Itinerary Loire/ Bourgogne requested

Apr 26th, 1999, 12:46 PM
  #1  
Kavey
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Itinerary Loire/ Bourgogne requested

Hi All

I am going to France at the end of August to attend a friend's wedding in Noyon, near Compiegne. I would like to spend the week after the wedding driving around an area of France which is famed for good food and wine and things to see.

I am yet to decide between concentrating on the Loire or on Bourgogne (Burgundy). My hubby is keen on French red wines and we both enjoy good gourmet food, (I hate wine myself, much as I try I just can't develop a taste for any of it) so we need an itinerary which doesn't solely focus on wine.

If anyone has enjoyed driving trips in either of these areas I would be grateful for any information and advice you could share with me.

We will come in to France via Calais, start the holiday in Compiegne and finish at Calais, so I need to factor in travel time for this as well.

Thank you.

P.s.
I notice many of you talk about Karen Brown and Steve ???'s travel guides. Could you give me more info as I am not sure they are available/ known in the UK.


 
Apr 26th, 1999, 01:01 PM
  #2  
Dawn
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Between the 2 choices, I'd pick the Loire Valley. Check out some books on either place, and then make a decision. There is much to do in the Loire Valley.
 
Apr 26th, 1999, 01:14 PM
  #3  
Kavey
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Hi There

Are there any books you could recommend?

Also have you taken a holiday in the Loire, perhaps you could share your stops, favourite places and tips?

Thanks again
 
Apr 26th, 1999, 01:25 PM
  #4  
Dawn
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I traveled there with my husband last year. There are many Castles & Chateaus in theis region. Chartes is a beautiful city, with a spectacular church. I travel every year to Europe, and about 3 months before I go, I go to the library and check out books on that country, and different regions within that country. I read as much as I can, and find the places that interest me and my husband, and then I make a decision about where to go. This year we spent 4 days in Normandy, going to the WWII Beaches, etc., and then a day at Mont. St. Michel. My only suggestion is to get some books and start reading.
 
Apr 26th, 1999, 01:33 PM
  #5  
Kavey
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Thanks for your replies, much appreciated.

In terms of books the reason I started hunting on the web, and happily found this site, is mainly because I am having a really hard time finding any good relevant books which could help me.

I think the difficulty is that libraries here are seriously underfunded so there is usually a small and inadequate section on travel, and even the major bookshops have been disappointing.

If anyone has any specific books to recommend perhaps you could provide titles, authors and ISBN numbers and I will see if I can order them here in the UK. If not I could try Amazon online or something....
 
Apr 26th, 1999, 02:52 PM
  #6  
wes fowler
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Kavey,
There is an organization "Les Cuisiniers et Hoteliers de Metier" comprised of a number of chefs who decided to offer the public high quality meals based upon regional French dishes. There are almost ninety restaurants in France that are members of the organization. One is in Compiegne. It's the Hostellerie du Royal Lieu, it's chef Angelo Bonechi, it's address 9 rue de Senlis 60200, tel: 44 20 10 24, FAX: 44 86 82 27. We have had superb meals there in a lovely restaurant overlooking the inn's colorful garden. The organization publishes a guide listing all of the restaurants with photographs, maps, directions, contacts and menu specialties. It's available from:

M. Lozay,
Responsable du Guide Cuisiniers et Hoteliers de Metier,
Hotel du Chateau de Beaulieu,
Route de l'Epend,
37300 Joue-les-Tours
Tel: 47 53 20 26
Fax: 47 53 84 20

I hope your French is passable; mine is not. Here are directions, in French, for securing a copy of the guide: Pour receivoir gratuitement le guide ou la carte, envoyez une envelope grand format (11x22) portant votre adresse, timbree a 15.00F et, pour etranger, envoyez 3 coupons reponses internationaux. If I've figured out the French, you should send an oversized envelope with three international postal coupons, available from your post office, to M. Lozay at the above address.
 
Apr 26th, 1999, 06:11 PM
  #7  
Michael
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Kavey,
While the Loire Valley IS a good choice, let me put my two cents in for the Burgundy region. My partner and I took the train from Paris to Beaune. Beaune is the very center of wine trading in the Burgundy region and even if wine is not high on your list of favorite things, the business of wine can be very interesting. Beaune, inside its walls, is a picturesque city with the famous Hotel-Dieu as a prime attraction. We stayed at the Hotel des Remparts and liked it very much. It could never be confused with an American hotel which is fine with me; fairly small and family run. We picked up a car in Beaune and drove around the countryside. Of course, there are the multitudes of wineries you could visit; but this part of France has many attractions from the Middle Ages. We especially enjoyed visiting Vezelay, to the north and Cluny to the south. You can also spend a day in Dijon which has many attractions. If you both do enjoy good food, you can be assured that Burgundy will provide it for you. We ate in mostly smaller restaurants, but everywhere we went the food was quite good. I think this area may be more convenient to you if you are arriving and departing via Calais; you can drive through Reims on your way down or back.
Whichever destination you decide upon, have a wonderful time.
 
Apr 27th, 1999, 08:31 AM
  #8  
Kavey
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Thanks for all your responses, I will def send off for the guide and the restaurant in Compiegne is on my list now.

If anyone has any good books to recommend I am popping to a larger bookshop this weekend and can order ones not stocked if you have any particularly useful ones to mention?

 
Apr 27th, 1999, 08:36 AM
  #9  
Dawn
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I believe the Loire Valley also has a website, try www.loirevalley.com, if not, do a search on the web.
 
Apr 27th, 1999, 08:38 AM
  #10  
jeanne
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Hi!

I think one of the guids ou might want for the Loire is the eyewitness guide-it has great photos and gives you a lot of info on the various chateaux so that you can choose among them. Also, I think one guide you may be refering to is the Rick Steve guides-he has a number now.

A suggestion-besides searching this site for info on the Loire and Burganday, go to Amazon.com and search for guide books for those regions. You can print them off and see if you find them locally-if not, you could break down and buy them on-line but I am sure the mailing could be pricey. I am pretty sure, however, that Amazon has a UK "outlet" now.

have fun!
 
Apr 27th, 1999, 10:35 AM
  #11  
wes fowler
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Kavey,
Here's a followup to my earlier note and and a seconding of Michael's recommendation regarding the area of France around Beaune. Route du Vin, the Alsatian Wine Trail, runs west from Marienheim (west of Strasbourg) via Obernai and Colmar to Thann (west of Mulhouse) on Route 422. It passes through picturesque Alsatian wine villages and there are many opportunities for wine tasting and wine purchases.

There is a hotel/restaurant just off the ring road 4km west of Colmar called Auberge du Pere Floranc. Its listed in "Les Cuisiniers et Hoteliers de Metier" the guidebook of restaurants that feature high quality meals based on local dishes that I mentioned in my early note. It is at 9 rue Herzog - 68920 Wettolsheim. Telephone: 89.80.79.14: Fax: 89.79.77.00.

Route 74 running just south of Dijon and paralleling the Route E1 autobahn and passing through Chenove, Brochon, Nuits St. Georges, Pommard, Santenay among other villages, is one of the interesting routes that passes through the Cote d/Or, a major wine growing area of Burgundy.

In Colombey les deux Eglises, a small historical town just west of Chaumont on Route 19 there's another charming country inn, Auberge de la Montagne It's at Rue d'Argentolles - 52330 Colombey-les-deux-Eglises. telephone: 25.01.51.69
Fax: 25.01.53.20. It, too, has a gourmet regional restuarant.


You'll see many signs for wine tasting and tours on the roads as you drive south of Dijon. Look for the word "degustation" and you'll find wine tasting opportunities. Many of the wineries require advance reservations. Here's a few that don't. They are all located in Dijon or in towns just south of Dijon.

Dijon: Caves de l'Espace Grevin, 13 Avenue Albert 1er. Open daily.
Tastings in the cellar beneath the city's waxworks museum.

Beaune: Cave des Cordeliers, 6 Rue de l'Hotel-Dieu. Open daily. Tastings
in a Franciscan friars abbey.

Beaune: Marche aux Vins, Rue Nicolas Rollin. Open daily. Wine-tasting
cellar in front of the Hospices.

Beaune: Patriarche Pere et Fils, 7 Rue du College. The largest cellars in
Burgundy.

Nuit-St-Georges: Morin Pere et Fils, 9 Quai Fleury. Open daily. An 18th
century cellar.

It's rare to find a wine bargain in Burgundy; expect to pay 40 to 50 francs for a bottle, minimum. (Perhaps you can settle for a jar or two of pate.) As an alternative, consider this: France has 14 secondary schools that train young people how to plant, grow,
ferment, age and bottle wine. There is such a school in Beaune, just south of Dijon. It is the Lycee Viticole, 16 Avenue Charles Jaffelin. From 8 AM to noon and 2PM to 5:30 (closed on Saturday afternoon and Sunday) you can taste and purchase the excellent, relatively inexpensive wines made by the students as part of their studies. Cellar visits are also possible. There are free 2 1/2 hour guided tours (in French) on certain Saturday mornings at 9:30 AM. Telephone 03 80 26 35 81 for details.

One final recommendation. There is a series of books called "Insight Guides", published by APA Publishing, Singapore, that should be available in a major bookstore. There is an "Insight Guide to Burgundy" loaded with information and superb photos. Look, too, for the Baedecker guide to France and any of the regional Michelin guides.
 
Apr 27th, 1999, 10:53 AM
  #12  
Helen
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On the topic of guidebooks -- I looked at many before a recent trip to Paris & the Loire (God bless the Queensborough Public Library!) For the Loire we used the gorgeous Eyewitness Guide, and the Michelin green guide to Chateaux of the Loire. The latter is dreary to look at, but much more informative about the sites themselves. Sure, color pix are sexy, but when you're in a castle and wondering what the deal is, just give me the facts, ma'am. I vote for Michelin.
 
Apr 27th, 1999, 12:01 PM
  #13  
cherie
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We rented a Renault Safrane (roughly the size our my Audi 100 if thats any help) and drove from Paris to the Loire via Vendome, etc. Chartes Cathedral is wonderful, I agree. We stayed at the Chateau d' Chissay in Chissay en Tourraine for roughly the same price as a hotel room for two in San Germaine in Paris. The difference was that in the hotel in San G. we were cramped; at the wonderful, romantic chateau we had a suite, invisible maid service and a fantastic restaurant that treated you like kings. From Chissay en Tourraine you are quite near many other chateaus and sites and can make daily jaunts to see Chambord, Amboise and Clos Luce where Leonardo DaVinci lived; the wonderful chateau of the finance minister who ended up in jail because his place was nicer than the kings...., you can travel up to castles where Jean D'Arc recognized the real king....I would advise forgetting the travel books and getting out the history books and tour castles from feudal times with dungeons and towers up until less fortresslike chateaus built for entertaining and you will appreicate Versailles and Fountainbleu.....Or travel through Barbizon to see where the school of painters left the city to paint clearer skys and pastoral scenes, and then to Reims for some Champagne and sample the brie....and maybe to see Le Raton at EuroDisneyland if you have kids. The highways are the cleanest I have seen so far. The roads utilize turn circles for exits (no problem if you grew up in Washington, DC) and the highway patrol use BMWs (gotta love them). Have fun, it'll be a great trip.
There's a book available at most of the Chateaus that has lovely pics of all of them for a great souvenir.
 
Apr 27th, 1999, 12:06 PM
  #14  
cherie
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It doesn't look it, but I forgot something! It you travel via Mulhouse, as someone else mentioned....go the the Bugatti Museum! I think it's called the Schlumph Museum (the name of the brothers who bought up dozens of Bugattis).
 
Apr 27th, 1999, 12:40 PM
  #15  
Paulo
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Regarding chateaux descriptions, historical insight and tips on the Loire Valley and other regions of France, visit http://home.earthlink.net/~primos/
Paulo

 
Apr 27th, 1999, 01:10 PM
  #16  
Kavey
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My goodness, how lovely to come home to so many kind replies....

With all of your wonderful descriptions I am still torn but leaning towards Loire now. Mainly because I think if we drive drown through Burgundy we will have a much longer journey back to Calais to get home...

Also I love the thought of staying in some of these fantastic chateaux many of you have mentioned.

Luckily my french is fluent as it was what i studied at uni though a little rusty from disuse, though I am sure after attending the wedding of my friend and nattering to all her family again I will get back into it.

I will certainly look for the books you have recommended especially the Eyewitness and Michelin and will send off for the Les Cuisiniers et Hoteliers de Metier guide. I will also look into Baedeker and Insight guides...

I am getting so excited already, and thank you all for your help and advice. I have copied this into an info document into which I am bunging all the little tips and sites and things I find.

I will also keep an eye out on this forum from now on!!

As I live in London, feel free to ask me any questions, I don't promise answers but I will try.

/<a
 
Apr 27th, 1999, 02:52 PM
  #17  
KT
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If you want lots of information about art, architecture, and history, you might want the Blue Guides. I know that they've published guides to both the Loire Valley and Burgundy since 1990 (not sure how recently they've been updated), and they're definitely available in England, since they're originally a British series. Warning: they're usually quite dry to read, packed with info but not much exciting guidebook prose; they're often described as "encyclopedic." Some new editions are more chatty and user-friendly, with a corresponding loss in detail.
 
May 3rd, 1999, 11:02 AM
  #18  
Kavey
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Hello Again!

Back home after a nice weekend in Lille (except for the food poisoning and the Lille metro system which scared the **** out of me)

I have purchased Eyewitness and Insight guides to the Loire Valley, both are great. The shop didnt have the Green Michelin guide to Loire but had all the other regions so I think it was just out of stock.

Now I need to refine my questioning a little:

Would you recommend settling in one hotel for the 6 nights and doing day trips out or would you recommend moving hotel say every 2 nights? This is my big question. I am not kken to get into the whole unpack/ repack scenario but don't want to restrict what we can do either. Having said that we are not the kind of people who when we visit a chateaux spend hours there going though all the history and checking what each room was, rather just soak up the beauty and feel of it for a while...

I would like to stay in some special hotels, particularly looking into the Chateaux Hotels, and going to try and get hold of that Relais Chateaux guide.

Any new recommendations would be much appreciated. The books are great, but it makes it even harder to decide what to see, where to stay.

I would blame it on being a LIbra but I dont really believe in all that... ;-)
 
May 3rd, 1999, 02:39 PM
  #19  
Paulo
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The Loire Valley and neighbor region is quite small. Just about all the castles and towns worth visiting are within a circle of 80km radius, centered in Tours (Saumur, Chinon, Azay le Rideau, Langeais, Villandry, Loches, Chenonceau, Valenšay, Amboise, Cheverny, Blois, Chambord, St. Dye sur Loire, Beaugency, Vend˘me, etc.). Although a bit tiring, even Chartres may be visited on a day tour (driving time along the circuit Tours-Vend˘me-Chartres-Orleans-Tours should take 5 hours).
Since I'm not that fond of packing and unpacking, I would certainly stay 5 nights in one place ... If you're interested in Orleans and Chartres maybe a hotel near Orleans would be called for the last night.
If you haven't yet, do visit Jack's Loire Valley page at

http://home.earthlink.net/~primos/

It's really outstanding with a lot of historical insight, comments on food and wine, walking tour suggestions, etc). Once it appears you haven't got the Blue Guide for the Loire Valley (IMO best regarding historical insight and descriptions, though quite arid with the small letter print and no pictures), Jack's site may come as a very nice free complement to the guides you've already got.

Paulo

 
May 4th, 1999, 01:37 PM
  #20  
Kavey
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Great, thanks Paulo.

I have cut/paste all the info I have found on this forum into a document, and many of you have mentioned chateaux you have loved.

If you were staying in one hotel the whole 5 or 6 nights, which would be the one place from your visits that you would recommend?

Also, how does one get hold of the Relais and Chateaux book, their website has no way of emailing them to ask?

Also is it possible to alter the titl;e of a thread once started to better reflect the current topics?
 

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