Sunday, April 2, 2017

Heading for the Loire Valley

This year we have partners in crime when we head out Friday for 9 weeks in France. Our dear friends Janis and Clark Hunsinger visited for 2 weeks when we visited Languedoc, living in Thézan-les-Béziers. Then they stayed a month with us in the Dordogne. This year, they will spend 7 of the 9 weeks, so joint noodling increased the fun of planning this trip.

We settled on the western Loire Valley, not far from Angers. (Red dot on the map) About 3 hours from Paris.
Red marker is location of Vauchrétien, the postal address for our gîte.
Wines, châteaux, royal history, and access to Normandy and Brittany should we be so moved. We're renting a cottage found through Airbnb, in the countryside about 17 km (11 miles) from Angers, a reasonably-sized town with, of course, a castle with important history.
Angers Castle

We're a little worried because getting croissants in the morning means driving a couple kilometers to the bakery. Too far to walk this time. But the location sounds charming and our interactions with our hostess have been very comfortable even when negotiating costs.

We're trying to pack lighter this year knowing that the weather will warm as the weeks pass. Temperatures range from night-time of high 40s to day-time highs in the 60s and 70s. Layers are important. Of course, they do have stores in France should we forget something. I feel like we are creating more lists this time, perhaps in response to becoming more forgetful as we get older. But I feel like there are more pills, ankle braces, and physical therapy equipment that will take the space of clothes we leave behind. Oh, well. We're not in our rocking chairs yet.

Our cottage has 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms so we have room for some family and friends to visit which we really enjoy.
Les Celliers
Of course we have a full kitchen, some outdoor space and a washer and dryer. Our hostess has an additional business selling antique linens. Could it be more perfect?

Once more we've leased a Peugeot diesel. That way we get a new car, insurance and no issues with mileage. We sell the car back to Peugeot when we leave and the cost is considerably less than renting. Of course, the Euro is more favorable this time compared to the US Dollar. It's almost 1 to 1 right now. (We'll see if that holds.)  So prices of everything are more favorable this time. This area also seems to be less expensive than our stay in the Dordogne.

At home, we've put our mail, TV, US phones, and newspaper on vacation mode. (Not always an easy thing and a lot of elevator music while on hold.) Family members will watch the house, mow, water plants, and mail birthday cards as needed. Credit cards now have chips and most can provide pins, so those have all been notified of our vacation plans and new pins have been provided. (Cue the elevator music). My French phone has been turned on, Dave's has been unearthed and Dave found the Euros we had left from 2015. Phone numbers have been shared with our family and friends.

Dave's been reading guide books to the region and making lists on his phone so we'll never be bored. (Fat chance!) About half will come with us. So I think we're nearly ready. I'll try to blog regularly about our new place. I know for me, it's really the only way I can remember all the details of our trip even though the tastes, the sun, and the peace of our trips is indelibly printed on my soul.


  1. I will look forward to seeing it through your eyes! Enjoy each and every day

  2. Excited to follow along! The cottage looks exactly how I imagined - beautiful!