December 5, 2010

Our Trip to the Loire Valley

Window Sun

Our trip to the Loire in October (which now seems like a lifetime ago) was really amazing...and wonderful...and well, interesting...
We encountered a few minor hiccups along the way, but were determined not to let them ruin our trip.

To start things off, I spent most of the night before our departure curled up on the bathroom floor with what I think was food poisoning.  By the time I was able to crawl my sorry butt out of bed that Saturday morning, the mere thought of spending 8 hours in a car was so horrific we decided to postpone the trip by one day.  No big deal.  We had the entire week to enjoy our holiday and explore the Loire.   
Or so we thought....


Sunday morning we took off, well rested and ready for our vacation.

The drive up was uneventful, other than a freak snowstorm near Clermont Ferrand, and we arrived in the Loire Valley, impressed by the wide, rambling river and awestruck by the pale white beauty of the villages.  After a bit of a struggle with our temperamental GPS we found our gîte and settled in.

We spent the next two days exploring Angers and Saumur, tasting local food and wine, visiting a couple of Châteaux and generally enjoying our time away when we noticed that the gas stations in the region were slowly running out of fuel and shutting down due to the national strikes.
And when you're staying in a rural area and relying on your car to get around, that kind of puts a damper on things.
By the afternoon of day three we were stuck in our gîte because we couldn't find any fuel at all and had less than a half a tank left.  After much discussion we decided to pack up and leave early in the hopes that we would find fuel a bit further south, and hopefully enough to get us home. (we did)

Thus the Saturday-Saturday booking at the gîte turned into a Sunday-Thursday booking.  And two of those five days were spent driving back and forth from home.  It was disappointing to say the least.  We didn't get the chance to visit friends in southern Brittany, see Nantes and Tours, or visit any cheese makers.
We've decided that we simply have to go back.  There's far too much that we missed!

Our gîte

Living roomBlue doorA quiet place to readFireplace in our gîte
Now about our gîte...
It took us a while to find the right place, but our patience finally paid off.  Because we were traveling with our two chihuahuas, it meant that most vacation rentals were crossed off the list due to their no pet policy.
We finally stumbled across La Roche à Vent.
What a gem!
Our house was spacious and comfortable and we had gorgeous white cows as our neighbors.  The owners, John and Patricia, were friendly, offered fabulous restaurant recommendations and loved the dogs.  I would go back and stay there in a heartbeat.

Another attraction in the little village of le Thoureil is Le Tasting Room, where we spent a happy two hours learning about the wines of the Loire Valley with the very informative and passionate Cathy Shore and Nigel Henton.
Of course two hours learning about Loire Valley wines barely scratched the surface - with more than a dozen grape varieties and 65 appellations, the region offers something for everyone.  We tasted both a white and a red that are definitely worth going back for. 

le Thoureil

Loire River

Our neighbors

Autumn leaves


The Loire Valley, or what little we saw of it, was wonderful.  We enjoyed every precious minute and vow to return.
Fingers crossed there won't be any strikes, fuel shortages or illness next time! Pin It
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