Tasting everything France has to offer will be a big part of any holiday to the country – and if you’re visiting one of our luxury villas in the Loire Valley the opportunities for gourmet indulgence are varied and pretty darn tempting. We’ve rustled up some of the best foodie experiences in Loire Valley for you to enjoy, so get reading and get hungry!
1. Chateau de Petit Thouars, Saint-Germain-sur-Vienne
Winemaking is in the blood at this family-owned chateau, which has been in the hands of the Petit Thouars family since 1636. It was the current generation of owners, Yves and Marguerite du Petit Thouars, who developed the 15-hectare estate as it currently stands. Come here to tour the Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc vines and to see the cellar, before tasting the wines and – should you fancy it – settling in for a picnic among the vines. For an extra special experience, embark on a guided boat tours, during which you and your pals can sip on a selection of Chateau du Petit Thouars vintages while floating down the famous waterway that gives this region its name.
Price Range: ££
Location: 37500 Saint-Germain-sur-Vienne, France
Bookings: Online at Chateau de Petit Thousars
2. RiverLoire, Various Locations
France’s reputation for culinary excellence is pretty much unrivalled. So much so, that UNESCO even gave the “gastronomic meal of the French” a spot on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. No one better to show you around a French kitchen than a native chef with bags of culinary know-how. With RiverLoire, you can take a two-hour class held in a private residence – you’ll soon be a dab hand at French classics such as tarte tatin and roast game. After getting familiar with the basics of French gastronomy, you’ll get to taste the fruits of your labour for yourself. The feast will include an aperitif, a three-course meal served with local wines and a café gourmand.
Location: 26 rue de la Concorde, 37400 Amboise, Loire Valley, France
Bookings: Online at RiverLoire
3. Les Halles de Tours, Tours
The Loire Valley is a fertile powerhouse, producing large quantities of wheat and vegetables, as well as other gastronomic goods such as cheese and perhaps most importantly, wine. If you plan on getting some use out of your villa’s kitchen, you’ll need to stock the pantry with provisions. Do you shop at this large food market in Tours. Meat, seafood, freshly baked bread, plump fruit, potent cheeses, aromatic spices… this market stocks everything you need to put your newfound French cooking skills to use.
Location: Place Gaston Pailhou, Tours, France
Bookings: Online at Halles de Tours
4. Restaurant La Maison d’à Côté, Montlivault
This Michelin-starred gem is located in an incongruously modest French country village. Expect a hearty, warm welcome at this restaurant where chefs are known to occasionally deliver the food direct to the table and even describe each dish in detail. The creative cooking is designed to showcase the best of local produce and the menu changes according to the season.
Location: 25 Rue de Chambord, 41350 Montlivault, France
Bookings: Call +33 2 54 20 62 30
5. Max Vauché Chocolatier, Bracieux
A holiday is the time to yield to temptations and gorge on all things delicious. While you’re indulging, be sure to squeeze in a visit to this prize-winning chocolatier. You’ll learn about the secrets of chocolate production, from the cultivation of cocoa through to the manufacturing of the final product. After touring the factory, it’s time for the highlight of the visit: tasting the heavenly handmade treats.
Location: 22 Les Jardins du Moulin, 41250 Bracieux, France
Bookings: Online at Max Vauche Chocolatier
6. Restaurant La Parenthèse, Orléans
Gauging how busy a restaurant is a decent barometer of the quality of food it serves. Securing a table at this permanently busy eatery without a booking is nigh impossible, so dining here will require a little forward planning. You’ll be glad you made the effort once you begin eating. The food, classic old-school French fare (think chateaubriand beef with Madeira sauce, duck foie gras and roast veal) is supremely satisfying.
Location: 26 Place du Châtelet, 45000 Orléans, France
Bookings: Call +33 2 38 62 07 50
7. Mamie Bigoude, Tours
From the outside, this family-friendly creperie looks unassuming, but inside lies a colourful and kitschy interior, with each dining room representing a different room within a normal house. You may find yourself eating in the bathroom, for instance, or perhaps in the bedroom. The menu offers a wide range of choices, but galettes are their speciality and taste best washed down with some refreshing locally produced cider.
Location: 22 Rue de Châteauneuf, 37000 Tours, France
Bookings: Call +33 2 47 64 53 85
8. L’Orangerie, Chateau de Chenonceau, Chenonceaux
Chateau de Chenonceau, or the ‘ladies chateau’ as it’s also known, is one of the most popular in the Loire Valley, and lest you can resist the extraordinary charms of its picture-perfect bridge, it’s likely you’ll find yourself here at some point during your stay. And when you do, be sure to eat at the chateau’s Orangerie, where the food – though delectable – fights with the view of the flower-filled gardens for diners’ attention. With its historic setting and verdant vistas, it’s a place to linger over a long, leisurely lunch.
Location: Le Chateau de Chenonceau, 37150 Chenonceaux,France
Bookings: Call 33 2 47 23 91 97 / firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Restaurant Chateau de Pray,Amboise
Leave the tie behind for dinner at this relaxed and welcoming Michelin-starred joint. Set in yet another one of region’s majestic chateaux, the atmospheric interior features antique oils and other remnants from past centuries. The menu embodies the cuisine of the region, with each dish built around whatever produce is available locally, which may include the likes of cod, duck or guinea fowl.
Location: Rue du Cèdre, 37530 Chargé, France
Bookings: Online at Chateau De Pray
10. Auberge du Bon Laboureur, Chenonceaux
This fine-dining restaurant set in an 18th-Century inn provides a subdued escape for travellers who have been touring the nearby Chenonceau Chateau. With the set lunch option, you can eat top-shelf Michelin-star cuisine without breaking the bank. On fine days, request to sit in the characterful courtyard, where the tables are flanked by trees and shrubs.
Location: 6 Rue Bretonneau, 37150 Chenonceaux
Bookings: Call +33 2 47 23 90 02
If you just can’t wait to get started, our concierge team is on hand to help you find the perfect Loire Valley villa – just click on the link to get in touch with them! We can even give you a hand if you’re looking to get married in the region! Check out our blog on the most romantic places to get married in the Loire Valley for more details.