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

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

Old Jul 19th, 2014, 01:38 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 356
Villeneuve has a lively market on Friday which fills the halles and spills into the streets. We bought two paupiettes de dinde for dinner and they were delicious. After a coffee, we set out to explore the nearby Pays d'Othe area. It is lovely country - more wheat fields and pretty villages which still show buildings with intricate brickwork. Aix en Othe has a church with painted ceilings and 18C halles. We bought some local cider which was very nice and some choucroute in Pays d'Othe cider. It was the perfect accompaniment the next night with some smoky Montbeliard sausages. We had a picnic lunch overlooking the church in Villemaur sur Vanne. It has an interesting ' jube en bois ' which is a tiered tower where the whole roof of each tower is covered with small wooden tiles , for want of a better description. Very different. We stopped in Villeneuve l'Archeveque which is an attractive town.

It was a very hazy day when we went to Provins and there were a lot of school groups visiting. The ramparts are large and well preserved in places. We climbed to the top of the Tour Cesar and visited the Tithe Barn. We enjoyed our visit, but I think to get more out of a visit to Provins you probably need to do some of the shows that are available.

In 2010 we passed through the town of Toucy and it stayed in my mind. One day we drove down with a couple of stops before Toucy. It is a really nice town. We look at places with a view to would we like to stay around here and , yes, we would. It has an attractive centre with shops and cafes and an impressive fortified church in dark brown stone. we stopped in nearby Dracy, another pretty village with a chateau and small church. We had a very nice lunch in the lively village of Charny which has interesting halles. A very nice day.

Only a couple of days left before the end of our holiday. We decided to visit Chablis which is a pleasant place to wander for a time- a large lavoir, a lot of wine caveaux, some attractive old buildings. The river Serein flows through the town. It is very obviously a working wine town. As we were having coffee, several tractors with spraying equipment drove through town. We then followed a green scenic road down through the vineyards and found a picnic spot with a view of the amphitheatre of vines. As we drove on there were also fields of ripening golden wheat. We had a wonderful view of the wine village of Irancy as we drove in and we stopped at a cave for two last bottles of wine. That night one went well with our last cuisse de canard and the last bulb of Lautrec garlic [ remember me buying that ] roasted and spread on toasted baguette.

A word about food. As I have said, we have a restricted budget and only eat out at the most, twice a week, and then often an inexpensive lunch. But we still have great food at home. Always lots of duck - magret, cuisse, confit, gesiers salads-, great chicken, lovely whole trout, trout fillets, fresh sardines. Wonderful sausages - dense meaty Toulouse, smoky Morteau and Montbeliard from the Jura, delicate boudin blanc, very dry saucisson. Rabbit cooked with prunes and red wine, beef carbonnade with beer and mustard. Charcuterie - lots of terrines in different forms , rillettes , rillons, jambon persillee, mousse de canard, jambon cru. And as for the cheeses - all our favourites. Brie de Meaux, Camembert, a variety of blues, Morbier and Comte from the Jura, Epoisses, Langres . Lovely little goats cheeses from the markets. The list goes on. And some new ones - Soumaintrain from the Yonne, St Maure de Touraine from the Loire, Le Chevrot, Chabichou de Poitou, Trappe d' Echourgnac. Luxury plus in a rich buttery Delice be Bourgogne with some ripe, plump, juicy Yonne cherries and a Cremant de Bourgogne. Bliss. A wonderful variety of patisserie, fromage blanc and fruit coulis for desserts. A fresh baguette every day. Croissants for breakfast a few times. And of course, wine from all the regions . No wonder we brought home a few more kilos!!

There is a very nice restaurant in Villeneuve which we visited twice. The first time we sat inside. P had the, not for the faint- hearted , AAAAA Andouillette [ yes, he knew what he was ordering and enjoyed it ] and I had delicious kidneys in wine sauce. The whole meal, including the cheese trolley was great.

For our last night we visited again. It was a glorious night and we were able to sit outside on the terrace which overlooks the river. Just magic. I had wonderful oysters and P had oeufs meurettes for starters. P had steak tartare [ he said it was delicious. Not for me ] and I had Bar [ sea bass ] en Hirondelle [ barn swallow ] - a whole fish presented in such a way it resembled a swallow in flight. It was a perfact end to our holiday.

We were sad to think our time in France was over, but it was time to go home. We had a wonderful time and really enjoyed the longer stays in places which allowed time to just savour being there. We feel very lucky to be able to travel as we do. I know what we do is not for everyone, but we find it an affordable and relaxing way to go. Last time we felt sad to think we might not be back. This time we feel more content. We are beginning a new stage in our lives. P is about to retire. There will be a new grandchild in the near future. My mother is aging more quickly as the years pass. So who knows what the next few years will bring. But I never say never, because France unexpectedly wove her way into our hearts and one day , hopefully , we will come back.

A Bientot.
rhon is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2014, 01:54 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Rhon, I had fun reading along with you. You write a very nice trip report.

You two travel the way we like to, except that we stay in B&Bs. If we go to Burgundy or the Dordogne, I'll look up this trip report and your other ones to see what you found worth seeing.

We almost crossed paths with you at Chedigny. We went there three times the week before the rose festival, and it was spectacular. The display of roses blew me away every time.

I, for one, hope you do go back to France!
Coquelicot is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2014, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Thank you for posting a beautiful and inspiring description of your travels. You write beautifully. We are planning our first trip to France (outside of Paris, where we spent a week many years ago) in Spring 2015 and I will save your report to help in our planning. I see from the calendar that there are 4 holidays in May. I know that your trip didn't focus so much on visiting "sights" but wonder if they are all closed on the holidays.

Your meals sound delicious. How often did you cook the entire meal vs. buying already prepared items or those that required little preparation? We did some of our own meals on a recent trip to Italy and enjoyed that.

How lucky for your husband to be retiring so young so that you will have many healthy years to travel. Wishing you more great adventures. I will be on the lookout for future reports!
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Old Jul 19th, 2014, 07:08 PM
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Thank you for your replies. It is lovely to reflect on our trip and writing a report is a nice way to do it. I always enjoy others because we all see the world and travel in different ways.

Yes, there are a lot of holidays in May. It just happened that we did not do anything on those days that required an admission. So not much help there I am afraid. May 1 is the one where things would most likely be closed, I think. Shops were all shut whereas for the others we found they were open in the mornings.

We cook every day. The meals we had out we really enjoyed. But as I said we have a budget. So we cook everyday from scratch which is why we choose self catering. I enjoy cooking and P is a very good assistant. So shopping for food is one of the pleasures of our trips.

P actually finishes work today, so we are having a celebratory meal at home. His occupation has compulsory retirement at 60, so no choice. We will see what the future brings.

Yes Chedigny was just lovely. There were so many roses and so many buds that would be perfect when the festival was on .

Good luck with your planning.
rhon is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 05:56 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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What a beautiful trip report. Thanks for sharing this with us. Will you be posting photographs? I hope so.
willowjane is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 11:26 PM
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Unfortunately, this is about a technical as I get !! Have not yet ventured into photosharing sites etc. Maybe in the future.
rhon is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2014, 03:12 PM
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Hello, I am French and I am delighted to read your trip report in my country. If you go one day in our region Midi-Pyrénées contact me if you want, I'll be happy to help you and maybe meet you.
PINKCASHMIR is offline  
Old Jul 23rd, 2014, 11:57 PM
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Thank you PINKCASHMIR. The Midi-Pyrenees are a wonderful part of France. We visited the Gers and Aveyron in 2012 and loved both areas. You are lucky to live in such a beautiful place.
rhon is offline  
Old Nov 16th, 2014, 01:31 PM
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Thank you so much for taking the time to share your stay in France with all of us.
wallybrenda is offline  
Old Nov 16th, 2014, 01:51 PM
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thank you so much, you made me miss France. I've been to every place you mentioned.
You can see your country man, Russell Crowe in Cucuron
in his film, A Good Year.
cigalechanta is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2014, 03:48 PM
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I loved your report. Thanks for posting it.
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Old Nov 18th, 2014, 06:22 PM
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I enjoyed your trip report.
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Old Nov 18th, 2014, 07:59 PM
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Thank you all. Trip reports are a nice way of re-living a trip. Even if only one person reads it and gets inspired to visit a particular place , it is worth it. I enjoy reading others and often find information in our planning.

Happy travels.
rhon is offline  
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