Kavey's Diary of Loire

Old Sep 13th, 1999, 11:30 AM
  #1  
Kavey
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Kavey's Diary of Loire

Rough Notes from Kavey's Holiday to France 27 August to 4th September

I have just typed this as a memory jogger with a few recommendations and descriptions for Fodorites thrown in. Please forgive me as I am not as witty and accomplished a writer as others who have posted diaries recently.

Friday 27
Drove to Folkestone to get HoverSpeed Seacat to Buologne. From Boulogne enjoyed pleasant drive to the home of my friend Agnes' parents in Porquericourt. Am a little surprised at quite how much the tolls are - not used to these in UK. Seacats are really looking the worse for wear. We wondered if they had raided some kind of junk yard for old planes and lifted all the seating from there. Ah well, only 1 hour across.

Ages was my school French Exchange partner. As I studied a BA Hons in French I had plenty of reason to go and stay again and again with her lovely family and she and her boyfriend have also come over to us in the years since.
It's the big day tomorrow. (Pronounced AnnYes). Everyone in mad rush preparing for the wedding...
Thrown a pile of white gauze ribbons and big ribbon bows and told to decorate our car. Very confused - in England we only decorate the Bride's car, in France all cars are spruced up... My french starts coming back during the evening meal, typical french family affair, about 15 of us around the table, hours long!! Poor Pete, only non French speaker!

Saturday 28
Day of wedding. Drive to Town Hall in Noyon, few miles away. Slow convoy of cars. The ceremony itself is far more informal and brief than UK ceremony (even our civil ones include the stuff about taking the person in sickness and in health etc). She looks beautiful and Sylvain looks very dashing…
Best bit next, about 30 cars in a convoy drive at 5 - 10 miles an hour all the way back to village hall, hazard lights on, horns tooted all the way. And everyone we pass toots back!! This is new to me and apparenly a strong tradition... I loved it...
Many of her extended family of Aunts and Uncles and dozens of cousins seem to remember me from when I visited 10 yrs ago and are really welcoming - very touched.
Drinks for all guests in town hall for few hours and informal photos outside. Some guests depart. Family and closer friends take a slower and even more raucous convoy to a main hall in Thiescourt for evening meal. Starts at 8 with starters, then a couple of hours disco, then main meal and a couple of hours disco, cheese course about 1am, more dancing, Pete gives up and sleeps in the car at 2am but since no one else has left (over 100 guests including grannies) I don't feel we can duck out. Wedding cake at 3am after which we give up and head back to the house!!! Apparently party goes on till 5.30… the French know how to celebrate!!

...
 
Old Sep 13th, 1999, 11:31 AM
  #2  
Kavey
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Sunday 29
Another meal for wedding guests at lunch time before we make our farewells and set off for Loire. Takes us 3 hours to Blois on AutoRoutes before we come off onto the N152 and drive the rest of the way (2 hours) at the edge of the stunning Loire arriving at our Chateau near Saumur at 8.30.
Chateau de Beaulieu, Rue Montsureau, Saumur
Narrow entrance onto gravel drive around pretty lawn, to façade of lovely old chateau built in light tufa stone. (I would call this a stately home rather than a castle). Space to park under trees at left, so cars parked in cool shade.
Downstairs is the entrance, lounge, billiard room (but the table has no pockets which is odd!) and also the family sitting/ TV room. Then the dining room and a huge old kitchen at the end.
Upstairs are all the bedrooms, I peeked in quite a few as they were being cleaned and they all look gorgeous.
Ours = Suite Louis XIII. A large open room with immensely high ceilings. Decorated in old french way but not too formal to feel comfy. Mainly dark rich reds and airy whites and creams. Dominated by a large fourposter bed, with a weird mattress which we think is feather filled rather than sprung but is suprisingly very comfortable. Also in the room are two chairs, a table, a side board and a huge armoire (wardrobe).
And 4 huge windows.
Off the room is a large bathroom in white tile with blue. There is a big bath with hand held shower, a WC and sink and a big marble and wood stand. Provided are robes, two large bath towels, two small towels, hairdryer and tea making facilities and ingredients. If you like more towels bring your own.
There is another huge window which looks out on the back of the chateau. You can bathe with the windows flung wide open, looking out onto greenery, quiet and private.
There is then a last room which is a single bedroom with sink. We used this for the case and all our clothes, shoes etc.
There are seven large windows altogether most of which when opened still offer total privavy, slightly less if people are in the pool, but with so few guests at any time this isnt often.
In the back garden is the terrace area, the fountain and the pool, which is clean with comfy loungers and shade umbrella.
Breakfast is good, bread, croissants and a range of brioche and toasts, frechly cooked egges (there is a little steamer machine so you cook your own), fruit salads and juices and compotes, yoghurts, jams etc.
Andrea is more than happy to recommend and book restaurants and stocks a large range of tourist leaflets for your use in the reception area.
With free reign of the house are the two lovely cats (persian I think, they look like longer haired siamese) and there are also lovely dogs but they arent allowed quite so free range! One cat insisted on coming into our room with us one morning after breakfast and leapt up onto the sink and mewed at me until I filled the soapdish with water an let it drink!!!
When we arrived we had a simple, well cooked meal at La Bourse (quick, but little ambience) in Saumur.

 
Old Sep 13th, 1999, 11:31 AM
  #3  
same
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Monday 30
Visited the Trogolodyte caves in Louresse-Rochemenier - a whole farming village laid out as it used to be with old tools and furniture. Interesting to see, about hjalf hour drive from chateau, took about 1-2 hours there.
Then drove along part of the Route Touristique de Vignobles or something which passes through a large number of tiny villages and many vineyards, where you would be welcome to stop, taste and buy wine.
Had lunch at Le Bureau in Saumur. Does nice pizzas and Flammekeuches. More a bistri than restaurant, part of a chain.
Then went to the Mushroom Caves, along the road from the chateau in the direction of Montsureau, the ones where there is a giant stone mushroom above the place on the cliff. Very interesting but not a live site so not huge abundances of mushrooms. (People not allowed in real caves where they grow them because of germs we carry).
Recommended restaurants closed so found a restaurant called Les Pecheurs on the road from the chateau in the direction of Montsureau. Looks nothing fancy and has linited menus but is very tasty. Cooked by hubby Jacques and service by wife Dominique. Ridiculous prices - 79 FF for 4 course menu and the food was good. No fancy foie gras but the Feuillete de Rillette was gorgeous, so was the Bavette a L'Echalote (steak in Shallots) with reasonable cheeses and simple desserts. The homemade Clafoutis was lovely. Infact we liked this so much we ate there 3 nights, including our wedding anniversary (Dominique even put a rose on the table!)
This restaurant we later found is featured in the guide Le Petit Renaud. (If you go please send regards from Pete and Kavita Favelle, english couple who celebrated their wedding annversary with them 3rd September 1999)

Tuesday 31
Drove to Bourgeuil for Tue market, just to walk around it. Then drove out for vineyards as Pete had enjoyed wine from here before. In first vineyard (Breton) nr Restigny we stopped at, Pete tasted 2 and bought only 1 bottle. Nothing amazing but nice enough. When we stopped at the second up the road, we were in luck. (Chevalerie). Monsieur Caslet was just about to start a tasting for a group who had arrived and invited us to join. Fifteen different wines later (including a few older special bottles) we had discovered the group were good friends of his who owned local restaurants and were doing the annual taste/ buy. This was one and a hlaf hours later and they were still moving on so we said out thanks, brought a case of 12 and went on our way.
Stopped for lunch at a simple restaurant in La Chapelle sur Loire before taking a very very minor road to Villandry (at one stage it turned into dusty cobbled path!!).
Loved Villandry. Didn't bother with ticket for inside as neither of us into old furniture and tapestries but spent hours in the garden. There was also a craft exhibition/ sale in a little room in the grounds where I bought another eggcup for my collection.
Came home and spent hot late afternoon and evening by the lovely pool.
Ate in a Creperie/ Pizzeria in Saumur, just around the corner from L'Atmosphere restaurant, please ask for addresses if you need.
 
Old Sep 13th, 1999, 11:32 AM
  #4  
Kavey
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Wednesday 1
Went to Angers via the Route Touristique but it was so hot we didn't have strength to wonder around much. Had lunch in a creperie just off the central square, could fine name if asked, was very nice. Spent a long afternoon cooling down by the pool.
Evening found a high road in Saumur up near the castle which had truly fab views of rover Loire.
Are at Les Pecheurs.

Thursday 2
Route de Vignoble towards Anjou but got lost!
Had lunch in Montreuil sur Bellay and drove around pretty area before a couple of hours by pool (so hot in afternoons needed to cool down).
Ate in lovely restau in Saumer called L'Atmosphere, which specialises in it's own Foie Gras and does a good range of dishes at good prices. We didn't have the menu gastronomique as not hungry enough but it looked devine with so much on it!

Friday 3
Amboise, saunter around, lunch at Creperie Anne de Bretagn just by entrance to castle. Follow signs to free parking in Chateau car park. Good location and nearly empty and free.
Then went to wander around Chateau de Bordaisiere where the prince has created a giant allotment with over 400 species of tomatoes. Only 25FF entry for jardins and quite interesting and not far from Chenonceau/ Amboise.
Celebrated our anniversary at Les Pecheurs.

Saturday 4
Sad to leave the wonderful chateau. Set off at 10am. stopped at this immense supermarket at Le Mans for wine, cheese etc. Came back to flat tyre in carpark. Changed tyre. YUK! Several hours drive to Boulogne, had a truly good meal at St Jules in Boulogne before crossing the channel and driving home.

Most of my photos are done so at some point I promise to scan them in for you.

Sorry this isnt very scintillating - I only jotted down a few lines each night...

Kavey
 
Old Sep 13th, 1999, 12:21 PM
  #5  
Sheila
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Brilliant notes, Kavey. I haven't been for 20 years. Must have been great.
Thanks for sharing -))
 
Old Sep 13th, 1999, 01:49 PM
  #6  
cherie
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Loved your notes. Funny how everyone seems to fall into the Ann d'Bretagne Creperie! We did, too. Sounds like it was a perfect anniversary trip. -Cher
 
Old Sep 13th, 1999, 03:17 PM
  #7  
Mary
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Kavey: I really enjoyed reading your notes. That is one area of France we have not yet explored and you made it seem most interesting. Thanks for sharing.
 
Old Sep 14th, 1999, 08:05 AM
  #8  
lisa
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Kavey -- Thanks for sharing your impressions. I especially enjoyed reading about the wedding! Can you give us a rough idea about how much your accommodations at Chateau de Beaulieu cost, how you booked, etc.?
 
Old Sep 14th, 1999, 06:53 PM
  #9  
debbie
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Kav- so nice to relive Andrea's Chateau de Beaulieu since we were there only two weeks before! You are so lucky you had good weather as we had cool 16 degrees and lots of clouds and rain! It put off our montgolfiere many times! Think the cats are Persian and bet the same one followed you as came into our room and slept into bathtub. Had to kick it out when we went to dinner. This cat, however, was blond/ orange colored and slightly long haired.
Also agree it is not a chateau and we also noticed no holes in pool table! Everything else you described was what we experienced, except the covered pool! Did you ask Andrea about us? I am sure she would remember us. Wedding sounded like a blast! Glad your trip to Loire was as delightful as ours. Too bad we did not know each other when we booked our airline flight back in December '98! Would have been great to meet at Andrea's!
 
Old Sep 22nd, 1999, 11:37 AM
  #10  
Kavey
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Hi

I booked the chateau via email, with one phone call just to give my credit card number after the booking was agreed.

The cost was only 500FF for the two of us for the large suite I described including breakfast for two. The other double rooms all looked beautiful and of a good size and were silly money (so cheap) - I think only 300 to 400FF per night per room!

Debbie I said hello from you and Andrea said hello back...

When I say it was not a chateau - dont be off put. It IS a chateau as the french translate. In England however we tend to think of buildings like that one as stately homes or mansions and think of castles when we hear the word chateau.

Debbie, I answered a post about ballooning today and mentioned you - someone wants details of the trip you did with France Montgolfieres...

I still havent scanned anything in, too busy organsising my social life. Have a bit of a worry at the moment as I have to fit in 3 resort visits over next few weeks for work and my weekends are booked whih means I am going to have anightmare finding flights!
 

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