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Aug 6th, 2011, 04:58 PM
  #1
travfirst
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 296
8 lovely days in the Loire Valley and Normandy

One day in early May DS2 decided to take summer classes in London. Luckily we found ff tickets to Paris returning from London for the three of us. Trip to Loire Valley was on my DH’s list for some time (now he wants to return to the region to study French).

We planned entire trip from the beginning to the end in one short month. I panicked when I couldn’t find accommodations for the first 2 nights. I emailed close to 15 B&Bs going down the tripadvisor recommendations before someone I contacted recommended her friend at Château de Pintray.

Our accommodations (all were clean and had great water pressure in a shower):

2 nights near Amboise at Château de Pintray http://www.chateau-de-pintray.com
Two lovely yellow Labradors (mother and daughter) greeted us on arrival. Both are well behaved and obedient, pleasure to have around. There's a pool table in the large kitchen/dining room, TV and tea kettle in the living room. Anne (the hostess) had lots of books and information at the living room as well, almost too much to my taste as all the tables were completely covered with them and room did not look very inviting, but maybe it just me. The two large patio tables are set outside with a lovely view of the vineyard – much more enjoyable then the living room during summer month.
We had a laptop with us that with Anne’s permission we could connect to the internet cable in the dining room.
The breakfast table was nicely set, it can easily accommodate 10 people, and it was a great place to meet other guests. I think the breakfast selection at Château de Pintray was better than in other places we stayed on this trip. In addition to standard baguettes, croissants, butter, jams, juice, milk, coffee or tea it offered a selection of fruits, yogurts, and few different soft cheeses.
We stayed at the family suite on the first floor (Suite familiale au premier Etage) with a view on the vineyard and had two rooms that can accommodate 4, one room en-suite, and the other room with a shower and a toilet in the private hallway. We also had a small refrigerator, and bottles of drinking water were left for us in our room.
I loved the location in the countryside away from the noise and just short 5 min drive from Amboise.
Anne is an excellent hostess with pleasant smile and great English.

2 nights at Chinon Logis Saint Mexme www.logis-saint-mexme.fr
Logis Saint Mexme was our first choice and we were fortunate to book it for 2 nights (we hoped for 3 but they were fully booked for the last night). From the moment I contacted Héléne she provided helpful information, emailed me a document about nearby attractions, history and culinary. She sent us excellent driving direction that came very handy.
Our room was spacious and charming with very comfortable bed, small TV, tea/coffee station, and a small private bathroom looked cheerful and new. Our son had a separate room that was perfect for one; small refrigerator to be shared by all guests at the end of the hallway of the 1st floor. The wireless internet worked near windows and in the garden.
If I am not mistaken there is only one additional room available for guests at Logis Saint Mexme.
The sunny dining room had two round tables all set for breakfast. I loved the selection of different breads, pastries, and croissants Héléne had for us each morning, small bowl of fruits, plain yogurt, milk, tea, coffee, jams and butter, there was a separate cereal station with at least five different cereals in the corner.
French bulldog Edouard is still young and hopes you will drop something from the table, Héléne tries to keep him away from the guests but we enjoyed his youthful energy.
Héléne, the youngest hostess we ever stayed with, is helpful, friendly and professional.
Although there’s no private parking at this B&B, there’s always parking to be found on the street just outside the door.
This B&B was my personal favorite; I would highly recommend it.
We also like Chinon and surrounding towns as the place to stay for several months when we retire. The real estate listings we saw are relatively inexpensive.

2 nights 15 km/25 min north of Angers at Le Château de Montriou http://chateau-de-montriou.com/
The hosts, Madame Nicole de Loture and her husband Regis are welcoming and friendly.
Le Château de Montriou with historic 15th century Chapel belongs to the Regis family for generations. The owners have great pride in the château, as anyone would. On the night we arrived Madame de Loture showed us the older part of the château - grand family room with paintings, art and family portraits, fireplaces, the sitting/hunting room decorated with deer antlers and stuffed heads of wild animals, and the dining room with two fireplaces decorated with tapestry and china. We spent some time exploring the gardens, grounds and the historic Chapel. Some parts are lovely and some in great need of renovation. It takes a lot of energy and money to run and improve a place like this, and I wish the family could restore it to the former glory as it could be an amazing place to visit.
Our accommodations on the second floor of the château were two bedrooms (one double "la chambre aux abeilles" and one twin room "la chambre aux ornements), small well equipped kitchenette, bathroom and shower room. The spiral staircase was fairly steep, which could be challenging for older visitors, although Madame de Loture is in her 60th and she walks up and down that staircase several times a day.
The double room was very large with two windows facing different sides, fireplace; but the bed was quite small and a worn mattress. I hope they will replace it one day for the comfort of the guests. We loved the starched and ironed white sheets, which added some charm; however our son said they “felt like plastic”.
I did not find the hair dryer in the morning, I asked Madame de Loture, and she immediately delivered it to the room.
The breakfast at the dining room was a traditional French style - baguettes, croissants, butter, homemade jams (special Madame de Loture’s recipe), juice, coffee or tea.
They are currently renovating chambers on the first floor.
I loved peace and quiet of the surrounding area.

1 night Mercure Mont Saint Michel
Route Du Mont Saint Michel BP 8
Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Manche 50170
Standard Room with 3 single beds - Hot Deal on expedia.com.
Either entire hotel or our room was recently renovated or simply new. The bed was very comfortable; to my surprise all three beds felt larger then twin size. Nice tea/coffee station came handy in the morning as breakfast was not included; the room had a large comfortable bathroom with separate toilet and it was equipped with A/C.
The room was as good as some Marriott rooms (maybe reception area a bit different); if ever in Mont Saint Michel again we would be happy to stay here.
I liked accommodation outside Mont Saint Michel and it suited us perfectly.

1 night Honfleur Le Fond de La Cour www.lefonddelacour.com
Le Fond de La Cour was recommended by another B&B that was fully occupied.
We booked Chambre 3/ Stabe annexe which is a suite of 2 bedrooms - one with a double bed and one with a single bed, they share a bathroom. The rooms were very simply decorated. The windows didn’t have blinds, and the sun awoke us early in the morning. We mentioned this to Amanda over breakfast, and she said she was considering using heavier draperies.
The breakfast was served at the café across the street with apple juice, the jam I liked more than others before (and I tasted them all), baguette, croissants, butter, coffee or tea. DS was treated with Nutella and DH had an espresso.
This B&B didn’t have private parking either, and we had to look for a spot on surrounding streets with Amanda’s help.
Lovely, friendly and accommodating Scottish family runs this B&B and we felt right at home staying at Le Fond de La Cour.
It was favorite B&B for my DS (I don’t know if Amanda’s Scottish hospitality, Nutella for breakfast or large white family dog he played the ball with contributed to his choice).
I enjoyed the quiet setting of this B&B, the perfect distance from the center and would stay at Le Fond de La Cour next time we are at Honfleur. I took an early morning walk to the market and reviewed the prices at the local real estate agencies’ windows. OMG, 20 sq m apartment near the center costs more than a large house at Chinon area; even not centrally located apartments did not come cheap.
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