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Where to go in France for fabulous food;a great village


Abra
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I can tell that Beaune is lacking in tourisitification by the dearth of furnished rental houses advertised right in town. We have to be where we can walk to the boulangerie, that's pretty non-negotiable. And the bar-tabac and boucherie should be really close too. So we're not actually looking in the countryside per se, although we will have a car.

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Abra, how exciting! My plans have also changed as our Avignon apartment fell through. Instead, just booked plane tickets that will put is in the country for six weeks, starting the last week of September. I think we'll be renting or buying a car and just driving all around the country for the whole time.

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Abra, when you're looking at Burgundy, check out the Morvan. It's a parc naturel, in the heart of Burgundy, with a very distinct landscape and beautiful old villages ,for instance, Autun. The cathedral in Autun is one of my favorite churches in the whole wide world.

We've been on vacation there a couple of times and found it quieter than the rest of Burgundy, possibly because there is no winegrowing going on - but ofcourse the winegrowing areas of Burgundy are never far away.

I agree with Chufi. Autun is a nice place. Great Roman amphitheatre.

At least one nice restaurant that we sampled.

Which one?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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It should be remembered that Abra and her husband intend to spend one whole year in that French town or village, including the Winter months.

Some places are lovely in Spring and Summer and still lovely in Winter, but they can be quite dreary at that time. Morvan is one of those very quiet places, which I would pick without any hesitation for a Summer stay, but I'd think twice about staying there during the Winter months (which are also terribly cold in Morvan). Northern Burgundy is also very quiet outside of the Summer and grape harvest season. Which is why the initial Mâcon-Beaujolais region looked more appealing: more cheerful, with more of a "life" in Winter, and close to the TGV line.

Equally "alive" all the year round would be places like the Gard, Ardèche, Southwest, Northern Provence. Some parts of the Deep Southwest (Quercy, Périgord) and Auvergne are also lovely, lively and friendly, but the commute to Paris would be longer since they're only connected by Train Corail.

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I can tell that Beaune is lacking in tourisitification by the dearth of furnished rental houses advertised right in town.  We have to be where we can walk to the boulangerie, that's pretty non-negotiable.  And the bar-tabac and boucherie should be really close too.  So we're not actually looking in the countryside per se, although we will have a car.

Abra,

Beaune, while the capital of Burgundy, is still a geographically small place. Even if you find a house outside of the walls it's OK as most of everything is within a 15 minute walk of everything else. I've gone from the North Gate to Place Madeleine on foot in less than 15 minutes (I used to stay at the Henry II when I first started going to Beaune).

I suggest you look at sites like www.Seloger.com and www.PAP.fr (person-to-person) to find something. You might also want to contact the local mairie to introduce yourself and ask for advice.

I am so jealous...! :wacko:

Cheers! :cool:

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We loved Beaune during our visit last year. Certainly a very accesible city.

HERE is the link to a blog written by a young woman from Victoria, BC, who married a French man and is now living just outside of Beaune. Great reading, and it will give you an terrific idea of what life will hold for you year-round.

A.

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We loved Beaune during our visit last year.  Certainly a very accesible city. 

HERE is the link to a blog written by a young woman from Victoria, BC, who married a French man and is now living just outside of Beaune.  Great reading, and it will give you an terrific idea of what life will hold for you year-round.

A.

Beaune is one of my favorite small cities in France. Bookmarked the blog to read at leisure!

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Which one?

I was afraid someone would ask. Pretty sure that it was "Le Chalet Bleu'. It was just off the main square, near the bottom. Nice as I said not outstanding.

We also went to a niceish (is that a word) place up near the cathedral. They seemed to be the only place open on a Sunday night.

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Dear Abra, if you go to Beaune, you will be within an easy day trip to Lyon as well. Coincedentally, I have been exploring the region lately and it is very pretty country. Wine country and lots of good food. You can read on my blog where we've been exploring around there. Contact me personally if you need help locating a rental. :smile:

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It should be remembered that Abra and her husband intend to spend one whole year in that French town or village, including the Winter months.

Some places are lovely in Spring and Summer and still lovely in Winter, but they can be quite dreary at that time. Morvan is one of those very quiet places, which I would pick without any hesitation for a Summer stay, but I'd think twice about staying there during the Winter months (which are also terribly cold in Morvan). Northern Burgundy is also very quiet outside of the Summer and grape harvest season. Which is why the initial Mâcon-Beaujolais region looked more appealing: more cheerful, with more of a "life" in Winter, and close to the TGV line.

Just to confirm the comments made by Ptipois, i have a house in the morvan, last year i spent around 3 1/2 months there around the year. To me it is the most idylic of places, the house is 2200 metres above sea level, fields and hills abound and quite remote (as prefered) Car essential. The temperature last summer was 43 degrees C on many occasions, the winter saw temperatures of minus 20 for at least one month, snow volumes brought down trees and electricity cables - not good when you are trying to watch Little House on the Prairie (1st season) on the DVD and you are plunged into darkness as the electricity disappears for three days - nice hot chocolate though. The people, the scenery, the food, the life it really is la vie en miele for me, it is perfect i love the definate changes in seasons and the effects this has had on the way the population over the generations have defined their culinary requirements. Others may find it somewhat difficult to say the least.

Dave Hadfield wrote:

was afraid someone would ask. Pretty sure that it was "Le Chalet Bleu'. It was just off the main square, near the bottom. Nice as I said not outstanding.

It certainly is Le Chalet Bleu with an excellent deli just next door, i would say quite nice, the value for money is outstanding. Try the brasserie hotel de ville across the road for a good simple homemade lunch or the Restaurant des Ramparts a little further down the street for good family cooking.

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I feel like a yo-yo! Now it turns out that we could also go to Lyon, Bordeaux, or Reims once a month. I need to decide in the next 10 days or so. Reims doesn't speak to me, but Lyon and Bordeaux sure do, although in different ways. The Morvan sounds wonderful to visit, but definitely not as a year-round place for us.

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I feel like a yo-yo!  Now it turns out that we could also go to Lyon, Bordeaux, or Reims once a month.  I need to decide in the next 10 days or so.  Reims doesn't speak to me, but Lyon and Bordeaux sure do, although in different ways.  The Morvan sounds wonderful to visit, but definitely not as a year-round place for us.

Reims is nice but the weather is so-so, even in summer, and in winter it's quite dreary. As an avowed bubblehead, I tend to visit the smaller Champagne makers as often as possible, and while I do like Reims I always had the impression it was a bit cold (in personality).

Lyon is also quite nice, the food's excellent, but I found the people to be a bit less sophisticated than they think they are. Still, it was a pretty town. I was there for the first time in February and posted pictures online, they can be found HERE.

I still prefer Beaune. :wub:

And Abra, you asked me on another forum if I'm in the wine biz, yes, I'm a broker/importer.

I'll be in Beaune in mid-July and other regions during that month.

Cheers! :cool:

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Lyon is also quite nice, the food's excellent, but I found the people to be a bit less sophisticated than they think they are. 

My experience in Lyon from an insider is that it depends on what you are here for. It is something quite bragged about in some arenas Michelin stars and all that. People come thinking it's the land of milk and honey from a tourists perspective and forge their opinions from there - from the cooks perspective, the possibilities are endless, your choice. There still are many really good places to eat if you plan to spend a year here. A good long list. Lots of good local restos to choose from, not much ego and just quality involved, which is a good thing if you plan to spend time in the city. Good quality of life here and availability of ingredients, especially if you can score a good kitchen and cook.

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My experience in Lyon from an insider is that it depends on what you are here for.  It is something quite bragged about in some arenas Michelin stars and all that.  People come thinking it's the land of milk and honey from a tourists perspective and forge their opinions from there - from the cooks perspective, the possibilities are endless, your choice.  There still are many really good places to eat if you plan to spend a year here. A good long list.  Lots of good local restos to choose from, not much ego and just quality involved, which is a good thing if you plan to spend time in the city.  Good quality of life here and availability of ingredients, especially if you can score a good kitchen and cook.

I agree, I ate quite well while I was there (Maison Rousseau in Les Halles was amazing). I do wish I'd been there longer, but I still had time to do the tourist thing as well as wandering through town, the best way to really see a place.

Still, I do love Beaune, something about it really speaks to me.

Cheers! :cool:

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I'd go to Lyon just because bleudauvergne is there, and who better to show you the local food scene? :biggrin: (Not that I'm volunteering her services, but seriously, you could just work through her blog and you'd get great eating and food shopping with nary a problem!).

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I'd go to Lyon just because bleudauvergne is there...

I was thinking the exact same thing! I'm eager to see what your final decision is, and look forward to seeing your posts from France throughout your time there. I think many of us will be living vicariously through you.

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  • 3 weeks later...

And the winner is....uh...wanna vote? We're totally hung up on deciding between Semur-en-Auxois in Burgundy, and Uzes, way down south.

Foodwise, I don't know that one calls louder than the other to me, but how about you? Semur is more expensive, being closer to Paris. The further you get from Paris the more house your money will rent, I've definitely found that out. Semur is pretty much all-French, whereas I gather that Uzes has some to a lot of ex-pats. House in Semur is likewise smaller, whereas Uzes has a pool and more rooms. Really, I'd so appreciate any insight any of you care to share in the next 24 hours or so. The houses await us, all we have to do is sign.

So, what say you all?

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Abra, I just reread this thread. What does your husband say? Semur is a LOT closer to Paris than Uzes is. Otherwise, though, they're both lovely towns. Also, is climate a consideration at all?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Abra - since this seems to be an all-time lousy summer in northern France, the only advice I can give is to go as far south as possible which would seem to say Uzes.

However I've just heard on the radio that several of the events at the Aix festival (en Provence rather than la Chapelle) have been rained out.

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And the winner is....uh...wanna vote?  We're totally hung up on deciding between Semur-en-Auxois in Burgundy, and Uzes, way down south.

Foodwise, I don't know that one calls louder than the other to me, but how about you?  Semur is more expensive, being closer to Paris.  The further you get from Paris the more house your money will rent, I've definitely found that out.  Semur is pretty much all-French, whereas I gather that Uzes has some to a lot of ex-pats.  House in Semur is likewise smaller, whereas Uzes has a pool and more rooms.  Really, I'd so appreciate any insight any of you care to share in the next 24 hours or so.  The houses await us, all we have to do is sign.

So, what say you all?

I think you'd be very happy in Uzès, especially with a pool and more rooms. Lots of expats, sure, but the right kind, and lots of nice French people too, and artists, especially photographers. Summer photography stages in Uzès and Arles are reputed (I'm considering applying to one next year). Lovely markets, very nice atmosphere (much much nicer than the Provençal coast), not too much hype or attitude (not like Avignon or Aix).

The pool is definitely a plus. The city would not be dead in mid-winter, it keeps living and the weather is still nice, though it can be chilly (never as much as in the Morvan though!).

Semur would also be very nice, more in the way of "France profonde". It would be more of a true French experience than Uzès, though to be fair Uzès would offer a different kind of French experience (I wouldn't call living in Aix or Lubéron a truly French experience in that respect; Uzès is more authentic). Semur will also be great for food, countryside, beautiful village architecture (and Romanesque churches to die for), and the kindness of South Burgundian people. I don't know which one I would choose, both are appealing.

Both places are good starting points for exploring the regions, with Semur being a bit more central. The difference is of about 1 hour of TGV, which is not really a big difference.

Do not take the weather into account - however rotten this Summer is in France, you can never count on the weather to make up your mind, especially several months ahead. Take it as it is.

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Abra, just wanted to chime in. One of my best friends has been living in and around Bourg D'Oisans for the past 13 years. She and her husband (who is from Lyon) took a trip to Uzes this year and could not say enough good things about it. Even when we went to visit this March, they tried to urge us to make the trip there (although time did not permit this time around) and they continued to talk about Uzes during our visit with them. It sounds beautiful, with really good food and very scenic.

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Well I just can't keep quiet!

As is normal I think Ptipois is right on of the two I'd choose Uzes despite my reservation about the mistral. I'm afraid further North gets pretty damp & Grey over the winter.

Since you can go to Lyon for your husband's treatment you're in pretty good shape there. Especially with all the good guidance available on Blue's blog & on the forum.

Besides, I think its easier to get from Uzes to us so you can visit!

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All together now, Uzes, Uzes, Uzes! Thanks so much to all of you for your help, and to Busboy who hasn't been participating on this thread but sent me some great impressions of his time in Uzes.

We're planning to be there at the beginning of September, and I'm looking forward immeasurably to participating in the life of the France forum and meeting as many of you as I can once I'm sur place.

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All together now, Uzes, Uzes, Uzes!  Thanks so much to all of you for your help, and to Busboy who hasn't been participating on this thread but sent me some great impressions of his time in Uzes.

We're planning to be there at the beginning of September, and I'm looking forward immeasurably to participating in the life of the France forum and meeting as many of you as I can once I'm sur place.

Please do report back; too many folk stay silent after visits; please let us know your results. Thanks.

PS I too love Uzes.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Ok, now tell me your favorite places to eat there, special foods of the region you love, and all that. Since we'll be there a full year, that can go all the way from truffles and holiday festivities to the first fruits of spring.

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