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Help! screwed up big time: trying to make the best of situation in Loire/Cher valley

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Aug 26th, 2003, 12:31 PM
  #1
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Help! screwed up big time: trying to make the best of situation in Loire/Cher valley

Booked myself a 4 night stay at Chateau de la Commanderie which I thought was near Chateau Villandry, but not so by many2 miles which was brought to my notice on an earlier post. I am committed, so please send some ideas of what I can do around this area near Bourges for 4 days with a car, without driving more than 11/2 hours to the sights. I am heading to Loire after a Burgundy canal trip. We like vineyards and can see some famous Chateaux after the 4 night stay. Thanks.
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Aug 26th, 2003, 12:36 PM
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If near Bourges, the town itself is worth a visit. Go see the cathedral and the house of Jacques Coeur. Near Bourges, but perhaps in the wrong direction, is La Borne, a village of potters. North of Bourges, on the Loire, is the château de Sully known for its roof carpentry.
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Aug 26th, 2003, 12:42 PM
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Thanks Micheal for your suggestions. Know any great restaurants or charcuterie in Bourges or nearby?
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Aug 26th, 2003, 01:42 PM
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I don't know where this Chateau/hotel is but if near Bourges, it seems to me all is not lost.

1. Bourges Cathedral is one of the marvels of the Gothic Age. Be thankful that you'll get this opportunity to experience it. As Michael says, the town is nice too.

2. Loches is not too far and it is well worth the visit. On the road to Loches is Valencay, with its chateau and then there's Montresor, one of the prettiest villages around.

3. Hopping on the nearby Autoroute, you'll quickly be to Montrichard, Chenonceaux and Amboise.

There's three days; you screwed up small-time; now make the best of it!
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Aug 26th, 2003, 02:03 PM
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I was far more impressed and awed by Bourges Cathedral (Saint Etienne) than by Notre Dame (some may consider this heresy....just honest truth). I spent some time in Bourges and loved this beautiful town with the timbered houses, medieval squares and layout. Th town is lovely to walk around. On our way from Paris to Bourges, we stopped at Sully-- definitely worth a stop, it was where Joan of Arc was taken to and interrogated the first time she was arrested. The small village can be reach by walking from the Chateau de Sully and it was lovely as well.
 
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Aug 26th, 2003, 02:15 PM
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Oh yes, Maira - Sully-sur-Loire is a beautiful moated chateau! Also, near there is St Benoit, with its early Romanesque abbey, where one can sit in whilst the monks celebrate service in the crypt.

There's 4 days, tangwah!
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Aug 26th, 2003, 02:15 PM
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Why not rent a car?
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Aug 26th, 2003, 02:17 PM
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Gretchen-she has a car rented....
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Aug 26th, 2003, 03:00 PM
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Boy, thanks a lot for all the suggestions, I feel much better already. I will get back with my experience after my trip.
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Aug 26th, 2003, 03:04 PM
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TuckHarvey, I've read your other posts, sounds like you had a great time in France.
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Aug 26th, 2003, 07:20 PM
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When I was in Montlucon this April/May I was asked several times if I were British. I was a little unsure due to the war but I would answer that I was from the US. I kept getting the "what the h*ll are you doing here?" look and question. Not in any ugly way, but people not believing that I would actually go to that part of France. It seems that the vast majority of the few English speaking people in that area are staying over night on their way from the UK to the south of France. I liked not continuously bumping into Americans like I do in Paris. Nothing against Americans, but I can meet them at home a whole lot more cheaply.

That's what I love about getting away from Paris. It seems to me people think Europe is nothing more than Paris, London, Rome & Venice.

With a car you'll be able to go to Bourges and a couple of the chateau on the south side of the Loire. Keep digging and find a few local things. E-mail your hotel and ask when local market days are and where they're located. Cheese and wine seems to be made everywhere in France. Ask your hotel if they can arrange a goat cheese or wine tour at a nearby farm or vineyard. You'll be close to the Auvergne region. Make sure you try Forme Ambert blue cheese, Cantal cheese and St. Nectaire cheese.

Here are a couple of nearby towns.

St Amand-Montrond
http://www.tourisme.fr/office-de-tou...rond-orval.htm This is in French but it mentions an old town area, a 12th century abbey and church and a 13th century fortress.

Culan
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/ot.culan The view of the castle on their home page is enough to make me want to spend an afternoon there.

This is the French Tourism map. I've clicked on a few of these nearby towns and their websites. Some of them are in English.
http://www.tourisme.fr/carte/carte-departement-cher.htm

I mentioned on your other thread that with my stay in Courtalain that it got slow, but I was by myself. If you're with your SO it can be a bottle of Chinon red wine, a baguette, a half pound of foie gras and a half pound of goat cheese you've picked up at a market that day. Add some candlelight and you'll have a couple of wonderful evenings at a gorgeous hotel.
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Aug 27th, 2003, 04:17 AM
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tangwah, thanks for your remark. I'm glad my enthusiasm gets through (and I enjoy sharing it).

With your canal trip and the stay in this outstanding hotel, I'm sure you're going to have a great time too.

I look forward to your report when you return!
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Aug 27th, 2003, 04:33 AM
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Hey tangwah,

Looks like you lucked out.
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Aug 27th, 2003, 06:41 AM
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Thanks all. I am really overwhelmed by the helpful responses. Thanks Indy for finding out stuff for me, and Maira for your suggestions. I've been reading my Lonely planet (not much there) and DK Eyewitness (better), and did some google search too, but all the suggestions are most welcomed.
I was on a Burgundy barge cruise last April (different canal this time) and everyone on board had a great time, I still keep in touch with one couple who lives in Baltimore. Highly recommended, esp since there are many great deals to be had these days.
I am curious, Indytravel, what were you doing in Montlucon?
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Aug 27th, 2003, 07:08 AM
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Tangwah, you're just like all those French people in the Central Massif who kept asking me and my Dad that very same question.

This was a two week trip designed around rail travel for my Dad. He worked a few years for the railroad here in the US in the fifties and really likes to travel by train. So two of my requirements were never be on a train for more than 3 hours at a time (for my sake) and stay in places with rail connections for other towns. That's how I ended up looping through Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand (day trip to Le Mont Dore) and Montlucon (day trip to Gueret) along with stays in Le Puy-en-Velay and Ales to set up other rail trips.

Montlucon served another purpose as a break before Paris. A time for my Dad to rest and for us to do laundry. I had another rail day trip planned from Montlucon to Moulins, but Dad decided he would rather hang around Montlucon another day and not do too much. So of the 3 nights we stayed in Montlucon we should have only been there the afternoon we arrived, two late evenings and the morning we departed. Since we dropped a day trip we had an extra full day there. Sipping wine at a couple of cafes, watching the world go by and wondering the pedestrian area around the chateau was extremely pleasant even in Montlucon.

I'm glad you had a great time on your last barge trip. I'm sure you'll have a excellent time this trip too.
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Aug 27th, 2003, 07:31 AM
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How nice to travel with your dad. I eurailed before thru the Loire Valley too, 20 years ago while an undergraduate. I remember bicycling in Blois, that must have been my trip's highlight cos that's mainly what I remember. So hopefully some other memories will return when I revisit Loire after 20 years. Wish I had a digital camera then. it'll be my husband's first trip to Loire.
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