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Loire Valley dining experience


Sitting down to eat in France, whether it be alfresco dining in the garden, a formal dinner at home or eating out at a restaurant, can be a most pleasurable experience .

While visiting the Loire Valley we suggest you should have the 'French restaurant' experience at least once --or more if your budget can stand it!


Don't be put off with the idea of snails, frog's legs or tete de veau, all of which we feel you should try at least once, well perhaps not the tete de veau! There are so many dishes to get your taste-buds excited that even with the debate as to whether French cooking is still the best in the world or not, you will, for the most part, be delighted.



Some tips:



Your choice of restaurant will of course depend on where you are staying. If you have decided on a major tourist destination, Tours for example, then do not expect every restaurant to be a gastronomic experience -- you'll be disappointed! Seek out a restaurant aimed at French customers -- lack of English translation on the menu is normally a good clue. That said, we have eaten in many of the establishments aimed at tourists and been perfectly happy with the service and food. If you have kids you  are more likely to find something to keep them happy in the larger towns -- though try and get them to try something different -- it will enhance their holiday experience, ("that'll work", we here you say!)


If your holiday choice is a rural gite or village house then you should find that there are restaurants serving the local community -- though you may have to drive to them. Many of these restaurants serve very good lunches daily, though many are closed on Monday -- normally from a fixed menu and/or buffet at €12 to €15 for 3 courses (some even include wine). Evening meals can be less predictable depending on where you are and how much they are supported by locals and tourists alike, expect to pay €18 to €25. It is best not to assume they will be open every evening - so check first and always book ahead, even though you may end up dining alone if off-season or in a more remote destination. Again if you have kids more and more villages are being visited one night a week by the enterprising 'travelling pizza-man'.


There are many opportunities to have a gourmet experience here in the Loire Valley.


Michelin recommended Restaurants-Tours   (Will open in new window)




It is always cheaper to eat at lunchtime (12.00 / 2.30),we would suggest that you aim to be seated by 1.00pm at the latest and if you find a quality restaurant this could be the time to try it. Even for standard restaurants midweek is best as they can sometimes increase their prices at the weekends. Always book evening meals where you can and don't expect to be served before 7.30 pm. Weekend lunchtimes are also best booked in advance.


What to choose?

You do not have to take the 'à la carte' option as most of what's on it will normally be found on the fixed price( prix fixe) menu. In large towns or cities you will normally be shown the 'menu touristique' but you are not obliged to take it. Although these can sometimes be good value for money you will not come away with a feeling of having had a gastronomic experience! Most restaurants have English translations but those that don't are happy to talk you through the menu --remember be adventurous.


Which wine?

This is very much a personal choice but in many restaurants this will be where a large part of their profit is generated. Don't be surprised to see familiar wines on the menu with a very inflated prices. Choice can be very much dependant  on your budget but opting for a carafe of house red or white wine is normally a good option. If buying a bottle why not take the opportunity to try one from the area you are visiting. Many village restaurants offer a free carafe of wine with their excellent value lunchtime menus.


Where, when and whatever you eat and drink we wish you

'Bon Appétit'






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"Author: Jim Craig"