Paris to Cognac and back via the Loire

Mar 12th, 2015, 02:12 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
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Paris to Cognac and back via the Loire

We have a business meeting in Cognac in early June and will drive there from Paris. We have about 10 days including travel time, most of which will be outside Paris since we've been to Paris many times and will stay there just long enough to get over the flight from New York. The initial leg will be the drive from Paris, which will be 6 hours or so, including a stop en route. We plan to be around Cognac for 2-3 nights, then head back thru the Loire valley, which we've never visited. We'd like to stay there for 2-3 nights as well.

What we need are recommendations for restaurants and hotels in and around Cognac as well as suggestions for same in the Loire Valley. For the latter, we'll pick one base and perhaps visit a couple of chateaux, before driving back to Paris.

Our restaurant preferences tend toward Michelin Bib Gourmands, though we'd gladly splurge on a starred restaurant in the Loire. I'm aware of one two-star in Onzain and suspect that there are several one stars as well.

All suggestions greatly appreciated.
nrwayne is offline  
Mar 12th, 2015, 02:25 PM
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You could use to find Bib Gourmand restaurants
Michael is online now  
Mar 12th, 2015, 02:36 PM
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Amboise is a perfect base - cool smaller city but with everything a city offers in terms of restaurants - its own famous chateau and is at the epicenter of visiting the most famous and awesome IMO of the castles: Chenonceaux is just a short drive thru the forest (or you can frent bikes!) - Chambord the biggest and most monumental of the castles is about an hour by car - Azay-le-Rideau about an hour and many others.

Plus thee is the Clos Luce where an over-the-hill Leonardo da vinci spent his fading last days - put up by French King Francois I, who lived in the castle overlooking the Loire - as kind of a symbolic of bringing the Renaissance to France and there is a string of trogladyte houses hidden away behind the cathedral - one is even a B & B if you want to revert to caveman days (well it is rather plush on the inside.)

Up to stay in a proper castle - the Chateau de Prey a short walk east of town on the Loire gets good reivew for abodes and cuisine.

Amboise is not much more than 1.5 hours or so from Paris by autoroute - if you want to take side roads thru the Beauce - France's breadbasket and a flat rich agricultural area - you could return to Paris via Chartres and its famous cathedral - quiet an awesome when motoring on great paved side roads when you see the Chartres Cathedral topping a hill in the far distance - putting yourselves into the shoes of medieval pilgrims on foot whose fist glimpse of the majestical cathedral far in the distance must have been awe-inspiring - nearing the goal after a long arduous journey.

Try to take Malcom Miller's renown tours of the cathedral - one in morning and one in afternoons - Chartres is about 40 miles or so from Paris.

another option would be to motor from Amboise to nearby St-Pierre-des-Corps - the mainline train station in Tours and return your rental car there and blow into Paris on TGVs at almost 190 mph - squint your eyes and you can see the Chartres Cathedral in the distance from the right side of the train!
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 12th, 2015, 04:43 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion of Amboise. We've enjoyed Malcolm Miller on a earlier trip. Am surprised, but pleased, that he's still at it. The chateaux we'd be most interested in are Chenonceaux and Chambord.
nrwayne is offline  
Mar 12th, 2015, 05:10 PM
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>>The chateaux we'd be most interested in are Chenonceaux and Chambord.<<

Then stay in Chenonceaux itself, at Auberge du Bon Laboureur and get to the Chateau 10 mins before it opens to avoid the massive crowds. The restaurant at Bon Laboureur is a Michelin 1 star - we've dined there 3 times.

I don't understand your 10 days.

1 night Paris
2-3 nights Cognac
2-3 nights Loire

That seems like 5-7 nights/days.

If this was my trip, I would never think of driving and "fighting" my way out of Paris, and then face a 6 hr drive to Cognac with a "worthwhile" stop along the way. I would take the 2 1/2 hr leisurely TGV to Angouleme (book ASAP to get super cheap PREM first-class fares), and then rent a car & drive 45 mins to Cognac.

If you have several days to get to the Loire from Cognac, I would spend a couple of nights in La Rochelle, a couple in Poitiers, and then on to the Loire.

Last year we spent 3 nights near Poitiers. Then 2 weeks on the Ile de Re (just outside of La Rochelle), and did day-trips to Cognac, Rochefort, Royan, and Saintes. We then spent 2 weeks on the Loire near Blois.

We're foodies too. If you decide to stay near Blois or Amboise, let me know & I'll suggest some of our favorite restaurants in that region.

Here is my wife's Shutterfly book for our trip last year.

Click "view photo book" and then "full screen"

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Mar 12th, 2015, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Actually, I would not even stay the first night in Paris. I would catch the TGV from CDG airport, that takes 3 1/4 hrs to get to Angouleme. That's what we did last year (we went to Poitiers, however). Like I stated earlier, the TGV is a great way to relax after a long flight.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Mar 13th, 2015, 08:12 PM
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There will probably be another night in Paris since there will be a meeting or two there as well and two nights in the Loire. We prefer the flexibility of driving. Flying business class and sleeping on the eastbound will make the overnight more confortable.
nrwayne is offline  
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