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Aug 22, 2010 02:43 PM

Somewhere to eat wonderfully and stay the night (not in Paris)?

Wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a restaurant/inn in the French countryside or, even better, by the seaside to eat wonderfully and stay the night? Preferably not too stuffy accommodation.

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  1. Easy money.
    Annecy Lake (the Eastern shore), sleep at Pere Bise (Claire's Knee and all that); apero at the Super Panorama; dinner at Veyrat's; lunch at Le Ferme de Lormay near Grand-Bornand.

    7 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      thanks John. Love Claire's knee. Just saw Rohmer's Le beau mariage last week...
      Pere Bise looks a little bit staid for our tastes though. Hoping to find somewhere that has more zingy decor, ideally. Thinking about the Ilse de Ré, which has a handful of super charming places but not sure it will be warm enough in June ...and the food?

      1. re: johannabanana

        Well, this may be a bit staid as well, but we enjoyed it as a splurge a few years ago, and I'd say the decor is at least semi-zingy. "Hotel Restaurant Fort de l’Ocean" (in Le Croisic, near Nantes, in the Loire-Altantique). This is a super-dramatic Relais & Chateau establishment with a fine restaurant, on the windy and “wild” coast. -- Jake

        1. re: johannabanana

          I took my 12-person tribe to the Ile d'Yeu which is one island up from the Ile de Ré in June and it was fine; I realize it can be cold and rainy, maybe we lucked out. Food I have no idea.

        2. re: John Talbott

          John-- heard rumors of Veyrat's reopening, but the reviews are lukewarm. Have the prices changed at all from the old place? (He used to charge upwards of E300 per person for dinner! )

          1. re: menton1

            Haven't been to Annecy in a couple of years but I may go in a couple of weeks and if so I'll scope it out.

            1. re: John Talbott

              Well, his original place closed, and he opened a lunch place in Annecy. (His place was 5km away, in Veyrier). He's a very quirky fellow, quite rigid. No real reports of the new place, very soft opening, the only word I hear is that the prices are similar! (300E for dinner PP-- yikes!)

              There are more traditional (and cheaper!) restaurants in Annecy proper serving the traditional Savoyard dish raclette. It's too cheesy for my taste, and they bring it with a specially designed cheese melter, so it's a bit of fun, if you like all that cheese. I had this at Freti just off the canal a couple of years ago... But that's it for my raclette adventures for the forseeable future!

              1. re: John Talbott

                I love Annecy and have never eaten that well there, not in Annecy anyway.
                Had a great tartiflette at the Ferme de la charbonnière outside Menthon Saint Bernard. Reserve ahead of time, and the farm will have a fresh reblochon heating and dripping on farm-fresh ham and onion before you arrive.

          2. We just spent several nights at the Moulin de Rosmadec in Pont Aven on the south coast of Brittany. Unbelievably beautiful village at the top of an estuary. The river was channelized long ago to afford more water power so that everywhere you look there is water cascading down to the sea. Very pleasant rooms, breakfast served in the restaurant or in your room. Two restaurants, one more (but not terribly) formal and the other a bistrot. PA hosts an excellent Nabis museum as well as many chocolate, caramel, cookie and preserved fish shops. Touristy but understandibly so because of the beauty. We're going back! .

            1. This spring we spent one night at Hotel Faurie in St. Agreve. This is a very special address. Philippe Bouissou gave up cooking at a 2* dining room to return to his grandfather's hotel. He and his wife have redone only 4 rooms and he cooks nightly for a maximum of 8 guests. There is a fixed menu at 75€ per person, 5 imaginative and delicious courses. (The website is intentionally enigmatic because the Bouissous want to surprise and delight their guests. And they do.)

              1 Reply
              1. re: mangeur

                In September we are going to Ardeche, staying in Jaujac, not far from St Agreve. This rec comes in handy. Merci Manger.

                Re "a restaurant/inn in the French countryside or, even better, by the seaside to eat wonderfully and stay the night", my vote goes to Olhabidea or, if its 4 rooms are full, hotel Arraya, owned by the same chef-family, in Sare, near the Basque coast.

              2. Responding to your request on another thread but topically in this thread: There is a wonderful (not funky) chambre d'hote in Cosne sur Loire (across the river from Sancerre) with delightful rooms and kind and generous hosts. If you are not familiar with chambre d'hotes, they are the French equivalent of our B&B but the resemblance is slight. The owners of the Prieure have dedicated 4 bedrooms (each with excellent bath) and large sitting room to guests. We booked the ground floor room with its little outside table and chairs and fabulous bath. Very generous breakfast at outdoor table looking onto the Loire.

                BUT the draw is dinner at Le Chat, a roadhouse a few km down the road. Here, another superchef cooks ridiculously inexpensive food for mostly locals. (In fact, our hostesss blinked her eyes and asked how on earth we had heard of this restaurant which is a local treasure.


                So good that we will return for 3 nights next year, using Le Prieure as a base for exploring across the river, Sancerre, Menitou Salon, etc.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mangeur

                  "exploring across the riverl, Sancerre, Menitou Salon, etc."

                  Don't miss La Charité sur Loire, "crumbling stone by stone", in VHugo's words.

                  In those parts I like the Auberge Les Perriaux in the old Gare in St Fargeau.

                2. Vonnas ( the home of Bresse chicken) may be too far away for you, it is a nice small town basically owned by Georges Blanc; we liked his hotel just across the street. Menus of his signature restaurant start at 120 Euros and go to 195 Euros. He also has package deals. If you order off the Carte, expect to pay about double.

                  Personally, I think the chicken is overrated, but then my family was in the business. The Homard Breton was great.