Category Archives: Loire Valley

Trip Report Loire Valley and Dordogne, Episode 82


Loire Valley and DordogneOn today’s episode Matt from Boston tells us how to have a great vacation in France with young children, specifically in the Loire Valley and Dordogne. Matt tells us how he and his wife and daughters spent three and a half weeks touring around France and what their favorite places were. Today we concentrate on their visit of the Loire Valley and the Dordogne, and as it turns out Dordogne WAS one of their favorites!


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Some of the Topics Discussed on the Show

  • Why did they choose France? Why did they choose late spring?
  • Can they speak French? Did that become a problem? How much French do you really need to be comfortable getting around in France?
  • How did they deal with their daughter’s severe food allergy while in France?
  • French Tip of the Week: How do you say “my daughter is allergic to eggs” in French? “Ma fille est allergique aux oeufs”. Just in case, do what Matt did, print out a card in French that you can show to waiters.
  • How did they like the food in France?
  • What is it like driving in France? See Episode 16 for more on that.
  • Why did they skip Paris?
  • What is it like landing in France in the middle of a huge taxi strike?

A Few Navigation Time Stamps

18:00 Matt talks about driving in France, that it was great and that episode 16 on that subject helped him greatly. He found that French people pretty much don’t speed, don’t pass on the right, don’t honk at you when they disagree with your driving choices, he even loved  the roundabouts. Bring a stand-alone GPS such as a Tom-Tom that rely on GPS signal alone and not maps tied to your smart-phone.

24:45 Matt mentions how it’s lovely that there are so many picnic tables in France. You can bring your own food, it’s encouraged!

29:00 What it is like shopping at French grocery stores? Going to the butcher’s and the open-air market. Great bread everywhere, great fruit and vegetables. Annie explains briefly how food distribution works in France.

35:00 Why some freeways are toll roads in France and others are not.

37:00 How you can deal with hot weather in France if your rental home does not have air-conditioning: open everything up at night and close everything, especially shutters, all day. Go swimming. Don’t cook inside, use the barbecue outside!

Places Mentioned on the Show

Château de Chenonceau, Château du Clos Lucé (Leonardo DaVinci), Beynac, Vitrac, Lascaux, Fond de Gaume, La Roque Saint-Christophe, le Gouffre de Padirac, la Fôret des Singes, Castlenaud-la-Chapelle.

Loire Valley and Dordogne
Chenonceau, photo Andrea Schaffer

Matt’s Detailed Itinerary

Wednesday June 24
• Flew from Boston to Paris via Iceland

Thursday June 25
• Arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport during taxi strike, train terminal very busy, missed our TGV reservations
• TGV to Tours in afternoon, picked up rental car in Tours, drove to B&B in La Croix-en-Touraine
• Picnic dinner from food obtained in Blere
• Kids played on the swing set at the B&B

Friday June 26
• Toured the Chateau du Chenonceau in the morning*
• Toured the Chateau du Clos Luce in the afternoon
• Dinner of pasta with sausages from the butcher in Blere

Saturday June 27
• Drove from La Croix-en-Touraine to Beynac (400 km)
• Settled into our gite
• Dinner of roast chicken from butcher in Beynac with potatoes and veggies

Sunday June 28
• Market day in Saint-Cyprien, kids played at the playground in the town center
• Swimming in the Dordogne River at the beach in Vitrac in the afternoon
• Dinner of Toulouse sausage from the butcher and market veggies

Monday June 29
• Toured Grotte de Lascaux II in the morning*
• Toured La Roque Saint-Christopher after lunch
• Toured the Elevage du Bouyssou goose and duck farm in the early evening*
• Dinner of eggs with lardons over greens

Tuesday June 30 (Very Hot Day!)
• Toured the Gouffre de Padirac in the morning*
• Toured La Foret des Singes after lunch*
• Dinner of pork ribs from the Beynac butcher and veggies grilled on the barbeque*

Wednesday July 1 (Very Hot Day!)
• Toured Castlenaud-la-Chapelle in the morning*
• Swimming in the Dordogne River at the beach in Vitrac in the afternoon
• Dinner of pork ribs and Toulouse sausages from the Beynac butcher and veggies grilled on the barbecue

Thursday July 2
• Market day in Domme, toured Domme in the morning
• Canoed the Dordogne River between Vitrac and Beynac after lunch*
• Toured La Roque-Gageac during canoe ride
• Dinner of duck confit from Beynac butcher, eggs, and greens

Friday July 3 (Very Hot Day!)
• Toured Chateau de Beynac in the morning
• Swimming in the Dordogne River at the beach in Vitrac in the afternoon
• Dinner of pork ribs and sausages from the Beynac butcher and veggies grilled on the barbecue

Saturday July 4 (Happy Independence Day!)
• Drove from Beynac to Tarascon (500 km)
• Saw the Canal du Midi at the rest stop along the way
• Settled in to our gite
• Swam in the pool

Loire Valley and Dordogne
Matt and daughter at Clos Lucé

 

 

French Wine Regions and Loire Valley Wines, Episode 28

French Wine Regions and AOC

French Wine Regions

Today on Join Us in France we talk about French wine regions and give you some background information on each of them. We’re not sommeliers or oenologues, we’re just a couple of women who enjoy wine and have had a chance to try lots of different ones. We have our favorites and we’re sure you do too! Listen to the show right now or subscribe below so you never miss an episode.

If you love our approach to travel and want to tour France with us, visit Addicted to France to look at upcoming tours.

Episode Highlights

  • Brief history of the production of wine in France
  • Some (rare) parts of France do not produce any wine
  • There are 3240 different types of wines in France
  • Quality control for French wine regions
  • How to read labels in France
  • The meaning of the term AOC: Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée
  • Overview of major French wine regions
  • Alsace: Riesling (white), Gewurztraminer (white), Tokay (red)
  • Bordeaux: very large production numbers, goes from exquisite to terrible.
  • Beaujolais: young wines, Beaujolais nouveau is a big deal, but it’s not our favorite.
  • Burgundy: very large and wonderful wines.
  • Bugey: white, not as famous as most of the other AOC wines.
  • Champagne: major wine-growing region.
  • Corsican: large French island in the Mediterranean, makes very distinctive wines.
  • Juras: mountainous region in the Alps, Besançon is the major city there. The produce a “yellow wine”, mostly sweet.
  • Languedoc: used to produce low-quality wines and have since cleaned up their act, they now make some great ones. It includes Minervois and Corbières. This is a very large area called Languedoc-Roussillon.
  • Loraine: small region that produces mostly white wines.
  • Valley de la Loire: the Loire River is a large river that crosses France east to west.
  • Provence: the best rosés produced anywhere are from Provence, but they also produce some red and white. Bandol wines have their own AOC.
  • Vallée du Rhône: the Rhône is a large river that runs north to south. This is where you’ll find Côte du Rhône in the south, Beaujolais a little more to the north, and to the north of the Rhône area, Burgundy. These are three different OAC groups in the same region.
  • Savoie: somewhat similar to the wines found in the Juras and Bugey. This region produces white wines that go very well with Cheese Fondue and Raclette, famous dishes of the area. Those are hardy, winter dishes. The wines are fruity and somewhat sweet.
  • South-Western: includes wines that are not exported very much, Cahors, Madiran, Jurançon, Gaillac, Fronton.
  • Wine distribution channels in France
  • Driving around to taste wine in France
  • Focus on the Loire Valley
  • Muscadet
  • Anjou
  • Vouvray (white)
  • Chinon (white)
  • Bourgeuil AOC (red)
  • Cheverny AOC (red)
  • Sancerre
  • Pouilly fumé

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