--we hit so many little villages on the way that I cannot remember. The food was incredible as was the room as was the entire stay!
It wasn't inexpensive, yet it wasn't so far out of reach. The cheese, the wine--ohhhh EVERYTHING was amazing!