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Misadventures in France 2010 – Part 7

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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?

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.


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!

J'adore #8
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