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Happy Weekend

We’re renting a car this weekend off to explore the Loire Valley. France is such a big country and besides some trips up to Normandy to see my sister we haven’t seen much outside of Paris.  If you have recommendations for places to stay or eat please leave a comment! I hope you have some fun things planned this weekend! (ps: It’s so cold! Is it time for Spring yet?)

I also write for Babble, here are my posts this week!

8 Baby Products Your Mom has never heard of.
These are the cutest dress up clothes ever.
5 of my favorite Etsy Shops.
A peek at Jason Wu’s new line at Target.
I love this new stuff from American Apparel kids.


photo from Paul’s instagram

  1. Rebekka

    January 6, 2012

    Oh, I hope y’all have so much fun!!!!

  2. Sarah @ Designsgood

    January 6, 2012

    How fun–enjoy!

  3. Lena

    January 6, 2012

    We were just in the Loire Valley in the fall – Tours is amazing esp the farmers’ market and the old town. We really liked Chinon and stayed there for a few days – it is close to many of other places. There is a great little bar (cafe Francaise). Also make sure you drive down all the bike trails – they are big enough for a car and the scenery is spectacular.

  4. teresa

    January 6, 2012

    Oh my have tons of fun.

  5. Bronwen

    January 6, 2012

    If you’re going anywhere near Saumur, I strongly recommend the restaurant l’Escargot ( It’s a fantastic little place. Have fun!

  6. terina

    January 6, 2012

    chambord and chenonceau are awesome chateaux to go and see. and orleans is a great city to visit. spent six months there as a missionary. the loire valley is one of my favorite places in france.

  7. Cathryn Ramsden

    January 6, 2012

    You should def stay at Troglododo…some wonderful cave rooms just outside Azay le Rideau (which is a lovely castle too). We stayed there a few years ago and the rooms were utterly magical. I had made my mother cycle 40 miles that day and she said it was all worth it when she saw the rooms. The prices were reasonable, the owners really friendly and the breakfast was my best ever in France!!

  8. Brooke Rane

    January 6, 2012

    I second Terina’s chateau suggestions above–Chenenceau and Chambord are two of the best castles to visit. Also, in Amboise check out Le Clos Luce, where DaVinci lived and died. It’s a little secret spot but an amazing little house, models of his inventions…with beautiful little gardens.

    I lived in Tours, too, and loved it there as well. A really charming place to visit as you drive thru the Loire. Have a fun trip!

  9. Liz K

    January 6, 2012

    I’m going to second the visit to Amboise & le Clos Luce and would recommend eating at l’Epicerie which is right on the square across from the Chateau, but our favorite Amboise restaurant is Le Parvis which is on rue Mirabeau, just off the main square.

  10. Del

    January 6, 2012

    Hi, I’m a French student from Rennes, in Britanny. I nearly discovered this part of the country this year (I used to live with my parents in the south west before I graduate), besides a part of my family comes from here.
    I do recommend you to come at least once in Britanny. It is such a beautiful place to be, to live or just to enjoy the moment. Rennes is an old town with half-timbered houses, old monuments… Well I do not know how to describe it in another way, I’m not a tourism agency… All I can, and all I got to say is that people here are so nice, and you feel so full of life in Britanny, far from big, stressful cities such as Paris or others. There is this wind, the light rain, and “something in the air” that makes you feel on holydays, anytime.

    Sorry for my English writing, I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and really like it – that’s why I also want you to discover something great (although I didn”t “made it” by myself as you do). Just plan a weekend with your kids, sit on the beach to enjoy a family picnic, praying for the rain not to fall, and that’s it. That’s Britanny as I love it.

  11. brannon

    January 6, 2012

    We go to this restaurant each time we visit the Loire area!
    La Chanceliere
    1 Rue Bellevue, 41150 Chaumont-sur-Loire, France

    We really enjoyed Château de Chenonceau with our three-year-old in September, they have a little playground. The potager were beautiful, but there might not be much there now!

    The Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray has an interesting tour where you can see how they hand turn the sparkling wine and it is a great place for tasting, with even a teeny coloring station for kids.

    We stayed at the Domaine des Bidaudieres, Rue du Peu Morier, 37210 Vouvray.
    It was a neat old house, just a teensy bit tired, but with gorgeous grounds and grapevines to run through.

    Have fun!

  12. Kacie

    January 6, 2012

    My mom had twins (my and my brother) and was sooooo jealous of my boppy. She said, “Oh my God! I could have, like, read a book or something!” I’m grateful for all the little innovations that make it easier!
    Also… I’m drooling over the Jason Wu line.


  13. Gaëlle

    January 6, 2012

    As Del did, I advise you to visit Brittany. It is such a beautiful part of France, with a deeply interesting history and a magnificient landscape. Visit Rennes, which is sort of the ‘capital’ of the region, have a walk in the old town and the park and eat at L’Auberge du Pont d’Acigné, a fabulous 1* restaurant nearby. Drive to Saint Malo, have a walk on the old battlements. The View of the sea is beautiful from there. Have ice-cream at Sanchez, they’re widely known in Ille et Vilaine for their delicious scoops! (Amour de glace is a personal favourite). Stop at Le Mont Saint Michel, a must-see. If you’re lucky enough to see it under the snow as I did once, you’ll fall in love. When it’s warm outside, you can walk from the coast to the island through the sifting sands. It’s great fun! I guess at the moment, it would be a little cold.
    Way further away, head to the very West. Camaret, first; have a walk on the cliffs and admire the Tas de Pois. Then head to the Pointe du Raz. I believe this is the furthest West France can do.
    If you’ve got enough time, doing a road trip along the coast of Brittany, visiting small ports and stopping for local food (the biscuits, galettes and palets, are amazing; they make delicious kouign amann, caramel with salted butter and, of course, crêpes) is the best you could do.
    On this road trip, you should also listen to traditional musique bretonne. Try something by the bagad de Lann-Bihoué or Nolwen Leroy’s ‘Bretonne’.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in France. Reading your posts and reading about your life amongst us is a pleasure to me!

  14. Michael Flowers

    January 6, 2012

    It feels like summer here in LA. It’s been 80+ all week. Have fun this weekend!

  15. Maggie

    January 6, 2012

    We stayed in this farmhouse b&b in Montrichard ( and rented bicycles to get to Chenonceau. It was in August when we were there and biking through fields of sunflowers and butterflies was possibly the very best vacation memory I have of all time.

  16. Gillian M

    January 6, 2012

    Love the Loire!!! There are a lot of amazing chateaux around, but I’d recommend interspersing them with other activities – I found myself chateau-ed out after a while!

    Obviously Chenonceau is beautiful. I recommend a wander through the surrounding forest area as well. I fell a little bit in love with Amboise, and the quaint surrounding village. De Vinci’s house is not far away either – a bit of a tourist’s one, but I really enjoyed it.

    There’s also a lovely atmosphere in Tours, on market day.

    Hope you have a lovely time!

  17. Casey M

    January 6, 2012

    OoOOo I’m so excited for you and your little side trip!!

    We loved our travels to the Loire Valley, and Normandy. We loved Chambord, Amboise, Chenonceau and went to a few off the beaten path (forgive my spelling as it was a few years ago…) that went by the names of Villandrie and Chateau du Riveau.

    Also, if you have a chance to go to Da Vinci’s home (Close Luce), it’s very interesting and full of stories! And there’s a castle across the street so it’s doubly fun.

    Enjoy the weekend!!

  18. Cortlan

    January 6, 2012

    I’ve studied in France several times (once in Tours), and I second all the recommendations you’ve been given! Chenonceau is a great castle to visit and has amazing grounds to wander if the weather is nice. Also, if you stop in Chenonceau, save a bit of time to see the little town there as well. Chambord is beautiful but big, and when I visited, it was unfurnished so there might be more to see at other stops. I also really enjoyed Villandry but spent most of my time outside in the gardens. Amboise truly is a great city, and Clos Luce was very interesting and fun as well (the grounds are fairly large with scale models of some of Da Vinci’s inventions). If you do stop and/or stay in Tours, I lived in one of the oldest parts of town, near Place Plumereau where there are restaurants and bars and usually lots of people (in Tours, you should see St. Marten’s basilica as well as the Tours cathedral if that interests you). Have a wonderful trip!

  19. sophie

    January 6, 2012

    a very good idea ! I live in Tours. My favourite castles are Chambord and Chenonceau. I also love going during the week-ends to visit the garden of Villandry (the castle is not so interesting). If the icecream/crêpes is open at the entrance, try one of their ice cream. The best icecream ever, that comes from le palais des glaces in Tours (Rose/ Verveine menthe is my favourite). Another great place to visit is Fontevreau Royal abbey and I never stay there but I would love to spend one night in the abbey ! The restaurant La Chancelière used to be a great great one (our favourite place), but I do not recommend you this one anymore since the chef changed last september (the same for Chateau d’Artigny). You will find a lot of good restaurants in Tours : (we love it ! ), Bardet, Les chandelles gourmandes, L’auberge du XII e siècle, in the center of Tours, in the center of the city as well. If you want to buy the typical charcuterie from Tours go to the “Bourdeau charcuterie” under the market “Les halles” in the center of Tours.
    If you go to Chinon try the pastry : tarte vigneronne (apple pie with Chinon wine) from the pastry La Feuillantine 34 Quai Jeanne d’Arc, 37500 Chinon (you can also try their “éclairs” the best ever on earth). Go in any charcuterie, they are all good. Chinon is a great place to eat and enjoy the wine !
    Have a great week end.

  20. rebeccaNYC

    January 6, 2012

    no, no, no, its not time for spring yet! here in NYC we have had a very mild fall/winter so far, and I long for some more cold cold winter days before we just slide into spring.

  21. Robin

    January 7, 2012

    Have a lovely weekend!
    Please try to stop by Leonardo da Vinci’s home, and King Francis’s Château in Amboise.
    Larry and I leave Texas each November, and spend time in our little apartment on rue de Segur. Thank you for your blog, is perfection, helping me when I am quite homesick….
    Forgive me, enough rambling…..have a perfect weekend. Looking forward to your entries next week. A bientot. Toujours, Robin

  22. Ann

    January 7, 2012

    We’ve stayed in a small village called Villeloin-Coulangé….
    The ville had the best goat cheese! We stopped by the Chartreuse du Liget biking our way to Loches and it was beautiful.

  23. Jessica

    January 7, 2012

    If you take a trip back to the States you’ll have spring! It seems like winter may have left us this year. I hope your trip is lovely! I hope to make it over to Europe sometime soon – maybe France will be on my list!

  24. Eric Bieller

    January 7, 2012

    Wow, very cool.. good luck and enjoy your trip! I’ll need some recommendations for when my wife and I move to France next year so let me know how it goes!

  25. Meg

    January 8, 2012

    I definitely agree with everyone on going to Chambord and Chenanceau…! Very photogenic castles!

  26. Le rat des fils

    January 8, 2012

    Thanks for the bright ideas and free printables.
    Happy new year.

  27. carole

    January 8, 2012

    If you want to discover Toulouse, let me now !!!

  28. carole

    January 8, 2012

    …oups… let me know ! :))

  29. roberta

    January 8, 2012

    As I’m French, here is the list of my favourite French places : the Puy-de-Dôme (it’s a department) to hike among the beautiful green volcanoes of the Chaîne des Puys (great in spring/summer), la Bretagne (Brittany) because there are great beaches (but cold water) and beautiful landscapes (and tasty crêpes). I like the city of Lyon too (i live there : )

  30. rsmicromax

    January 9, 2012

  31. Caroline, No

    January 9, 2012

    I can’t remember if you’ve made it down to the south of France yet — I’d definitely say to try and get there if you can. It’s such a distinct culture unto itself, so different from north and mid-france. Enjoy the loire!

  32. Blandine

    January 9, 2012

    Hi !
    You should go to Saint Malo and eat seafood ! It’s a really wonderfull place. To stay a week en , you could rent a typical house just a little bit outside the city because it’s cheaper.
    Well i think that as an american woman, maybe you should go to deauville (the city of the american movie festival).
    I’ve never been to Corse but lot of my friends and family did and it’s seems to be a great place to be.
    If you like skiing, i really like La plagne and Les carroz d’Arraches.
    And the last but not the least, Toulouse is a beautiful city. There, you shloud eat at “les copains d’abord” (friends first).
    Hace a good day !!

  33. Kristi

    January 10, 2012

    I see someone has already recommended St. Malo. Brittany is indeed lovely. From St. Malo you can take a boat up the river Rance and disembark at Dinan port. You can easily spend days in St. Malo and Dinan. We know Brittany, Paris and the champagne regions well (though not much about the rest of France) and these are our two favorite locations.

  34. Océ

    January 11, 2012

    If you love food and good restaurant, I hardly recommend you to go to Lyon. It is such a beautiful city, and this is so easy to go there from Paris (less than 2 hours, by TGV). There is also a great Contemporary Art Museum (le MacLyon).
    And in South of France, Aix-en-Provence is lovely (especially in summer).

    O. from Lyon

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