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On the road in the Loire Valley: a mid-trip minireport

On the road in the Loire Valley: a mid-trip minireport

Jun 24th, 2004, 09:33 AM
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On the road in the Loire Valley: a mid-trip minireport

We are a little over halfway through our Loire Valley trip. We leave Amboise tomorrow morning for Bourges/Berry. A few notes:
Angers was wonderful as always. We're hoping to buy an apartment there in a few years. On our first day in town, we had a pet emergency, when our dog apparently ingested some rat poison (full story to come in full trip report) and the people of Angers were terrific. The vet who handled the crisis was superb (and our dog is fine now). The beauty and charm of Angers are exceeded only by the kindness of its people.
Amboise has been a little disappointing. The city itself feels very touristy and a little honkytonk, esp. after Angers. However, we've been spending most of our time away from the town.
Two delightful surprises: Fougeres sur Bievre and Montresor. I'd heard nothing about Fougeres in the guidebooks; we stumbled upon it by accident. Fougeres has the most amazing chicken coop we've ever seen and the exotic chickens enjoying their own mini chateau were a hoot to watch.
Chateaux done so far: Chambord, Chenonceau, Villandry, Montresor, Fougeres sur Bievre, Montrichard (Azay le Rideau, Angers, Saumur and Chinon done on previous trip).
Best lunch: Castel Boeuf in Angers and La Tour of Hotel St. Antoine (Loches)
Best dinner: La Ferme in Angers
Best bit about Chambord: taking the boat tour around the castle. We were the only ones on the boat and got a different perspective of the place.
Most interesting chateau visit: Montresor.
Prettiest village: Montresor
Biggest disappointment: husband has been able to find a restaurant serving friture de la Loire, a dish supposed to be available widely (according to the guidebook).
Amboise note: Manoir St. Thomas restaurant is closed. It's been sold. Whether and when it will reopen is unknown.
Weather: very mild. But Tuesday night/Wednesday were WINDY. Winds about 60 miles per hour from time to time. Heavy rains Tuesday night.
Off to Berry tomorrow! By the time we return, we'll probably have eaten our weight in goat cheese (love that St. Maure) and drunk our weight in Loire Valley reds and white Sancerre.
BTilke is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 09:41 AM
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Thanks for the update BTilke. I'm glad your pup made it though OK.

I still have got to get back to Angers. Never enough time.
indytravel is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 09:54 AM
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oooh, how lovely. Whatta trip!
...sancerre and cheese... are there better things to eat? Chateaux?
And I'm so glad your pooch is fine.
SuzieC is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 10:13 AM
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So interested to see a mention of Montresor. I loved both the town and the chateau but so seldom see them mentioned in discussions of the Loire Valley. The trip sounds lovely - thanks for the report.
mamc is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 10:31 AM
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I love "real-time" reports. Thank you. I''ve never heard of that Fougères, though we loved the one in Brittany. And it's been 25 (!!!) years since we saw Montresor - must go back.
StCirq is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 10:59 AM
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Great to hear from you. Sorry DH didn't find the friture. I hope you got to taste the tarte tintin.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 01:23 PM
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Fougeres sur Bievre received a major grant from the government about 18 months ago and has completely redone the village...it's sparkling clean, everything looks just so. They are in the midst of restoring the chateau. The outside is mostly done and the inside is nearly finished, but it has almost no furniture and artwork installed at the moment. Which is fine because we were allowed to take our dog with us inside (only the girls are allowed...male dogs have to stay outside because they insist on marking everything).
Montresor has been named one of the 100 prettiest villages in France and it's a photo op at every corner. Another occasion where our dog was welcomed inside the chateau, which really surprised us, considering its rich furnishings. But the owners and the guides are real dog lovers. While the chateau is relatively unknown to anglophones, it's hugely popular with Poles (due to the Polish royalty connections of the owners). And as we were leaving, a Polish tour bus turned up.
On the drive back (Montresor to Loches then to Blere and back to Amboise), my husband got the idea of doing a real time travel video...so he propped the videocamera on the dashboard and hit the record button. We watched the video afterwards and it was pretty neat. We've now got a 30 minute video of the ride along French country roads and through a few small towns.
BTilke is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 12:56 AM
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Wonderful report, BTilke. I'm almost certain I'll be going to Angers for a week at the end of April 2005 (before that, I'm heading to Paris for 12 days in September). After reading your minireport, I can't wait! thanks (also for writing about Brouges in another post).
Keren is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 01:06 AM
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You should have a lovely time in Angers! It's full of good restaurants, cafes, beautiful parks (the Jardin des Plantes in particular is a gem). If you are on the chateau ramparts and look across the river, you will see some very modern apartments with HUGE balconies (look to the left, toward the Parc Balzac, for the complex with the curved roof design). My husband is set on getting an apartment there one of these days.
I've got two full trip reports to write--a May trip to Nice, Milan and Bellagio and the June trip to the LV and Berry--must get them done soon!
BTilke is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 03:13 AM
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Thanks. And it's Bourges, of course!
Keren is offline  
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