Burgundy, Loire Valley, Rhône-Alpes,...

Old Nov 19th, 2023, 11:14 PM
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Burgundy, Loire Valley, Rhône-Alpes,...

I stayed for a month in Provence this year (Mouriès in the Alpilles) and loved it - the landscape, greenery, excellent food, and top restaurants, and yet tiny villages like Moussane, Eygalieres, historic towns like Arels, and even the touristy St. Remy. The mix was perfect. Been to Provence a few times now and want to try a different region. I typically rent a house for a month, preferably in a small village, and travel nearby as needed. Considering Loir Valley and Burgundy, but wondering if I should try something totally different, like Brittany.

I would love to hear suggestions from experienced travelers who have seen different regions. I am not into beaches and touristy places, but love historical towns like Arles. Beyond that, I am keeping an open mind!

Thanks much in advance.
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 01:25 AM
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I like the Loir valley, small and untouristy with some great little towns withh many bicycle trails and one of France's great forests
The Loire valley, on the other hand, is around 1000km long and certain bits get a lot of tourists and have a well functioning railway system and some very busy roads

what a difference an e makes ;-)

If I was trying to do that sort of holiday in Burgundy, do it in the north around Auxerre not down in Beaune.
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 07:50 AM
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We spent 2 weeks in Burgundy near Chablis last year, and 2 weeks near Beaune & 2 weeks in Beaujolais near Juliennas about 12 years ago. We have stayed in over 75 gites for 130 weeks in various regions of France - outside of Paris. My wife & I agree that Burgundy is not as interesting as the other regions in France. We found ourselves driving too much between the sites. And the countryside is less diverse. However, Dijon is one of our favorite cities in France, and so is Beaune.

Our favorite regions in France are:
1. Provence & the Dordogne
2. Cote d'Azur, Brittany, Languedoc, & Alsace

We love Chateaux and have spent 8 weeks there. But outside of the Chateaux - the villages, cities and countryside is not very interesting - except for Chinon.

I have lengthy itineraries for the Dordogne, Alps, Brittany, Languedoc, and shorties for the Loire, Burgundy, and Alsace. Let me know if you would like to see any of them & I'll attach them to a later post here.

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 08:13 AM
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Chinon itself is a good visit but the area around can get busy.

Alsace is wonderful but you need to drag yourself out of the car and get into the countryside on the back paths
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 08:24 AM
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Burgundy or the Dordogne would fit your bill




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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler
I like the Loir valley, small and untouristy with some great little towns withh many bicycle trails and one of France's great forests
The Loire valley, on the other hand, is around 1000km long and certain bits get a lot of tourists and have a well functioning railway system and some very busy roads

what a difference an e makes ;-)

If I was trying to do that sort of holiday in Burgundy, do it in the north around Auxerre not down in Beaune.
Wow, bilboburgler, thanks! I had no idea of the two - it even took a while for me to search and find a site that described the distinction. It's on my list now to consider. Thanks!
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 11:04 PM
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Travelling in France can be very subjective. Provence is lovely and as you know has lots to see. The Dordogne would give you an area which also has lots of lovely villages to visit, caves, rivers. Our favourite parts of France are Burgundy and the south west which includes the Herault, the Dordogne, the Lot, the Lot et Garonne, the Gers just to name a few.

We have never stayed for a month in one place but have done quite a few two week stays and we do enjoy them. As with Stu, we book our gites through Gites de France and have always been happy with them.

It is a long time since we have stayed around Dijon/Beaune but are going to return on our next trip, all being well. We have stayed in other parts of Burgundy more recently and enjoy the area in from Macon around Cluny ( Saone et Loire ). I think it depends on what you like. We are slow travellers who just enjoy being there, and do not need to be seeing something fabulous everyday. We stay in small places or in the countryside and self cater.

These are the links to my reports on our stays. We stayed in Burgundy on each except 2023, but we were close in the Loire department to the south- not the Loire Valley! The departments are labelled.

2014- On the road again - another country roads tour of France.

2016- Country Roads in Autumn. Ten weeks in country France.

2018- Our autumn tour of country France

2023-https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/country-roads-less-travelled-1716810/

There are lots of places you could choose. As I said, it is subjective.

Happy researching!!
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 11:10 PM
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I see now that I neglected to label the areas in 2014. Burgundy was the last three weeks if our trip where we stayed near Cormatin in the south and Villeneuve sur Yonne in the northern part of Burgundy.

Sorry about that.
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Old Nov 21st, 2023, 02:12 PM
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Thanks so much, rhon, for the detailed advice. Will certainly check out the regions you mentioned.
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Old Nov 21st, 2023, 03:37 PM
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Safa, we just rented a house in Vannes and a flat in Quimper. Would recommend both towns. A wide variety of daytrips awaits travelers in both locations. That uncheap Vannes house would be a great place for a month.
Brittany features a winning combo of sea-plus-rural-hinterland.
One can eat really well there!
*Nikki just posted a TR about that same area, as did PGTraveler.

If in Burgundy, Meursault might fit the bill as a quiet, much smaller village.
Good luck.
I am done. the end

Last edited by zebec; Nov 21st, 2023 at 03:41 PM.
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Old Dec 10th, 2023, 12:47 PM
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Hello. try as I might I can't seem to find any lodging in the Loir Valley. Seems like all searches take me to the Loire Valley.

Stumped!

Jordan
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Old Dec 10th, 2023, 01:02 PM
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I just googled "accommodation loir". Google will ask you if you mean "loire" or "loir". The first few matches are for the Loire, because they are sponsored links, but keep going and eventually you will get place names with "Loir".

Additinally on a search for Loir Valley, I found this:

https://www.loir-valley.com/prepare-...-accomodation/

Hope that helps!

Lavandula
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Old Dec 10th, 2023, 01:52 PM
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Safa1, if you like art, the beach town Collioure might be of interest. Montpellier is a college town about two hours away.

Please share what you decide to do.
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Old Dec 10th, 2023, 03:08 PM
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Why not try the lower Rhone Valley? Wonderful wines, historic villages, olives to taste, markets to visit...you get the idea.
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Old Dec 11th, 2023, 12:27 AM
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google maps is also a powerful tool.

find the area you are interested in and search on hotel, gite, B&B etc. Red dots appear
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Old Dec 25th, 2023, 09:11 PM
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Thanks, Underhill. Any suggestions in Rhone Valley?
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Old Dec 26th, 2023, 10:48 AM
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You betcha! Near the small town of Dieulefit--nice little stores for browsing, perhaps picking up some of the local yellow pottery--is the perched village of Le Poët-Laval. It was once a stronghold of the Knights of Malta, and now you will find a delightful small hotel/restaurant called Les Hospitaliers. It was originally opened by a couple from Paris, the Morins, who were antique dealers. While they operated the hotel they built a below-ground concert/exhibition hall; once we were lucky enough to see a Dufy exhibit with paintings from private collections. Their son was the chef and his wife the restaurant hostess. I remember the evenings out on the terrace, looking down at the valley with only pin-point car lights in the distance to show we weren't alone in the universe. The operation is now run by the son.

The nearby largeish town of Montélimar is known for its nougat and makes for a pleasant visit. One can visit various candy-makers and see the sights in a town where Napoleon stopped on his way up to Paris.
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Old Dec 26th, 2023, 11:18 AM
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Biloburgler, I am getting more interested in Loir Valley. Thanks for pointing it out to me. (The other contender is Burgundy.) I looked up the small village of La Chartre-sur-le-Loir, and it seems like the kind of place I will enjoy. Any suggestions for other villages to stay, where I will have a good local village center and few restaurants and shops, and within, say, an hour to somewhat bigger or fancier villages with better restaurants(I love good food, and got spoiled in Provence this year!)
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Old Dec 26th, 2023, 07:18 PM
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Safa, we are off the beaten path travelers and really enjoy small towns and villages. We don't necessarily spend much time in them, but we can usually find a few places of interest. We tried to like La Chartre sur Loir but we didn't, I'm sorry to say. We did buy good sandwiches there but couldn't find any place scenic to eat them so we moved on.

This is a tough area to find decent lodging and restaurants.

When you first posted your question I thought of two of our favorite areas, the Mayenne near Laval and the Perche. Neither of these areas is well known but the scenery is beautiful and there are lots of good restaurants in both places. There's plenty to do and see without driving too far. There's a walking and biking path running alongside the Mayenne river that is one of the reasons we keep going back there.

I think Loches was recommended above and I would second that. It's a beautiful area with a lot of interesting villages nearby, and of course if you are interested in chateaux there are plenty in the area.
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Old Dec 26th, 2023, 10:12 PM
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Thanks, Coquelicot - that's very helpful. I do prefer much smaller villages, so I am thinking Chartre may work (less than an hour to Tours, good restaurants, presumably) for me, but I am going to check Loches and Perche as well.
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