Guide to the Loire regions


Eating, drinking and sleeping

In and around Châteaumeillant
If one is passing through the region for anything more than a couple of days, then the suggestion would be to stay and eat close to La Châtre, the neighbouring town, some 15 kilometres to the west. That said, there is one exceptional place to consider in Châteaumeillant itself.

Restaurant-Chambres d’Hôtes – Le Paradis
Inke Wiersema & Cors van Koesveld
2 Clos du Pavillon
Route de La Châtre
Opened in December 2004, this old manor house on the edge of the town operates as a gîte and chambres d’hôtes. Inke and Cors are Dutch and ran a restaurant in The Hague before seeing a ‘For Sale’ advertisement for the property and deciding to buy it and settle permanently in France. The food here is based on local and seasonal produce. It is refreshingly unfussy and simple, with the quality of the ingredients shining through. Given the restaurant is tiny (booking is essential), they carry a small but well selected range of Loire wines, including those from Domaine du Pavillon whose cellars are close by. Highly recommended, but be aware that they do not accept credit cards. 
(Last dined: 01/09)

Hotel-Restaurant – OrestOberko
21 Rue du Château
T: + 33 2 48 61 31 31
A small restaurant with rooms situated off the main square. This building once accommodated a Michelin starred establishment, but today serves a weekday menu formule. Closed on Wednesday.

Hotel-Restaurant – Les Dryades
Resort Golf & Spa
Rue du Golf
T: + 33 2 54 06 60 60
F: + 33 2 54 30 10 24
A huge purpose built golfing estate some 10 kilometres south of La Châtre and about a fifteen minute drive to the centre of the appellation’s vineyards. The building stands five stories high and can be seen for miles away. It’s something of an eyesore from the outside, an abomination of 1970s architecture, but the rooms and the restaurant offer splendid views over the Indre valley. The rooms are modern and clean, although the bathrooms are in dire need of an upgrade. If spas and golf combined with a bit of wine tourism are your thing, then this is a good base for a couple of days. The kitchens were being refurbished when I stayed, so no comment available on the in house restaurant. Breakfast is served on the top floor.
(Last stayed: 01/09)

Hotel-Restaurant – Auberge de la Petite Fadette
Place du Château Nohant
T: + 33 2 54 31 01 48
F: + 33 2 54 31 10 19
This nine roomed auberge is situated in a pretty hamlet, directly opposite the family home of the author George Sand, and takes its name from the heroine of one of her novels. The restaurant is set in a huge barn of a room with a medieval fireplace at one end and ancient wooden beams throughout. This is obviously something of a place of pilgrimage for lovers of Sand's work, and prices are reflected in the cost of the menu. The food is traditional and centred on veal, a speciality within the region. There is an impressive wine list with some great older bottles of Loire wines, including Chinon’s from Couly-Dutheil back to the 1970s. This would be the only real attraction to lure me back as the food apart from being expensive isn’t particularly inspiring.
(Last dined: 01/09)

Place du Château, Nohant

Caviste – Cave Raffault
Eric Raffault
6 Avenue Lion d’Argent
La Châtre
T: 33 2 54 48 01 13
Eric and Didier Raffault run this great little wine shop just on the edge of the town. Judging by the
sign outside, they also supply the local residents with all their liquid gaz and diesel requirements. Apart from a top selection of wines from the Berry, including the likes of Cotat, you will also find a well selected range from wider afield. Be sure to look out for their own wine, a vin de table, made from old Gamay ( Beaujolais and teinturier) in nearby Magny. 

Hotel – Restaurant – La Maison d’Orsan
Notre-Dame d’Orsan
T: + 33 2 48 56 27 50
F: + 33 2 48 56 39 64
A Relais & Château hotel situated about 30km north of Châteaumeillant. The hotel is a 17th Century priory with a refectory and dormitory which have been turned into rooms. The grounds contain a recreated monastic garden, with dishes made from their own potagé and sold in their shop and tea room.

Chambre dHôte – Estiveaux
Comtesse Bernard de Faverges
Route de La Châtre
Le Châtelet-en-Berry
T/F: + 33 2 48 56 22 64
Set in a 130 hectares park. There are three rooms and dinner is available at request. About 15km north of the appellation.

Chambre dHôte – Domaine de Vilotte
Jacques Champenier
T/F: + 33 2 48 96 04 96
This bed and breakfast is found just north of the wine village of Reigny and on the site of an ancient roman settlement. There are five rooms and dinner is served on request.

Hotel – Restaurant – Ch
âteau de la Vallée Bleu
Rue Verneuil
Saint Chartier
T: + 33 2 54 31 01 91
F: + 33 2 54 31 04 48
Michelin recommended place that’s 25 kilometres north west of the appellation. It is open from mid March to mid November only. It has a ‘good wine list’, apparently. The rooms are ‘beautifully decorated’, one being a dovecote converted to a pleasant duplex. The restaurant serves traditional recipes.

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