Loire Valley, France

30 July – 2 August 2011

Getting there isn’t really that hard. We took the Eurostar to Gare du Nord, Paris (this is a free trip courtesy of our snowed-in journey back home from Paris last December). Took the Metro to Gare du Montparnasse (can I just say that buying a Metro ticket from Gare du Nord is such a pain – long queues, too few windows, broken machines). Then a fast (less than an hour) TGV train to Tours.

We stayed at L’adresse. Right in the thick of it all at Place Plumereau. The room was charming, with a big bathroom. We had a room to the back, but would have a loved a room with a balcony at the top floor. No views here, and I had to keep the curtains drawn as the room seems to be a bit overlooked (there’s a new building being built on both sides, but i don’t see anyone, plus a side window next to the bathroom window). Great service and location, though it’s not the best room in the house.

Visited the Tourist Office on the Sunday. Really helpful, trilingual staff. We booked a chateau and wine tour for Monday and got discounted tickets for Amboise.

Our time was spent looking at a few castles and eating. Tours is one of those places that you have to eat on time. We went hungry a few times because we thought we can easily get a meal at 3pm. Or that most places would at least have a croissant at past 10am. Unfortunately, whilst food was generally good, none stand out except Cape Sud’s (Rue Colbert) parma ham and melon and my discovery of porc rillettes (i bought 2 big tubs home from the indoor market at Rue des Halles).

One of the gardens at Villandry
vineyards at Villandry
a private wine cellar