Delicious Drives in France:


by - 15 June 2017

Desperate for a weekend away? Want to go by car? Then follow this guide to a road trip to Chinon.

Motoring around the Châteaux of the Loire Valley, Part 2: Chinon

Troglo Degusto (visit to ancient tufa quarries, with food and wine tasting – for your travel companions)

So, we’ve arranged a nice surprise for you, less than an hour’s drive from Chinon in the Range Rover. First of all you’ll be visiting the little town of Bourré, where there’s lots to see. Then there’s Stéf, the man in charge, who will act as your guide and, as you’ll surely discover, he’s a lovely guy with a passionate flair and endless knowledge when it comes to the old tufa quarries. “Tufa, what’s that?” you may well ask. Well, it’s the stone that was used for building the entire region’s Châteaux, churches and stately homes.

The quarrymen extracted the rock by hand, digging for miles under the earth from as early as the 11th century. Imagine the backbreaking work! And they were working at a constant temperature of 12°C (i.e. it wasn’t exactly warm).

Stéf has explored at least 20 kilometres of tunnels, which during the German Occupation were used for smuggling people into unoccupied areas of France and now provide an ideal environment for growing mushrooms.

The tour by torchlight lasts an hour and a half and please be reassured that Stéf has never lost anyone in the tunnels! Listening to his stories, you’ll learn all about the history of the region and you’ll even discover the names of some of the tunnels during your tour…

Like all good things, the tour ends with a tasting of local drinks produced by his wife’s family, with cheese, rillettes (potted pork), mushrooms stuffed with garlic, chocolate and strawberries. In a word, heaven!

It’s time to hit the road again.

Village of Montrésor

Your exploration of the area around Chinon continues, this time with a visit to the village of Montrésor. As we’re sure you’ll agree, it’s one of the most beautiful villages in the whole of France.

You can’t miss the Château de Montrésor, the historic village centre and the banks of the Indrois.

We recommend taking a stroll around the village, and joining a local rambling trail: the terrasses de l'Indrois.

You’ll have a charming view of the village, a place for romance if ever there was one.

You know what? After this little excursion, you’re going to spend the night in another Château! Some people have all the luck…

Château de Rochecotte

So… dinner and a good night’s sleep in an 18th-century stately home with baroque-style rooms and suites. This was once the residence of Duchess Dorothée de Dino and Prince Talleyrand. You’ll immediately feel something special in the air. The Château de Rochecotte... an aristocratic residence, transformed into a 4-star hotel in 1984.

If you can, take time to enjoy the swimming pool, the terrace and surrounding park grounds.

The interior, too, is charming, decorated with consummate taste and the staff are friendly and welcoming.

Try the gourmet restaurant at dinner time because, the following morning the adventure continues. Not, of course, before you have partaken in a hearty breakfast to regain your strength for the road.

Montplaisir winery

Today we shall be moving ever closer to Chinon... why not let your travel companions to taste the local wines (Chinon, Ligré, Savigny en veron, etc.) and the Monplaisir winery is just the place. Here, three winegrowers present their wines in the old quarries, spreading over an area of more than 2,500m2. And the icing on the cake? It’s all free!

More than 700 casks of wine are stored here as part of the ageing process. And, it must be said, this is the perfect environment for them.

We were really made to feel at home by Pascale, who’s certainly mastered her field of expertise. She knows the region like the back of her hand and speaks of its wines with love and enthusiasm. A real character - we just love her!

You can even organise an event here or hire the place for a private function.

Want to continue your tour? The next stop is Saumur and its surroundings.


Stop one: Bourré - Troglo Degusto

Stop two: Montrésor - Château de Montrésor

Stop three: Coteaux sur Loire - Château de Rochecotte

Stop four: Chinon - Montplaisir winery

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