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Another France Change of Plans: Help With Loire and Normandy Appreciated

Another France Change of Plans: Help With Loire and Normandy Appreciated

Old Mar 27th, 2012, 08:38 AM
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TDudette, I've seen the Bayeux tapestry a half a dozen times - love it! The first time you encounter it, you're stunned, because it's not what you'd think of as a "tapestry." It's a long (230 feet!), thin, embroidered piece of cloth on which the story of the Norman Conquest unfolds, leading up to the Battle of Hastings. You get (at least I do) completely sucked into looking at the details. It's housed in a dark room with the tapestry lit up so you can really see the minutiae. Quite something!
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Old Mar 27th, 2012, 08:56 AM
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"The maze at Valençay is a great place to lose someone..."

I better not tell Tracy. Dorothy, Valençay sounds (and looks great). It is now on the "for sure" list.

Agree SC. The Bayeux Tapestry is an amazing experience.

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Old Mar 27th, 2012, 09:00 AM
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Great! Maybe you'll show my wife the way out of the maze when you're there.
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Old Mar 27th, 2012, 10:42 AM
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The mention of Fontevraud reminded me of this place I stayed ages ago:

http://www.domaine-de-mestre.com/cha...de-charme.html

It was lovely. We had dinner there one night, and everything we ate came from the farm (which isn't a big deal now, but it was 20 years ago!) except for the wine, which came from the next-door neighbor.

I agree with adding Loches (you know, since you're immune to chateaux overload and all ;-)) - I thought it really stood out from the others, just different.

Sounds like a great trip - enjoy the planning!
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Old Mar 27th, 2012, 10:57 AM
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The graffiti that's been carved into the walls over the centuries in the fortress at Loches was my favorite part of that visit.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 10:10 AM
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Geez, I just posted this on the wrong thread. Tracy is right...I am getting old.

We stayed at Chateau du Pray about 14 years ago and really liked it, but we were hoping to find something in the Amboise area close enough to walk to restaurants (we do like our vin rouge at dinner, and we follow those zero tolerance laws). I know Amboise is very touristy, but, what the hell, we're tourists, too, and it looks like the most central base for our first few days there (I am open to other spots, however).

Chateau de la Fleuray looked nice, but it seems like you need to drive into Amboise for dinner, unless you ate at the hotel every night (or we just flip to see who is the designated driver). If nothing in town, a countryside setting for two "refined" couples might have to work for us.

Our last night I think we will stay in Saumur or Angers after a day of touring the chateaus (and Chinon) in that area. We head out for Mont St Michel the next morning. If someone has a suggestion in those two spots, it would be appreciated, too.

We just booked two rooms at Le Chateau de Bellefontaine in Bayeux, so the trip is shaping up nicely. Thanks again for all the suggestions, and, of course, I am sure I will have more.

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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 10:15 AM
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Hi, Tom.

Check out Le Choiseul and the Lion d'Or in Amboise. I like Amboise, even though it's gotten amazingly crowded over the years. And it's perfectly located for visiting that part of the Loire.

I think you'll like the Bellefontaine. Our room there was gigantic, the rose garden was delightful, and having cocktails out front in the evenings was a pleasure. And even though it's only a five-minute walk into town, you feel as though you're in the heart of the countryside, with cows lowing nearby and a lovely gurgling stream.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 10:30 AM
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Tom, I love your "what the hell, we're tourists too" attitude. I'm with StCirq as being someone who likes Amboise despite its touristy reputation. The best restaurant there is called l'Epicerie and it's right across from the château. If you don't find what youre looking for in Amboise I've stayed a few times at a château about 5 minutes drive from Amboise. It's also a wine growing estate (they'll sell you their wine) and is run by a wonderful young couple who took over the business from one of their parents. It's called the Château de Pintray:

http://www.chateau-de-pintray.com/

They do breakfast but not dinner. We just bought stuff from markets and had dinner either on their patio or in the dining room and they have a refrigerator and other utensils you can use.

I loved sitting with the owners father drinking wine as he showed me all the artifacts he collected from the grounds, dating from neolithic to Roman times right through the Napoleonic era.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 10:42 AM
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Add Villandry to your list---in the fall the kitchen garden was beautiful. Also,you might check out www.le-vieux-manor.com in Amboise. It was a great place to stay in town and the breakfast was wonderful. It might be more than you want to spend for a room but the two "maisons" might work if you split it. Love the place and the town.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 10:42 AM
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I'm with everyone who enjoys be a tourist and going to touristy places!
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 10:58 AM
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I first went to Amboise in 1974, when I was chaperoning student groups to Paris and the Loire. At the time, there was a small patisserie right at the foot of the cobblestone lane leading up to the château. I got chatting with the owner, Mme. Boulot, and stopped in to visit her on each subsequent student trip (there were about 8 of them, I think). It's now (at least last time I was there) a much bigger operation, and I believe l'Epicerie is owned and operated by the same people. Whether or not it's still operated by the Boulot family, I have no idea, but l 'Epicerie is a GREAT place!

PS: the link above should be www.le-vieux-manoir.com
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 10:59 AM
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Ooops! I just realized it as Mme Bigeaux, not Boulot.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 04:50 PM
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A timing question. We are planning to stay a night in Angers and then move on to Mont Saint Michel the next day and then on to Bayeux for two. Since it is a tad over 2 1/2 hours on the first leg, and about an hour and a half on the second leg, would it just make sense to stop at Mont St Michel, take the tour and then drive on to Bayeux and spend three nights there instead of a one night stay over at MSM? Thanks.

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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 05:50 PM
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St Cirq - sure it's not "Bigot"? I have a "hilarious" picture of my dad standing under a big sign saying Bigot in what I think is the place you're talking about
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 05:52 PM
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http://www.bigot-amboise.com/
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 05:55 PM
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I've stayed overnight twice at MSM and IMO that is the best time to experience the Mont, after the crowds have left and it is illuminated and magical and you can stroll the main street, narrow lanes and ramparts and feel like you have the place to yourself. The hotels are pricey and the food there is average at best but it is a great experience.

Once you leave Angers you could visit someplace near MSM on your way there, such as Fougères or Dinan, and then arrive at MSM in the late afternoon/early evening. Do your abbey tour first thing the next morning before the crowds arrive and then get out of there and on to Bayeux.

One thing to keep in mind is that starting April 28th there will be a new shuttle system in place at MSM to take visitors from the mainland to the island. Here is info about the new shuttle service:

http://accueilmontsaintmichel.fr/english/index.html
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 07:28 PM
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maitai

Lezzee: so, yeah, suppose you leave Angers at 9, that has you arriving MSM ca 11:30. With lunch on the Mont and a couple of hours to wander, you will leave by say, 3 p.m. So yes, you could make Bayeux by late afternoon. Although I liked seeing MSM in the late afternoon and early evening, your schedule doesn't really accommodate this, so I would definitely vote in favour of the 3 nights in Bayeux as there is much to do there and in the vicinity, as you might remember from previous trips.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 07:31 PM
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oops, I just saw French Mystique's post on the new shuttle system. Good grief, so they finally are implementing that thing. Well, that might change things a bit, as you might need more time to get to and from the Mont.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 07:38 PM
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Well, gwan, in French it would be pronounced Bee-goh, so I don't think there would be a problem.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 08:58 PM
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Same meaning, different pronunciation.
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