At Home in the Loire Valley

Picnic along the Loire River

Pique-nique along the Loire

One of the most difficult parts of traveling in France for an extended period – from 3 weeks to 3 months – is to balance the going and the staying.  If you are constantly on the run, you can see everything but experience nothing.

We have had our “I wish” moments – more time to enjoy and experience Annecy, “parking” for a week at a vacation rental in Provence to be able to explore at leisure.

That is exactly what we did in the Loire Valley, where we settled in as residents just outside of Amboise.  Our rental was immaculate, comfortable and well equipped; and we discovered a bit  of the rhythm of the area.  We went to the wonderful Amboise market that would put to shame many American farmers markets.  There must have been 300+ vendors of sausage, cheese, breads, wines, vegetables, fruits and flowers – wonderful!  Add to that colorful handmade crafts and delightful, cooked-on-the-spot paella and roasted chicken.  The sights, scents and ambiance left an indelible imprint and a promise to return.

Steaming paella

We returned ‘home’ from the market to cook, relax, walk and explore.  At our pleasant outdoor garden table, we enjoyed homemade leek and potato soup to start, roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots, with wine from the region and finished with a pear torte we had purchased from a baker ‘down the road’.   Sounds like a Julia Childs blurb, but it was nice to be domesticated, enjoy such fresh foods and feel a bit settled after all the travel.

One magical evening, when our friends were visiting from Paris, we packed up assorted salads, bread, cheese and wine and headed down to the riverbanks of the Loire River.  Our timing was perfect, with just enough daylight to enjoy our picnic, before the sun began to set over the water.  It may sound like a movie scene, perhaps, but it was moment carved away from the world ‘out there’.

Riverside dining

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