The Loire Valley and Normandy were just two of the amazing destinations we visited this year. One of the most rewarding (and challenging ) parts of our job is non-stop research. Each of the destinations we send our clients to is hand-picked. The accommodations, tours and restaurants we recommend are ones that we know personally. This year, we visited the Loire Valley and Normandy as one of our research and vacation trips.
Over the past few weeks, we have been sharing some of our favorite “new discoveries” and old friends in several of our destinations. These are places that we visited for the first time – and loved. They are also “old friends” – places that we have been before but re-visited to make sure they are just as amazing as we remembered. We are sharing our favorites in the Loire Valley and Normandy, France this week. Megan, BVT’s founder, visited both this year with Luigi and young son. Here are some of their favorites from the trip!
Located just a few minutes from the center of Tours, this is an excellent 4-star option and base for exploring the Loire Valley. This 19th-century chateau is located in a large park with an outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts. Each guest room and suite is unique and fitted with a mix of antique furniture and modern comforts. Our suite was located in the annex and was HUGE! (see photo) The property’s restaurant serves decent cuisine in the dining room, overlooking the pool and forest.
Chateaux Chenonceau and Chambord, Loire Valley
If you only have a day to explore the chateaux of the Loire Valley, these are the two to visit (even with the scaffolding on Chambord, it was spectacular!). Hiring a driver/guide (and in our case, kid-friendly) is the way to go when it comes to visiting castles. The history is so in-depth (too much to go into in this blog!) but also full of mystery, drama, scandal, and a bit of fun. A guide can make them all come to life. These two plus time for lunch in Amboise, will take a full day and well worth it!
This lovely “manoir” on the outskirts of Tours, serves high-quality dishes (loved the scallops) without the stuffy pomp and circumstance. The dining room is elegant (again without being too stuffy), but it’s the pleasant terrace (weather permitting) that is ideal for enjoying a perfectly made French meal on a warm day or evening.
In the interest of keeping this week “short and sweet”, this is just an introduction to what we discovered in this amazing region. Normandy has so much to offer clients and visitors, and deserves much more than what we could fit here! Keep an eye out in the future for more in-depth tips and recommendations for what was one of our favorite destinations of 2022!
This is a real gem of a place smack in the middle of charming Bayeux. Formerly a private mansion and botanical garden have been renovated into a beautiful, almost luxurious guesthouse with the perfect mix of old and new. A courtyard is a wonderful place for an aperitif or to let the kids run around. The tastefully restored rooms have satellite TV, WiFi, and a private bathroom. Some rooms have views of the courtyard or open onto the terrace. They have recently added a nice pool area to enjoy from April to October. You are in the heart of the old town so you can easily visit the Cathedral, the Bayeux Tapestry Museum, and all the lovely cobblestone streets and shops without needing a car.
run by a young husband and wife team, this is a hip, delicious and memorable spot for a lunch or meal. Taking inspiration from local cuisine and seasonal meats and seafood while adding a dash of style and skills from the school of modern cooking, As the name suggests, seafood is this restaurant’s strong point. Some of the most exquisite cod I have ever eaten!
TO DO AND SEE NEAR BAYEUX
No trip to Bayeau would be complete without visiting some of the many WWII sites. There are 5 D-day landing beaches, of which we chose to visit the two American ones (Omaha and Utah) plus the incredible and somber American cemetery. Again, we cannot stress enough the value of having a driver/guide – and the stories are important and interesting enough for children of ages 8 and up (in our humble opinion).
One way to break up the sometimes heaviness of the day is to visit the Caramels d’Isigny factory. There is a 350mq demonstration and exhibition area. Here, you can discover how caramel is made, from mixing ingredients to wrapping them together. There is also with a range of other local products such as cheese butter, oysters, apples, honey, and more. To concluded, free samples of the best, melt in your mouth sea salted caramels you will ever eat!
An absolute “must” when visiting Bayeux and one of my favorite surprises of the year. Almost 70 meters long and 50 centimeters high, the famous 11th-century tapestry tells an epic story. The conquest of England in 1066 by William the Conqueror before his accession to the English throne following the Battle of Hastings. Housed in the former Grand Seminary, this masterpiece of Romanesque art, also tells the story of life in medieval Europe. It is a perfectly preserved piece of cloth, weighing no less than 350 kilograms. It has been listed on the UNESCO “Memory of the World” register. There is an audioguide in 16 languages, along with a commentary adapted for youngsters. This helps people understand its history and how it was made. It’s a fascinating and easy (less than an hour!) exhibit for the whole family.
Loire Valley and Normandy, tailor made
We hope you enjoyed some of our newest finds (and some old friends) in two of our favorite areas of France. These are places that we have visited personally, explored as you would. Places we have eaten at, toured, and stayed the night. We inspect and hand pick everything personally to make sure your dream vacation flows perfectly.
That’s the tailor made difference.
Contact us to start planning your tailor made vacation today!