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Trip report:recommendations for soutthern and SW France

Trip report:recommendations for soutthern and SW France

Oct 14th, 2004, 05:09 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Trip report:recommendations for soutthern and SW France

Just back from 12 days in southern parts of France. Some recommendations for those looking for such advice:

1. In the Drome, we were delighted to return to La Roche Colombe, 20 km aest of Montelimar and near to Manas and Pont de Barret. It's an old mas painstakingly restored by English architect Bob Christmas and his charming wife Celia. They are finding nightly cooking for the (predominantly English) clientele a bit draining and so are starting to convert some of the rooms to another large gite -- making three gites on the property. Double rooms do remain, however.

Lovely weather let us stretch out by the pool and gaze across the plain to the stunning mountains, before retiring to our glorious 2 bedroom gite: beam-ceilinged living room with fireplace; spacious all-equipped modern kitchen, canopied bedroom; etc etc.

Not everyone can expect the extra trimmings we got -- a bottle of champagne tucked in the fridge to commemorate our recent nuptials, for example. But the warm welcome is there for all visitors, as is the incredible food at the nearby Voyageur hotel's restaurant in Charols.

Nearby are Bourdeaux, Saou, Grane, Comps, Dieulefit, Nyons et.

Check out the Roche Colombe website for details.

2. Just west of Toulouse, a good staging point for Albi and the Tarn as well, is the Chateau du Bousquet, home of M and Mme de Lachadenede. This red-brick chateau is only 12 km from the city centre but a haven of quiet, well served by local restaurants such as Le Chai des Fages (St Pierre de Lages is the closest village).

For just over 60 euros we had a generous suite, their only rental accomodation: a riot of chintzes in the canopied bedroom and the sitting room off it, plus another "coin-television" off the huge entry hall. The bath was spacious but...uh...rather in the shabby-genteel tradition of not-entirely renovated family chateaux. Downstairs, an incredibly grand, chintz-bestrewn sitting room and a dining room.

3. At Bayac, near Lalinde south of the Dordogne river, we discovered the Relais de Lavergne -- written on some sign boards as "de la Vergne". This was a vineyard until phylloxera ruined the plantings, after which Francine and Odile took the property over and performed a miracle of restoration and renovation.

favourite spaces were the pool and the large, immaculate general sitting room -- and walking throuhg the orchard gazing over hilltops at the incredible vistas stratching far to the north.

Rooms and baths upstairs are a bit small, though there is a generous suite (equipped for the disabled, too) on the main floor. The usual abundant breakfasts, with all the "confitures" apparently made from fruit trees on the property, greeted us daily. A bargain at about 60 euros, especially given the proximity to the great bastides and villages such as Monpazier, Moliere, Beaumont, plus the astonishing chateau de Biron, abbey church of St Avit Senieur, cloister of Cadouin,etc. Try Le Beaumontois in Beaumont or La Bruceliere in Issegeac for dinners.

4. Finally, at www.domaine-dauphin.com you will find the southen Burgundian farmhouse of M amd Mme Schalburg, where for 62 euros we had another suite-like arrangement: a large, immaculately restored, beam-ceilinged bedroom with giant, spotless modern bath plus a "chambre d'appoint" -- another twin-bedded room we used only for luggage -- adjoining. Cluny is only 10-15 minutes away and we made it to the Lyon airport in under an hour (30 minutes of which was motorway driving).

We dined one night at the Hotel de Bourgogne, a temple of the punctilious, old style of French restaurant service and cuisine. Ready for your pre-dessert dessert, your dessert and your post-dessert "friandises" -- chocolate truffles, tuiles, etc?

A bit more to our taste was the simpler but still gastronomically serious Auberge Larocchette in Bourgvilain. The otherwise jovial 68-year-old proprietor is a Paris restaurateur who bought this place a year ago to overcome the ennui of retirement -- I say otherwise jovial because he spoke to us at length about the decline of French food standards, the horror of airline food and how good the food on the trains used to be...
tedgale is offline  
Oct 14th, 2004, 05:32 PM
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tedgate, congratulations on your wedding and a wonderful trip.
cigalechanta is offline  
Oct 14th, 2004, 05:34 PM
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hey what happened to my edits and spell-checking? And all the phone numbers I painstakingly added in?

Here goes again --

Lavergne: telephone 05 53 57 83 16

Bousquet: telephone 05 61 83 78 02

Roche Colombe: www.larochecolombe.com
tedgale is offline  
Oct 15th, 2004, 07:28 AM
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Hi ted,

Thanks for sharing.
ira is offline  
Oct 15th, 2004, 12:11 PM
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Kudos for offering information about the Drôme, an often overlooked area that still offers very good values for lodgings and food. The small town of Dieulefit is one of our favorites and is noted for its regional pottery.
Underhill is offline  
Oct 24th, 2004, 01:45 AM
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thanks for the report. Do I take it you didn't get as far south in the South West as you intended?
sheila is offline  
Oct 24th, 2004, 09:25 AM
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Thanks, tedgale! I always like to hear personal references about places to stay and eat. You did a good job describing things. My husband and I want to explore more the south of France and your recommendations were really helpful!
Oct 24th, 2004, 09:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,962
Thanks, tedgale, for the informative report. Really enjoyed it and hope to get to this area the next trip.
klondike is offline  
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