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5 days to spend in Loire Valley, what to do/where to stay??

Australia
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5 days to spend in Loire Valley, what to do/where to stay??

We are headed to France in May 2010. I want to spend the last few 4-5 days in France being chilled out and relaxed, eating cheese, drinking wine. Enjoying life!

I am thinking of spending this time in the Loire Valley. I would like to check out the Chateux (when not eating fromage!) also. Where should we stay to get the best of both worlds, close to civilisation to go to shops/pubs and somewhere that is a little out of the way so we feel relaxed! Picky, yes I know, I'm confused...

If anyone knows of a great chateau that is reasonably priced and close to a town with at least a pub or market, then that would be great!

Cheers for any help

Loire Valley
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1. Re: 5 days to spend in Loire Valley, what to do/where to stay??

Chateau hotels (or at least, places calling themselves chateau hotels) tend to be in the country. I can't think of any that are in a town - and only one that is in a village (and I am not even sure the village has a bar).

The next thing to consider is eating fromage. In the Loire Valley that will be chevre, and you buy chevre whole in supermarkets or on market stalls. You don't tend to get just cheese platters - I have only seen it served as part of a 4 course meal (or instead of desert). Interestingly, it is traditionally eaten accompanied by red wine. Trying to order cheese in a bar on its own, I think you would be out of luck.

I think you might be better catered for with an upmarket gite. That way you would have a fridge in which to keep a selection of cheeses, and usually a garden to kick back in. There are plenty of gites around - Les Limornières near le Grand Pressigny might suit you - it's in teh country. but the nearby town has 2 decent bars, and there are two restaurants as well. The local farms make cheese and are only too happy to show you around. http://www.franceholidaycottage.com/

Simon

http://daysontheclaise.blogspot.com/

Edited: 12 April 2010, 19:28
Le Grand Pressigny...
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2. Re: 5 days to spend in Loire Valley, what to do/where to stay??

Hello, We are the gites Wizard mentions above.

For more information about surrounding area:

Visit the following sites (French and in English) for local information about goats cheese producers, vineyards and other local producers who are open to visitors sampling:

www.loches-tourainecotesud.com

www.tourainedusud.com

www.ville-descartes.fr

Also local farmers markets are held in a village surrounding the area every day of the week - Loches on Wed and Sat or Descartes on Sunday are particularly good for finding and sampling local, seasonal food from a wide array of cheese, meats, wines, fruit and vegetables to pies, olives and cooked food ready to eat.

Apart from a great choice of local chateaux (perhaps smaller, some private so only viewable in passing and others not so well known but open to the public) including le Grand Pressigny (5mins) Loches with its medieval streets, Donjon & Palais Royale (30mins)

The most local of vineyards is Domaine de Ris open for sampling and buying from the grower is at Bossay-sur-Claise, whereas the well-known large Loire Valley Chateaux and Vineyards of Chinon, Montlouis, Vouvray etc. are all within an hours scenic drive.

Happy planning

Saumur
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3. Re: 5 days to spend in Loire Valley, what to do/where to stay??

Bourgueil is one of the centres of red wine production in this area, not too far from us and within striking distance of many of the larger chateaux as well as quite a few smaller, slightly more character-driven ones too. In Bourgueil you'll find the Café de le Promenade - http://cafedelapromenade.com/tarifs.html

Here it's quite accepted to order a plate of different cheeses, or meats, on a simple slate bed to enjoy with an amazing choice of wines from the region either by the glass, or bottle. Because of the opening hours, rather than in spite of, the Café is popular as a destination for a late lunch.

Have a read of the following blog to get a taste for what's in store for the visitor. http://letastingroom.blogspot.com/

As for accommodation, you're spoiled for choice in the area. Well-appointed gites in the countryside, but with villages close-by for the bars & restaurants, or small to medium hotels. Be aware though that the area is spread out, and a car is an absolute must-have.

If you Google 'Gites Bourgueil', or 'Hotels Bourgueil', you'll have plenty of reading matter to go at!

If you need any more info, just ask.

Cumeray a Gennes
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4. Re: 5 days to spend in Loire Valley, what to do/where to stay??

Chateau de Verriere in Saumur is a chateau that is family run and occupied - is essentially a chambre d'hote (because it doesn't have a restaurant) and is bang in the middle of Saumur. You can walk out from there into town to meander round the streets. There's a fabulous market on a Saturday all around the old cobbled area and the accommodation is tiptop.

http://www.chateau-verrieres.com/

Worcester, MA
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5. Re: 5 days to spend in Loire Valley, what to do/where to stay??

Check out Chateau de Beaulieu in a Joue -les-Tours chateaudebeaulieu@wanadoo.fr

It overlooks Tours and has beautiful chateau setting complete with a fountain and gardens. We have stayed there a few times and love the place. It's very peaceful but with a central location and close enough to major routes etc so you can get just about anywhere in the area in an hour or so.

We wanted a relaxing place to return to in the afternoons and this filled the bill. We toured a chateau or two in the morning/early afternoon, bought our cheese and wine, came back, enjoyed both on the terrace and then had a wonderful dinner each night at the restaurant . The staff is very accommodating and friendly.

jhgrady

Australia
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6. Re: 5 days to spend in Loire Valley, what to do/where to stay??

Thank you for the help!! Lots of great suggestions, the more information, the harder, yet easier it gets!

My next question. If we stay in/near Tours or Olreans and don't have a car, how will we go getting around to see the the main Chateaux? Are there tour buses that leave Tours that see the Chateau Chambord which is closer to the Orleans side town? Or if I stay near Orleans are there buses that leave from there to visit Chateaux on the Tours side of town?

I can't decide. Stay near Orleans or Tours, and if we don't have a car, will there be enough options for us to do some serious Chateaux visits??

Worcester, MA
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7. Re: 5 days to spend in Loire Valley, what to do/where to stay??

Personally, I would want a car. Without one, you would want to stay in Tours proper or Orleans. A car gives you much more flexibility in planning your days and choosing a place to stay

jhgrady

Blois, France
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8. Re: 5 days to spend in Loire Valley, what to do/where to stay??

For Chambord, Blois is the closest city and has a regular shuttle bus service to both Chambord and Cheverney leaving from the city centre.

San Diego
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9. Re: 5 days to spend in Loire Valley, what to do/where to stay??

Blois is also a very nice town to stay in - highly recommended (but unfortunatelly the lovely B&B I stayed in is currently closed)

Ohio, USA
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10. Re: 5 days to spend in Loire Valley, what to do/where to stay??

I wouldn't stay in Orléans if you want to visit the Loire valley châteaux, especially without a car. I think Tours would make a good base for you. There are many excursions to various châteaux and wineries organized through the very active Office de Tourisme and the town is attractive, interesting and big enough to have plenty of good hotels and restaurants and a bit of night life.

if you stay outside Tours or perhaps Blois, even a short distance, you really would need a car.

http://www.ligeris.com/