Thursday, 18 September 2014

Market Shopping in the Touraine Loire Valley

One of the highlights of many people's visit to France is a visit with us to one of the best traditional produce markets in the Touraine Loire Valley. Fruit, vegetable and mushroom growers, fishmongers, butchers (some of them specialists in pork products or horse or even offal!), poulterers, apiarists, cheesemakers and bakers all have stalls to sell their locally grown produce. It's lively and full of locals, the stalls are laid out with appetising and tempting displays of fresh food.

People queue at the offal butcher's on the left, for vegetables grown just across the river on the right and chat with friends in the middle.

If you would like to soak up the atmosphere at a typical rural farmers' market in the Touraine Loire Valley email us and we will design a tour for you that includes a visit to Loches market (Wednesdays and Saturdays only).

Monday, 8 September 2014

Taste Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin, the famous French upside down apple tart, was created by a pair of sisters who ran an inn in the Sologne, the area around the Chateau of Cheverny. It was an instant hit with the diners and can now be found on menus all over France.

A baker turns out Tarte Tatin in the sun at a local market. His apprentice is making little deep fried garlic and parsley puffs (samples freely offered).

If you would like to sample Tarte Tatin or other local delicacies, email us and we will design a tour where we lunch at restaurants serving traditional food produced in the area and shop at markets like the one above.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Christmas at Chenonceau

Most of our clients never get to see the spectacular Christmas decorations which adorn the interior of the chateau of Chenonceau from late November. The lavish flower arrangements in every room throughout the year, changed twice a week and created from flowers grown on the estate, are an unexpected treat for many clients, so it is rather a shame we don't often take clients during the festive period, when the chateau really goes into overdrive with the flowers and other seasonal decorations.
Our apologies for the quality of the photo above, which is from late November 2013, and taken by Susan. She was with clients at the time, and her rule is that if she is taking good photos while she has clients, she isn't focusing on the clients sufficiently. One thing you will notice is that she and her clients, an American family of four (11 year old Harrison is hamming it up in the background), were the only people in the room (in this case the servants' dining hall). Normally this room is packed with people and it is impossible to take a photo that doesn't have a crowd in it.

If you are going to be in France in late November and want to see chateaux virtually empty of visitors other than us, email us and we will design a tour for you. March is also very quiet in the Loire Valley, but by then the Christmas decorations will be all packed away again.