Thursday 22 September 2011

This Summer in the Touraine du Sud

The weather may not always have been good, but visitors came in good numbers to the Touraine du Sud (the area around Loches, south of Tours) this year and those in the tourism industry are happy. The Loches Tourist Office reports that 28 000 people passed through this summer, an increase of 2000 on last year. Foreign tourists were a high proportion of the visitor numbers this year. The Tourist Office is pleased that their promotional campaigns seem to have been effective, and Loches is now recognised as a warmly welcoming destination by those outside France.

From the Logis Royal, Loches spreads out before you.
Across the sector, one noticeable trend has been more short breaks, taken at the last minute. We certainly received a lot of last minute enquiries, but sadly we had to disappoint many travellers, as we are usually booked out well in advance.

As well as making the decision to take a holiday later, visitors are being careful with their spending, demanding value for money. We are entirely sympathetic to this approach and we pride ourselves in always choosing restaurants that combine a friendly atmosphere with tasty well presented food at an affordable price. Many visitors come for the chateaux and other cultural sites, but those wanting a gourmet experience are starting to notice Loches and surrounds too.

If you would like a few days in the Touraine du Sud, visiting grand chateaux and gardens, hidden gems in villages still far from the main tourist trail and eating at restaurants that use fresh local ingredients, then email us.

Monday 12 September 2011

Be the First to Taste a Unique Wine

In August we visited the Vouvray winemakers at Chateau Gaudrelle with Ann and Steve from Los Angeles. We were met by Charles, the Visitor Services Manager and given a tour of the cellars and winemaking facilities followed by a tasting and the opportunity to purchase the wine.
In the cellar Charles pointed out a crate of a new wine that they are developing. He thinks they may be the only winery making a sparkling sec tendre (a wine that has just 1g more sugar than a true dry style). It wasn't quite ready to be put on the shelves and sold yet, but it was maturing very well and he said he would like our opinion on it. We were all very favourably impressed and felt it was a wine that would appeal to a wide range of tastes. At the end of the tasting Charles very generously gave the opened bottle to our clients to have with their evening meal.

We work hard at developing relationships with quality wineries such as Château Gaudrelle, and as a consequence our clients are offered an exclusive experience. If you are interested in more than just a standard wine tasting, email us and let us arrange your winery visits.

Friday 2 September 2011

Meeting the Gardener at la Chatonnière

One of the highlights of Sue Pearlstine's week with us was meeting Ahmed Azéroual, the award winning Head Gardener at la Chatonnière. Sue is a professional landscape gardener from California. She asked us to design a 5 day tour which covered as many of the important Loire Valley gardens as possible.

We chose la Chatonnière because it is a beautiful garden, close to the more famous Villandry, so we could visit them on the same day. As part of the visit we arranged for Sue to spend some time with Ahmed, who prior to coming to la Chatonnière, was Head Gardener at Villandry. They were firm friends immediately, and their mutual love of plants and gardening shone through.

If you would like us to arrange something special just for you, email us and ask.