Guest Notes for Episode 304: A Slice of Life in the Hilltop Village of Sancerre

Category: Loire Valley

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Discussed in this Episode

  • Sancerre
  • Coeur de France language School
  • Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire
  • Verdigny
  • Chavignol
  • Crotins de Chavignol
  • Pottery village of La Borne
  • Château de Guédelon
  • La Charité-sur-Loire
  • Nevers
  • Bourges
  • Goat farms
  • Trial de Sancerre competition
  • Camino de Santiago
  • Portuguese Way
  • Le Puy-en-Velay
  • Chemin de Compostelle
  • Aire-sur-l'Adour
  • Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
  • Bayonne
  1. We found Sancerre in 2004 when we did a non-simultaneous home exchange with Gerard & Marianne Chartrand. The first time we went, Christine attended a week of classes at Coeur de France with our youngest daughter and I arrived a week later.  Christine went to class and I just settled into village life.
  2. Sancerre is a medieval hilltop village in the Loire Valley located about a two-hour drive southeast of Paris. The village has an attractive small central square surrounded with restaurants, wine caves (tasting/sales) and small retail shops or boutiques.
  3. We go back to Sancerre every year for at least a week, sometimes two, three or more.  On various trips we’ve brought a grandson when he was 11, our granddaughter when she was 10 and then another daughter and her husband.  We have also had a few of our friends join us.
  4. A business colleague asked me one time “what are you going to do in a village of 1,500 people for 3 weeks?” I told him I wasn’t going to do anything and then I would rest afterwards, but there is a lot to do and we have our routine.
  5. We typically arrive late Saturday afternoon, enjoy some Sancerre with Crottins du Chavignol and then have dinner at Auberge Joseph Mellot.
  6. Sunday morning the boulangerie opens at 7:15 A.M. and I pick up Pain au Cereal and perhaps a pain au chocolate. Café des Arts opens at 8:00 A.M. and we get Café au Lait
  7. There is an excellent market in Cosne sur Loire on Sunday and Wednesday mornings and a small one in Saint Satur on Thursday. Cosne is about a 6-mile drive and St. Satur is at the base of the Colline du Sancerre.
  8. We get our veggies, frambroise, poulet roti, yogurt, butter, honey etc. and have Sunday lunch and dinner at our apartment. The Dairy truck La Ferme d”Averly has the best yogurt and butter we have ever had.
  9. On Monday morning we go to the Boulangerie, Café des Arts and then Christine may take 2 hours of private lessons at Coeur de France and I’ll hike in the vineyards with lunch at Café des Arts or another nearby restaurant followed by a nap.   Christine will have homework and perhaps paint watercolors and I will cruise.  Her French is quite good, mine is limited, but I can communicate.  I have not attended the school as I have worked all my life and just want to avoid stress, settle into the rhythm of village life and enjoy cultural experiences.
  10. We have a similar routine all week, typically her lessons alternate in the morning and then the following afternoon. She doesn’t always take classes, although she regrets it if she doesn’t.
  11. Depending upon her schedule, we’ll have lunch in Sancerre or at Au P’tit Gouter in Chavignol, Bord de la Loire in St. Thibault, La Fountaine in St. Satur or perhaps drive to Bourges, La Borne, Nevers or La Charite or one of the other nearby villages.
  12. We wander through the pottery village of La Borne, shop and visit the Cathedral in Bourges, drive to Apremont-sur-Alliers to visit the botanical gardens, drive to Guedelon to see progress on the medieval village being constructed with medieval techniques.
  13. We enjoy coffee or tea at Café Librairie, a small bookshop/cafe and chat with Olivier. It’s truly a cultural experience and a wonderful village hangout.  You’ll see the same people there at the same time daily.
  14. Every year we like to have wine tasting with Christophe and Ranu Reverdy at Jean Reverdy et Fils in Verdigny and when possible, have dinner with them.  They have stayed with us in Hawaii.
  15. We enjoy having dinner, sometimes lunch with Gerard & Marianne Chartrand of Coeur de France if they can make the time. Fortunately, they have been able to come to Hawaii several times and have stayed with us.
  16. I ran the Trail de Sancerre in 2015. There are two distances 25K and 15K, I did the 15.
  17. The last few years we only stayed a week and felt that it was not long enough, but we left to trek on various portions of the Camino Santiago de Compostelle.  Last year we did 10 days on the Way of Le Puy beginning in Aire sur L’Adour and ending in Saint Jean Pied du Port.
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Category: Loire Valley