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Old 03-23-2007, 07:02 PM   #1
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FRANCE - Le Mans ... avoiding the crowds during the race?

Au Secours!

My husband and I are going to France on business in June (the 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race, for those who don't know us). I have a "significant" birthday coming up in July and we thought we would use our 6 days off between qualifying and the race to do something really fun. Ideally we would park ourselves in one spot at a nice B&B/inn/chateau and take day trips out from there. Favorite things are good food, good wine, vineyards, gardens, horses, untouristy villages with farmer's markets, just walking/driving through pretty countryside, and so forth. We really don't want a huge hotel with swimming pool, golf, and all that stuff. Something smaller and more personal suits us better, although my husband could really use wireless access in case of emergencies at the track while we're on the road.

We were thinking Provence but would like to avoid crowds of tourists. Has anyone stayed at a really fabulous little country inn somewhere that you could recommend? I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and don't know where to start looking. All help gratefully received!

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Old 03-23-2007, 11:38 PM   #2
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ST. Remy. Or go to Paris and have the most beautiful time of your life. If you do that, come back and I'll give you the best (not touristy and not expensive) restaurants you will ever eat at.
Otherwise, post on Fodor's and get some good advice.
Avoid "crowds of tourists" can be a double edged sword. Believe it or not, there are tourists from all over the world. AND we are all "tourists" when we travel away from our home.
And this close may somewhat limit choices. Pierre Salinger had a place in Provence--B&B. I could have recommended an amazing place, complete with cooking lessons near Les Baux but literally just found out they are selling it.
You can access the AOL boards and if you go to the "other parts of France" board (and on Fodor's) there is a very knowledgeable person--A.Dodd--who has posted trip reports and much advice. They spend months each year in FRance.
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Old 03-24-2007, 12:42 AM   #3
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Friends of mine have a delightful B&B in St. Rémy de Provence called Mas de Cornud. They have wireless, among other modern conveniences, and are right next door to the Hospice de St. Joseph, where you can have your morning jog (walk?) and see all the places Van Gogh stood as he painted Irises, Sunflowers, Starry Nights! The Roman ruins of Glanum are a stone's throw away, as well. Lots of beautiful places to see and to dine nearby, as well as Nito's delicious food at the Mas...

To me it's like a little piece of heaven on earth -- the whole Les Baux region is that, as well!
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Old 03-24-2007, 05:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefJune
Friends of mine have a delightful B&B in St. Rémy de Provence called Mas de Cornud. They have wireless, among other modern conveniences, and are right next door to the Hospice de St. Joseph, where you can have your morning jog (walk?) and see all the places Van Gogh stood as he painted Irises, Sunflowers, Starry Nights! The Roman ruins of Glanum are a stone's throw away, as well. Lots of beautiful places to see and to dine nearby, as well as Nito's delicious food at the Mas...

To me it's like a little piece of heaven on earth -- the whole Les Baux region is that, as well!
Looks lovely! Thank you! They're on my list. I'm hoping places aren't all booked up already....
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Old 03-24-2007, 05:07 AM   #5
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Cool - thanks for all the leads.

Regarding tourists, I don't have a problem with the individual tourist but I'm not all that fond of large crowds, be they tourists or locals for that matter! I'll be seeing plenty of crowds at the race track and would rather not encounter "beaucoup du monde" on our vacation. ;)
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Old 03-24-2007, 07:50 AM   #6
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I know this isn't quite an answer to your question and it sounds like you may have been to Le Mans before.. but either way I have to say that if you'll be in Le Mans, l'Auberge de 7 Plats is a must-eat place.

It seems to be in any guidebook mention of the city, but it keeps up high standards. In 7 months here I haven't found better food or a better deal and the place is always packed with locals (as tourists don't see much of Le Mans outside of June and a few other race weekends).

02 43 24 57 77 is the number for the place. Hope you have a nice trip.
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Old 03-24-2007, 08:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefJune
Friends of mine have a delightful B&B in St. Rémy de Provence called Mas de Cornud. They have wireless, among other modern conveniences, and are right next door to the Hospice de St. Joseph, where you can have your morning jog (walk?) and see all the places Van Gogh stood as he painted Irises, Sunflowers, Starry Nights! The Roman ruins of Glanum are a stone's throw away, as well. Lots of beautiful places to see and to dine nearby, as well as Nito's delicious food at the Mas...

To me it's like a little piece of heaven on earth -- the whole Les Baux region is that, as well!
How do you find the rates short of writing them.
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Old 03-24-2007, 02:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rlw03
I know this isn't quite an answer to your question and it sounds like you may have been to Le Mans before.. but either way I have to say that if you'll be in Le Mans, l'Auberge de 7 Plats is a must-eat place.

It seems to be in any guidebook mention of the city, but it keeps up high standards. In 7 months here I haven't found better food or a better deal and the place is always packed with locals (as tourists don't see much of Le Mans outside of June and a few other race weekends).

02 43 24 57 77 is the number for the place. Hope you have a nice trip.
You are right - that is an absolutely wonderful restaurant. We ate there three years ago and have been trying to get back to it ever since! The trouble is that it's closed on Sundays and Mondays, which tend to be the days of the week we have a chance to escape to the old town. The past two years we've found ourselves wandering the cobblestone streets looking for a place to eat after finding l'Auberge de 7 Plats dark and shut up tight. :( Now that it's finally fixed in my brain not to go there on Sunday or Monday we will try to find another day of the week this year. Fingers crossed!
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Old 03-24-2007, 06:40 PM   #9
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Franca - I am so jealous - and are you really going to the Le Mans race?! My husband has been dreaming of going to that for years.

My only suggestion is to start training for the trip (i.e. start drinking more wine). When I went to Paris, I drank two bottles of wine per day and sometimes champagne on top of that. No matter where you go or end up staying, the food and wine will be outstanding. Take an empty back pack so you can fill it up with goodies for the return trip. I brought back as many croissants and dijon as I could carry.

how I envy you - you will have to give us a trip report when you return.
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Old 03-24-2007, 08:00 PM   #10
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How do you find the rates short of writing them.
When you're on their web site, click on Country Inn. Then click on the individual rooms to see rates for each.
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