Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Last Few Days of Our Trip

      It's now Tuesday, and I'm back home, but I decided to write up the last few days of our trip while on our flight back to the United States.

     On Saturday morning we packed up and left our gite in the Dordogne to head towards the Loire Valley, where we were staying for one night. It was a long drive to the house in Montrésor where we were spending the night, and we arrived a little after 3:00 p.m. and were met by Brigitte, the house manager. The place we were staying at was small but absolutely beautiful, with stunning views of the Chateau de Montrésor from several windows. Brigitte left us a bottle of local wine, a baguette and some macarons from a bakery in town, and a jar of pork rilette.

Views of Chateau de Montresor from our House
      Shortly after checking into the house, we drove off towards the village of Monthou-sur-Cher, where we had an appointment to visit Vignoble Dinocheau, a small family-run winery. The wines of Dinocheau are imported into the U.S. by Laurent Bonnois, a small importer who grew up in the Paris area, moved to New York and ran a wine store there for awhile, then left the retail business and started importing French wine into the U.S., first distributing only in New York, and then in Maine. Laurent, who moved back to France several years ago and now lives in Paris, set up our appointment at Dinocheau. Although I had the address, finding the winery was difficult, even after we called Laurence Dinocheau and she gave us directions. Eventually she drove out to look for us and directed us to the winery, which she runs with her brother with some help from their father. Despite being late for our appointment, Laurence gave us a two hour tour and tasting, showing us first their small winemaking, aging and bottling facility, then taking us for a drive through some of their vineyards, and finally letting us taste the entire range of their wines. The wines were impressive, and we bought what little we could, given that our vacation was nearly over and we had little room to pack any more into our luggage. But at least I should be able to get some of the wines in Maine, hopefully including the 2015 rosé, which we particularly liked.
Dinocheau Wines Safely Home
      After leaving Dinocheau we drove back to our house in Montrésor and almost immediately headed out to the next village, where we were having dinner with two Americans, Ken and Walt, who have been living in the Loire Valley for over a decade after leaving their jobs in the San Francisco area and moving to France. Ken and Walt both write blogs, and it was through reading Ken's blog, Living the Life in St. Aignan, that I first communicated with them several years ago. Since we were going to be in the area, we agreed to meet for dinner, at Le Moulin de Chaudé in Chemillé-sur-Indrois. It was a very pleasant evening, and the dinner was outstanding, with several Loire wines to complement the great food. It was a classic country French restaurant, with refined but not weird food, lovely but not stuffy décor, excellent but not pretentious service, and reasonable prices. What more could one ask for in a restaurant?

      On Sunday morning, before leaving our house we took a walk around Montrésor  and along the Indrois River, which runs through the middle of Montrésor. There's a walking path along the river, and among other things it affords great views of Chateau de Montrésor from a different angle than we had from our house.
Old Market Hall in Montrésor

      After leaving Montrésor we drove towards the Loire River, and thought about stopping in or around Amboise to have a picnic. However, as we drove through Amboise we saw that there was a huge fair and a market in the center of town, and clearly no parking anywhere in the area, so we continued on. We finally stopped in Chaumont, along the Loire, right by the Chateau de Chaumont. We had a picnic along the river, then took a brief walk in Chaumont before continuing towards Senlis, our final stop on the trip.

Chateau de Chaumont

      Senlis is about 20-25 minutes from Charles de Gaulle Airport, making it a good place to stay the last night before flying out. We had stayed in Senlis twice before for that reason, and found it to be a lovely town. It's a moderately large old town with an imposing cathedral right in the center, and also lots of places to stay and to dine. We had stayed at a small hotel the 2 previous times, but this time I had booked a room at a newly opened small B&B, Fab House. It turned out to be a fantastic place to stay. Fabien, the young man who owns it (hence, Fab House), had converted an old farm and stables into a lovely B&B with just a few rooms. Fabien told us that he's a native of Senlis, and lives right across from the B&B. Our room was beautifully decorated and comfortable, and there was a kitchen for guests to use and an excellent breakfast. Because it was Sunday, not many restaurants were open for dinner, but we found a creperie that served excellent crepes. We also spent some time walking around the old part of Senlis both before and after dinner.
Senlis Cathedral

Senlis Cat

Old Ramparts in Senlis

       Monday morning we took another walk around Senlis before leaving for the airport, and bought some bread and pastries at a boulangerie. The drive to the airport was uneventful except for the fact that I got on the A1 highway (equivalent to an American interstate) going the wrong way, and had to drive to the next exit to reverse direction and head towards the airport. But we had plenty of time to spare, and arrived far earlier than necessary. The rest of the return trip was uneventful, and no more miserable than usual. And our cat was very surprised, and happy, to see us again.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you made it back safe and sound. What a wonderful trip you had! And how nice that you got to see Ken and Walt. Thanks again for letting me travel vicariously with you and Ann. One of these days, it's not going to be vicarious.