Misadventures in France 2010 – Part 7

Misadventures-in-FranceOh, how the mighty have fallen. After three enchanting days at the edge of a sea cliff, we tumbled down into the Loire valley and into the rocks. Okay, it was by choice, but what is dramatic about writing that?

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We left Brittany and headed to the Loire valley for a stay at Les Hautes Roches, a Relais-Chateau hotel in Rochecrobon. It is a troglodyte, meaning it’s partially built into a cave or rocks.

Part of Les Hautes Roches
Part of Les Hautes Roches

My husband and I had done several vacations to the Loire Valley while living in France spending a total of six weeks here over three years. For each trip, while visiting chateaus and tasting wine, we had passed this hotel and talked about staying here some time.

We decided we would stop by on our way to Paris and spend two nights here. It allowed us to check out what it is like to stay in a cave and to revisit one of our favorite chateaus, the Chateau Villandry.

On the ride over to Rochecorbon, we took a little side trip to visit a trogo-ville that the desk clerk at the Chateau Richeux had recommended. We visited a little museum and church in Rochemenier which had two complete troglo-farms intact, it was very interesting to see how people used to live and harvest in these caves.

Trogodyte home in Rochemenier
Troglodyte home in Rochemenier

We picnicked with the products we had bought the past couple of days and then headed gently for the hotel. We arrived in time to enjoy a little apero on the terrace above the Loire river, the autumn light was absolutely gorgeous.

Brittany-product-picnic
A picnic of Brittany products

We decided to eat dinner on-property as the chef was listed in the Maitres Cuisinier, a book of “grand” chefs throughout France.

Mistake. And disappointing after such wonderful meals at Richeux and Cancale. It’s lobster season so the starter was lobster, it should have been good. But it was four small pieces wrapped in Iberico ham, which once grilled tastes like bacon so basically drowns out the delicate nature of the lobster. The largest piece, the claw was fried, all I tasted was fried breading. All the plating was terrible, it looked the chef was five and doing his first finger painting.

My main dish was unimpressive as well. The only thing saving the restaurant was an extremely knowledgeable sommelier who helped us select a very, very good Vouvray and a very talented patissier whose creations of desserts as “simple” as Tarte-Tatin that was amazingly light and interesting as fig was mixed in with the apples. It was accompanied by the airiest ice cream I had ever tasted.

The talent continued the next morning with a basket of viennoiserie that was to die for. With a good breakfast completed, we headed out to Villandry.

The next day we did a driving tour through several parts of Loire stopping at small chateaus along the way. Picnicking one more time in the beautiful autumn weather and preparing ourselves for our return to Paris where we would spend five glorious days.

Last picnic before Paris
Last picnic before Paris

On to Paris!

12 Comments

  1. Shannon
    November 29, 2010

    Yayyy! When do you get to town?

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2010

      @Shannon, oops sorry…these are my recaps from October, I know, lame and so behind! My next trip is May 2011.

      Reply
  2. Andi
    November 29, 2010

    I love your honesty in these posts. They sure make me want to take a road trip through France!!!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2010

      @AndiP, would love to take you sometime!

      Reply
  3. Vicki Archer
    November 29, 2010

    Sounds like an amazing trip so far Andi….xv

    Reply
  4. Mrs. Flinger
    November 29, 2010

    OH! I am so jealous. Traveling is a passion I can’t afford. I will live through you instead.

    I have a friend living in the south of France right now. Between you both, I will pretend. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 29, 2010

      @MrsFlinger, wow, first time I have had you visit here, I am thrilled! Been reading your blog since my first Blissdom in ’09. You went to Amsterdam, that counts!

      Reply
  5. Kasia Dietz
    November 30, 2010

    You have really set the scene for the Loire valley, a part of France I have yet to explore. Will heed your tips!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 30, 2010

      @Kasia, I think you will love it. Here is another tip, if you have not done the chateaus before, limit yourself to two a day, that way you get a chance to real see them and you won’t have chateau overload! Also privately run chateaus are in better shape then ones run by the state.

      Reply
  6. Lady Jennie
    November 30, 2010

    You know, we were seriously considering staying there. I had a discount for Relais et Chateaux (which actually turned out not to be good anymore) and we wanted the Loire.

    And then my husband kidnapped me and took me to Deauville. Where you were! At the same time!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 30, 2010

      @Jennie, how funny that we were there at the same time! Two ships passing in the night!

      Reply
  7. Carolyn Jung
    November 30, 2010

    I remember the castles in the Loire Valley when I visited there many years ago. It was winter and the air was all misty, giving it the feel as if you’d stepped back into time.

    Reply

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