Touraine Azay-le-Rideau

Eating, drinking and Sleeping

Restaurant – L’Aigle d’Or
10 Rue Adelaïde Riché
T: + 33 2 47 45 24 58
F: + 33 2 47 45 90 18
Set in a modest town house outside of the centre of Azay, this restaurant comes very highly recommended. There are three separate dining rooms seating a total of 45 guests. Ghislaine and Jean-Luc Fèvre have consistently delivered good, honest well cooked, traditional dishes that respect the seasons, billing their daily changing menu as Cuisine du Marché. Specialities include a combined Foie Gras and Langoustine dish and Blanquette de Sandre. The wine list is excellent with a fantastic selection of older vintages of Azay-le-Rideau back to the 1970s and even older for some other classic Loire appellations. On our last visit we drank a 1988 Demi-Sec from the late Robert Denis (the best producer of his generation) at a very modest 23 Euros. The list is full of bargains if one is prepared to take a chance on something that might not be instantly recognisable. Closed Wednesday and Sunday evening, Tuesday evening out of season, and Monday evening between December and March. Annual closure: last two weeks of November and from mid-January to middle of March and first week of September. Exceptional value given the quality of the food and wine list. (Last dined 06/11)

Hotel – Biencourt
7 Rue Balzac
T: + 33 2 47 45 20 75
Open April to start of November, this pretty 16 roomed hotel has had a fairly recent face-lift. Just a few paces away from the château, it is set in an 18th Century Maison Tourangelle which once served the town as a primary school. At the rear, there is a pretty floral terrace where breakfast is served during the season. Recommended (although I haven't stayed here under the new regime) and inexpensive.

Hotel-Restaurant – Le Grand Monarque
3 Place de la République
T: + 33 2 47 45 40 08
F: + 33 2 47 45 46 25
This is the main hotel in Azay-le-Rideau, although there are alternatives. There are 28 rooms and some have been recently renovated, although the quality of the furnishing of the rooms could be considerably better: uncomfortable beds and cheap linen and pillows. 

Between 1900 and 1988 it was owned and operated by the same family, the Jacquets who, during their tenure received an array of famous guests, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, President Truman and the Queen Mother. 

The restaurant has also seen an upgrade, although sadly the great wine list that once existed under the previous regime has very sadly disappeared. There is now only one choice of grower from within the appellation - Nicolas Paget - although there are a couple of older examples which date back to the time when James Paget still made the wine. The food is certainly not traditional, with a distinct acknowledgement towards the east; they even serve a South African lamb curry! The food is good, if a little bizarre when one considers that their mainly international clientele would probably prefer to experience some regional cuisine. Expect to pay more than you'd like and take your own pillow... (Last stayed 06/11)

Restaurant with rooms – Auberge Pom’Poire
Route de Vallères-Lionnière
T: + 33 2 47 45 83 00
F: + 33 2 47 45 22 34
Located in open countryside some four kilometres north-west of the town, this modest auberge serves traditional cuisine and has six brightly decorated rooms. Closed between mid-December and mid-January and on Sunday evenings; except in season.

Hotel-Restaurant – des Châteaux
2 Route de Villandry
T: + 33 2 47 45 94 95
F: + 33 2 47 45 68 29
This 27 bedroom hotel gives the impression that it is in the centre of town although the reality is that it sits on the busy Tours to Chinon road opposite the local supermarket. It might be fine for those fit enough to walk the ten minutes into the centre of Azay, but expect a steep climb back up the hill on the return leg. There is a restaurant on site serving traditional food, but unless you’re considering a swift one night stop and need somewhere convenient, then I can’t think of much reason to either stay or dine here. Open from February to October.

Hotel-Restaurant – Val de Loire
50/52 Rue Nationale
T: + 33 2 47 45 28 29
F: + 33 2 47 45 91 19
This Best Western hotel is in the centre of town offers 27 rooms. Rated three stars, there is a seventy cover restaurant serving modest regional dishes.

Hotel-Restaurant – Les 3 Lys
2 Rue du Château
T: + 33 2 47 45 34 36
F: + 33 2 47 45 20 36
Les Lys is a very basic two star operation that offers 12 rooms above its bar-restaurant.

Restaurant – La Salamandre
Place de la République
T: + 33 2 47 45 39 84
F: + 33 2 47 45 29 19
On the edge of the main square in town, this local institution offers traditional dishes alongside the ubiquitous pizza and salads. 

Restaurant – Côté-Cour
19 Rue Balzac
T: + 33 2 47 45 30 36
This is a relative new venture with 24 covers inside and a terrace in the rear garden. Located next to the entrance to the château, it sets out to exploit (in the best possible way) the tourists who are obliged to walk past its door. I haven’t eaten here but it is an attractive looking place serving traditional dishes. Closed for the first six weeks of the year and Wednesday and Thursday out of season. 

Restaurant – La Ridelloise
34-36 Rue Nationale
T/F: + 33 2 47 45 46 53
This is another long-standing restaurant in the centre of town. It serves traditional food in two separate salons. 

Restaurant – Les Grottes
23 Rue Pineau
T: + 33 2 47 45 21 04
F: + 33 2 47 45 92 51
Yet another long-standing institution, Les Grottes has two separate dining areas both lit by candlelight. A former a wine cellar, this troglodytic restaurant serves traditional food and generally panders to the tourists. There is the option to dine on the front terrace during the season.  

Chambres d’hôtes – Le Clos Philippa
10 Rue de Pineau
T: + 33 2 47 45 26 49
Set in a delightful old house just a few metres away from the entrance to the château. The rooms are large and well appointed with a typical French feel.

Chambres d’hôtes - Château de l’Aulée
Route de Tours
T: + 33 2 47 45 44 24
F: + 33 2 47 45 44 34
Winegrowers Arnaud and Marielle Henrion offer three rooms in this impressive maison de maître dating back to 1856 and set within the domaines own vineyard. It is located a couple of kilometres from the centre of the town.

Chambres d’hôtes – Le Trogolododo
9, Chemin des Caves Mecqueline

T: + 33 2 47 45 31 25
Monsieur and Madame Sarrazin offer two well appointed troglodyte cottages just a few minutes drive east of the town.

Hotel-Restaurant – La Clé d’Or
T: + 33 2 47 96 70 26
La Clé d’Or offers clean if plain rooms, although the main attraction here is the river front location and the view from its simple restaurant terrace that looks out over Loire. Expect simple home-cooking. 

Hotel-Restaurant – Auberge du XIIe Siècle
1 Rue du Château
T: + 33 2 47 26 88 77
Located in the centre of the village in an ancient Tavern, it claims to be one of the oldest hostelries in the country as well as boasting a Michelin star. Closed the first week of June and the first week of September, plus mid November and most of January. Also Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday lunch. 

Retail Opportunities

Boulanger-Pâtissier – Paradis Gourmand
25 Rue Nationale
T: + 33 2 47 45 41 18
Expect to find the best selection of bread and pastries in town, it comes highly recommended. 

Charcuterie – Hardouin
22 Rue Nationale
T: 33 2 47 45 40 50
Famous for producing the best charcuterie in the Loire, Hardouin have their base in Vouvray but have recently opened this shop in the centre of town. Charcuterie doesn’t get better than this…

Caviste – Au Vin de Loire
26 Rue Gambetta
T: + 33 2 47 72 71 20
P: + 33 6 88 89 18 30
This is the retail front of the newly operational Chateau La Cour, the shop is open from Easter until October.

Caviste – Couly-Dutheil
22 Rue Balzac
T: + 33 2 47 45 43 19
The famous Chinon producer also has a dedicated shop in the centre of Azay. 

Caviste - Produits Régionaux
20 Rue Balzac
T: + 33 2 47 28 62 20
Madame Touchard has a close association with the local producer, Domaine du Haut-Baigneux and also stocks the wines of Bernard Baudry from Chinon. There is also a good selection of other regional gourmet delights.

Retail – Maison de Pays Touraine
Ferme des Joncs
T: + 33 2 47 73 20 50
This glorified farm stall is situated between the tourist attractions of Azay-le-Rideau and Villandry. One can expect to find a wide range of regional products on offer, from wine, cheese, foie-gras, jam, honey to the famous poire tapées and even locally grown saffron. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10h00-12h00 and 15h00-19h00. Closed Wednesdays, except during July and August.

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