Eating out in the Loire

Eating out is a part of the French way of life. Don’t have a holiday in France without having a meal in a French restaurant. Although there are many unusual French foods (frogs legs, snails, tête de veau etc.) you will find many foods that are a true delight! And the Loire has some fantastic restaurants to choose from.

Which restaurant?

Try to find a restaurant that is targeted at French diners (French menus are a good clue!). Don’t expect to find a fantastic restaurant in the major tourist destinations – here we would recommend something safe and straightforward such as pizza, crêpes etc..

Which time?

It’s often cheaper to eat at lunchtime and during the week. Sunday lunch is always busy and it pays to book ahead. In the evenings, don’t arrive too early – 7.30PM is often the earliest you can get served.

Which menu?

Don’t go for à la carte options. Usually they have the same options as the menu prix fixe and they cost a lot more! Avoid Menu Touristique like the plague!

Which wine?

Wine can be quite expensive if you go for named bottles. But carafes of house white or red wine have usually been exquisitely selected by the restauranteur and are excellent value. Refer to our wine section for more advice on wines in France.

Auberge Bienvenue
164 rue de Cholet
49700 Doué-la-Fontaine
Tel No. (0)2 41 59 22 44

A restaurant well placed for visiting after a sightseeing excursion, a few hundred metres from the zoo of Doué-la-Fontaine which will captivate old and young alike and is well worth a visit. The restaurant is in a modern building but inside the welcome is warm and the food first class, being regional fare using fresh local produce. Children are well catered for, but don’t expect the standard menu of burger/chicken and chips – the children’s menus are miniature versions of those served to the adults. Prices range from €15 – €48 for adult menus (excluding drinks).

Café de la Ville
Tel No. (0)2 47 92 75 31

Opposite the château on the main street. A small unpretentious bistro with very friendly service and a nice choice of meals, although the menu enfant choice is somewhat limited. The setting is lovely in a beautiful village with pleasant walks by the river. Ideal if you’re staying in Montrésor or passing through. Probably not worth making a big detour though.

Hostellerie La Croix Blanche
7 Place des Plantagenets
49590 Fontevraud
Tel No. (0)2 41 51 71 11

This 17th Century hotel is situated right in the heart of the extremely pretty village of Fontevraud and is ideally placed for a visit to the splendid Abbey of Fontevraud whose main entrance is just across the road. There is an elegant dining room or for something more relaxed eat outside on the terrace during the warmer months. The food is French regional cuisine and not to be missed is the dessert featuring 8 or 9 mini versions from the main dessert menu – a truly memorable experience. An ideal place to take the whole family at lunchtime.

Le Logis de Pompois
BP86 Sainte Verge
79102 Thouars
Tel No. (0)5 49 96 27 84

You would never stumble across this incredible restaurant. It is situated well off the beaten track 5 km north-west of Thouars and a good map is essential to find it! However it really is well worth hunting it out. This is French cuisine at its best, with wonderful service, fine china and lots of little extras. This is a place for celebrating that special occasion, by perhaps partaking of the menu gastronomique with course after course of exquisitely prepared food.

La Promenade
138 levée Jeanne de Laval
49250 St Mathurin-sur-Loire
Tel No. (0)2 41 57 01 50

A real gem – don’t be deceived by the restaurants rather modern looking, perhaps characterless exterior. Inside is a very comfortable and elegant restaurant, with fine crisp linen and china and a huge open fire. The cooking of the young, talented chef is excellent. He produces refined dishes using local and seasonal produce. Children are welcomed and eat like kings.

Le Moulin de Quatre Saisons

2 rue Gallieni
La Fleche
Tel: +33 (0)2 43 94 09 57

If you want high class French cuisine (and have relatively deep pockets!) then Le Moulin de Quatre Saisons provides the perfect setting with a great view of the river Loir in the centre of la Fleche. If your children prefer a less gastronomic experience then you will find plenty of other options in the village centre (or even a Buffalo Grill on the N23 towards Le Mans).


Here’s more information to make the most of your visit to the Loire Valley: