unexpectedly, my husband and I have the opportunity to head to France in early July, as our son is involved with building the Euro Solar Decathalon on the grounds of Versailles in early July. After seeing that and a few days in Paris we are looking to take in an interesting, rural, side trip for a week or so. Before we have built a few trips around a "friend of a friends" terrific rental in Bonnieux, Tureen, or Loire Valley. Now we are looking for another area to explore, probably not south. We love to eat good local food (not Michelien star seekers), hike (bike) and experience small towns - my husband particuarly interested in history and thought of seeking out the roots in Besancon, Reims or even heading to Clermont-Ferand area. I want a place that will feel comfortable, and not crazy crowded with tourists.
I will try and find old threads on the fermes/auberges, but if anyone has a suggestion that would help focus our plans that would be great. I know you aren't travel agents but your lively discussions on all things relating to the joys of French food and life made me think you might have some ideas to throw out. Had a great week in Paris last November with highlights helped by your restaurant and food suggestions. Thanks in advance!